The New York Jets have been a playoff team since hiring Rex Ryan to be their head coach prior to the 2009 season. Their success, though inconsistent during the regular season with consecutive 9-7 seasons, has hinged on the play of the Jets’ defense and their ability to shut opposing offenses down and keep them off the scoreboard.
Unfortunately, the Jets’ offensive unit has been too lackluster to capitalize on the opportunities given by Ryan’s defense, caused, at least in part, by poor play-calling from the Jets’ offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
This season the Jets are ranked 27th in the NFL in total yards on offense and while a lack of progression from third-year quarterback Mark Sanchez has been cited as part of the issue, it appears Brian Schottenheimer may be in the hot seat because of the offense’s dismal performance.
If the Jets fail to make the playoffs—they’re seated at 8-7 and need a lot of help to earn a wild-card spot—then that possibility will become even more likely.
With so many questions surrounding Schottenheimer’s future with the Jets—including rumors about Schottenheimer and the Dolphins head coaching job—here’s a look at five coaches who should be considered to replace Schottenheimer in the 2012 season.
Currently the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, Mike Martz is widely regarded as an offensive guru.
With rumors swirling about this likely being Martz’s final season with the Bears, despite an improved offensive performance prior to the injuries to quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte, Martz should be a hot commodity in the coaching market.
It’s possible Martz’s scheme doesn’t fit in with what the Jets have on the roster, but there is no denying the capabilities he brings to an offense in desperate need of something fresh.
Greg Olson is the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for how long nobody knows. With Raheem Morris’ job as head coach in question, it’s possible Olson could be on the way out in Tampa, especially with a sputtering offense—ranked 21st in the NFL—being one of the major problems for the Buccaneers this season.
Olson has been a successful offensive coordinator in the past for the St. Louis Rams, guiding the NFL’s third-best passing attack in 2006. With Olson’s offensive direction, the 2006 Rams were just the fourth team in NFL history to have a quarterback with over 4,000 yards passing, a 1,500-yard rusher, and two receivers with over 1,000 yards receiving.
Last season, Olson directed a young Buccaneers offense that ranked as one of the best units in the NFL.
Then-second-year quarterback Josh Freeman blossomed in Olson’s offense, ranking as the sixth-best passer in the NFL while throwing for 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just six interceptions.
Under Olson’s direction in 2010, the Buccaneers set franchise records in average gain-per-play (5.61 yards), average rush (4.6 yards), average pass play (7.2 yards), team passer rating (96.2) and fewest interceptions thrown (6).
While the Bucs have struggled this season, Olson’s resume boasts consistent success between 2006 and 2010. Olson’s work with Freeman last season and accolades in his coaching career should be something that intrigues a New York Jets team that needs a serious boost.
In 2011, Josh McDaniels was brought into the St. Louis Rams organization with the hopes that he could improve a Rams offense that finished 26th in total yards last season. Unfortunately, that’s not quite as simple as it may sound, even for McDaniels—the former mastermind behind the successful New England Patriots offense from 2005 to 2008.
Current Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo’s future hangs in the balance after an abysmal season for the Rams and it is unknown what McDaniel’s future would be within the Rams organization if Spagnuolo is fired. If Spaguolo is fired and the Rams allow McDaniels to walk, McDaniels is someone the New York Jets must look into.
During McDaniels’ tenure as the offensive coordinator for the Patriots, the Patriots ranked within the top 11 in total offensive yards each season. In 2007, the Patriots were ranked No. 1 in the NFL en route to the first undefeated regular season in the NFL since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
In McDaniels’ two seasons as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, the Broncos finished 13th and 15th, respectively, in total offense.
McDaniels’ high-powered offense could be wildly successful for the Jets and his work with Tom Brady could be a beneficial experience for third-year quarterback Mark Sanchez and his progression in the future.
Norv Turner will be fired at the end of the season as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers may have had no use for their head coach since 2007, but his offensive prowess should be something the New York Jets covet come this offseason.
Under Turner’s direction, Philip Rivers has blossomed into one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks and is amongst the top passers each season, including three straight years with over 4,000 yards between 2008 and 2010.
Turner’s successful offensive scheme based on the “Air Coryell” offense could be just what the Jets need to improve, while also allowing Mark Sanchez to open up and throw the ball down the field more. His success utilizing tight end Antonio Gates in San Diego would translate well to an offense that boasts the best young tight end in Dustin Keller.
When Turner hits the market, his lack of success in the postseason as well as his age may not entice many organizations to hire him as a head coach. His work with Troy Aikman and Philip Rivers, however, and direction of a stellar Chargers offense is an intriguing quality for teams looking for an offensive coordinator this offseason.
Perhaps the best option for the New York Jets at offensive coordinator exists within the organization already. A well-versed offensive mind, current assistant head coach and offensive line coach Bill Callahan has an impressive resume on the offensive side of the ball.
During Callahan’s tenure as both offensive coordinator and head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 1998 to 2003, the Raiders fielded one of the best offensive teams in the NFL. In Callahan’s first of two seasons as head coach, the Raiders went to the Super Bowl, leading the NFL in passing yards and set new team records for total offensive yards, first downs, passes attempted, passes completed, passing yards, and highest completion percentage.
In 2000, the Raiders led the NFL in rushing with 154.4 rushing yards per game.
Callahan’s work with the Raiders offense extended past yardage too, setting a franchise record for fewest sacks allowed with 28 in 2000, only to break it the next season with 27.
Since joining the Jets as their offensive line coach in 2008, center Nick Mangold, guard Alan Faneca and tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson have each been voted into the Pro Bowl each season.
With a need for Jets at offensive coordinator, their search for a new offensive coordinator shouldn’t go very far—their best replacement is already on the coaching staff.