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Jets Rumors: Eagles' Brian Johnson, Colts' Marcus Brady Among OC Candidates

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2023

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) confers with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Marcus Brady in the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The New York Jets parted ways with former offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur on Thursday, and the search for a replacement appears to be underway in earnest.

The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport appeared on the Pat McAfee Show on Friday and said New England Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley, Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson and former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Marcus Brady are amongst the early candidates.

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As for making a change at offensive coordinator in the first place, ESPN's Rich Cimini reported that the "speculation about LaFleur's job status had prompted teams to inquire about his availability and the Jets allowed him to pursue those opportunities."

While quarterbacking issues played a major part in LaFleur's unsuccessful, two-year tenure—the Jets have bounced around between the disappointing Zach Wilson, Mike White and Joe Flacco the past two years—the offense still ranked 31st in points per game (17.8) and 27th in yards per game (312.3) over the past two seasons combined, per ESPN.

The biggest concern is that Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, hadn't shown any signs of improvement under LaFleur and was benched at various points this past season.

"Through two years, yeah, we haven't done our job with him," LaFleur told reporters regarding Wilson. "...The players have to meet you in the middle with it, but you want all these guys to play at their absolute best and we all know that Zach hasn't played at his absolute best."

Injuries to key players like running back Breece Hall didn't help. But in general, predictability on the offensive side of the ball became an issue.

"I seemed like [opponents] had an idea of what we were trying to do, and they did a good job of stopping us once they got the film together," rookie wideout Garrett Wilson told reporters. "At the end of the year, it got real hard for us as an offense."

Add it all up, and a coordinator with experience working with quarterbacks could help Wilson get back on track. Johnson, 35, has spent two years coaching the quarterbacks with the Eagles, helping oversee the progression of Jalen Hurts into an MVP candidate.

Brady, 43, brings two years of experience as an offensive coordinator and two more seasons of experience as a quarterbacks coach—all with the Colts—to the table.

Caley, 39, has spent the past six seasons as a tight ends coach for the Patriots, though the team thought highly enough of him to reportedly block the Las Vegas Raiders from speaking with him last offseason. The Bill Belichick coaching tree is highly regarded around the NFL in general, even if some of the offshoots have struggled in more prominent positions outside of New England.