A collection of thoughts on the New York Jets decision to officially make former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano their new offensive coordinator –
1. You could have replaced Brian Schottenheimer with Paul Hackett and Jets fans would have been happy. Yet, I have to say that my initial reaction is positive to the decision to hire Sparano. Why? The Jets went outside the organization. They didn’t make the easy choice and hand the job to Bill Callahan. Rex is taking on a different kind of personality than himself but one that has the potential to mesh very well with him. What is important about Sparano is that he a disciplinarian and believes in running the football, which fits the identity this team has been successful with. The discipline is badly needed on offense as well.
2. This hiring will feel better if the Jets officially lock down Todd Haley to handle the quarterbacks/passing game. Haley and Sparano have worked together before and both come from the Parcells coaching tree. Haley will be the necessary in the face presence to Mark Sanchez that Brian Schottenheimer wasn’t. You won’t catch Haley and Sanchez playing grade school pranks on each other like we saw Schotty and Sanchez do on Hard Knocks.
3. It shouldn’t be all rainbows and sunshine when discussing these moves. There are reasons Sparano and Haley were fired and both have question marks surrounding how well they could work together in this capacity. It could be a dangerous situation to have one coach focused on the run and another focused on the pass. There needs to be one unified voice and plan. If Haley doesn’t come on board, the Jets need to find somebody else to work on developing Mark Sanchez.
4. Sparano hasn’t called plays since 2006 with the Dallas Cowboys, a season in which he was very successful at it. Obviously, many fans are clamoring about the use of the Wildcat. I am sure we will see some of it next season, particularly as Jeremy Kerley becomes a bigger part of the offense. However, the real question is what the backfield will look like next season. Is the 1-2 punch of Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight going to be enough, or will they look to add somebody in free agency? Beyond that, blocking tight end and right tackle also remain a big priority.
5. Sanchez is getting a new system. There is no more Schottenheimer scapegoat. I will get more into the criticism of him tomorrow. Yet, it is hard to deny that this will be a make or break season for him.