The 2018 season will be a very critical year as both Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan enter their fourth season at the helm. Since they were hired in 2015 there have been changes within the coaching staff at many positions on offense, defense and special teams. With a couple new hires for the upcoming season, it will be fascinating to see who makes up the New York Jets coaching staff.
Over my next few articles I will dive into all three facets of the game, starting on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive staff only has one new hire but one key departure at the most vitol position. With this being said, who is apart of the staff that plans to improve this offense from the 28th ranked unit?
Jeremy Bates, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach (11th Season, 2nd with Jets)
Where did he come from? Bates has been around the league for a while but took a little hiatus after a short stint in Chicago back in 2012. He is from the Shanahan coaching tree, going from offensive assistant to quarterback/receiver coach to offensive coordinator in a span of three seasons while in Denver from 2006-2008. He’s been a play caller in the league on two occasions, one of those getting Jay Cutler a Pro Bowl appearance. His time in Seattle didn’t end spectacularly but has remained highly regarded as a bright, young offensive mind around league circles.
What to expect? The Jets’ offense last year produced more than many thought and even though John Morton was the play caller, it was believed Bates had a big influence in getting Josh McCown to have a career year. With Bates learning under Mike Shanahan and Rick Dennison coming in, you can expect to see a mixture of what they did last year with what Bates has shown as a play caller in the past. It’ll likely be a West Coast system with an outside zone running scheme like Denver had in 2008. It should also be expected to see this offense run the ball a lot more often than they did last season.
Quote: On Sam Darnold at minicamp, “If you treat them like a rookie, they’ll become a rookie, so we threw the whole book at him to see what he can handle and what he needs to work on — just like the other two — and he’s done a really good job… Ever since rookie camp, he hasn’t flinched.”
Stump Mitchell, Running Backs Coach (17th Season, 2nd with Jets)
Where did he come from? A long time assistant in the NFL after a lengthy playing career. He has been a running backs coach every year as an assistant including the coach for former MVP Shaun Alexander in Seattle and Washington. This in addition being in Arizona from 2013-2016 helping David Johnson become one of the best playmakers in the game.
What to expect? Before the season starts, you will hear a lot of chatter between Stump and Jamal Adams. Adams loves to talk and Stump is one he’ll always goes to if he makes a play on a running back. Mitchell is a players coach that gets involved and knows how to get the best out of them. With the expected trio at the position being Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell and Eli McGuire, it would be great to see Eli develop more as a runner and all three to be able to transition into the new running scheme.
Quote: On the potential of Elijah McGuire, “He has the skill set to be a LaDainian Tomlinson, if he was given that opportunity.”
Karl Dorrell, Wide Receivers Coach (12th Season, 4th with Jets)
Where did he come from? Dorell has been around the block, coaching at both the NFL and college level. He was hired after Bowles landed the job here in New York and it seems that Dorrell has shown his worth with the receivers he has had. Both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker had career years in 2015, Quincy Enunwa came onto the scene in 2016 and former undrafted free agent and second year pro Robby Anderson became a household name with a great season in 2017.
What to expect? I believe without question, the most important things we need to see is the continued development of Robby Anderson and the two rookies from last year, Ardarius Stewart and Chad Hansen. Anderson has become arguably one of the best deep threats in the game and now looks to become an all around pass catcher next season. As for Stewart and Hansen, there weren’t as many chances for them last year as they had hoped but throughout minicamp, there was talk about how impressive Hansen has looked. It will be important for Dorrell to keep working with these guys to make sure it isn’t just all talk.
Quote: On the next step for Robby Anderson, “Be a more complete player… There’s other responsibilities other than catching deep balls and scoring touchdowns. There’s going to be roles that we have on our team of doing sometimes secondary jobs to help someone else out. And I think that’s something he’ll continue to learn and grow with.”
Jimmie Johnson, Tight Ends Coach (12th Season, 4th with Jets)
Where did he come from? Not to be confused with the NASCAR star or former legendary Head Coach from the 1990’s, our Jimmie Johnson now enters his fourth season with Gang Green at the same position he’s held since 2015. Johnson was a former tight end in the NFL for ten years. After a couple years off he got into coaching eventually catching a job with the Vikings as their tight ends coach in 2006 up until 2013.
What to expect? With his experience playing and coaching the position, it should be expected that Johnson can put it to use to get either Chris Herndon or Jordan Leggett to become the tight end this offense so desperately needs. Even Neal Sterling has quietly made some noise around camp with how he has looked and the work he has put in. Developing one of these young guys is what everyone expects out of Johnson this upcoming season.
Quote: On what he has liked about Chris Herndon after coming off an injury, “Very focused, works very hard, very athletic, one of the better tight ends coming out in the draft in terms of in-line blocking… He has a lot of work to do but you like the potential, you like the upside.”
Rick Dennison, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator (23rd Season, 1st with Jets)
Where did he come from? Dennison has the most experience working in the NFL with over two decades worth after a nine year playing career. After working with the Buffalo Bills last year, he brings great knowledge to the offensive coaching staff after being an offensive coordinator for ten seasons on four different teams, mostly in Denver with Mike Shanahan. Here he won’t be calling the plays but will help implementing the outside zone running scheme he coached for all these years.
What to expect? With Dennison coming as both the offensive line coach and run game coordinator, it will be his job to make sure these lineman and running backs understand the concepts of this new running scheme. Not to say there weren’t zone runs last year with Morton but the playbook will have more of this than any other style. This system has had huge success in the past, just ask Terrell Davis, Clinton Portis and Arian Foster. With an offense that looks to run more often, it will be interesting to see how much of an improvement we see in this department.
Quote: On how his previous relationship with Jeremy Bates will help, “Every time you’re close to somebody you kinda just know where they’re coming from. So I feel comfortable with what Jeremy says in the meetings and what he talks about, what he wants to get done.”