What started out as a bang will end with a whimper for Rex Ryan, but he won’t be leaving behind an entirely barren cupboard for the New York Jets. It is a cupboard the Jets need to use to lure Jon Gruden to New York…
Jon Gruden, with his 100 wins and Super Bowl championship, hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2008. There have been rumors of him returning to Oakland. Woody Johnson and John Idzik need to make sure that doesn’t happen. Gruden took over a Tampa Bay team that was full of defensive stars that Tony Dungy had developed, but hadn’t won it all with. Dungy struggled to develop Shaun King and a veteran, Brad Johnson, was brought in to steady the ship. The Bucs ended up wasting a promising season and lost in the playoffs. Dungy was fired a few days later.The Glazers should be commended for not letting their affection for Dungy and fear that he’d be successful elsewhere cloud their judgment regarding what was best for the team. The Bucs’ search for a Head Coach took more than two months and was surrounded by negative press. The team interviewed several other coaches after being told initially that Al Davis wouldn’t release Gruden him from his contract. They even thought they had a deal in place with Bill Parcells. However, Parcells backed out because Mike Tannenbaum (who would’ve been the Bucs GM had Parcells been hired), told him not to accept the job because of the salary cap difficulties.
Everyone began to question whether the Bucs made the right move by firing Dungy, and some felt that only a big name hire could quiet the storm. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Jon Gruden would bring immediate credibility to the Jets and has experience with the kind of rebuild they are in. They have acquired talent via trade (Percy Harvin and Chris Ivory), free agency (Eric Decker) and the draft (Sheldon Richardson, Jace Amaro, Dee Milliner). It is similar to what the Bucs did while Gruden was there, choosing to retool by all means during the offseason. Gruden has experience with QBs, so Geno Smith and a veteran QB addition would be in good hands. His knowledge doesn’t extend to the defense, which is similar to his situation in Tampa. He would be able to hire an experienced coordinator that could maximize the defense’s potential while also making them more effective due to the progression of his offense.
The Jets have tons of cap space this offseason, a likely top 10 pick, young players like Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle coming back from injury, good WRs and RBs and a strong defensive line in place. There are holes but assets to address them. And by the way, Idzik was the Assistant GM when Gruden was the Head Coach, so there’s familiarity there. Idzik would be hiring his own coach. Make the call, Woody.