The New York Jets have reportedly hired Chan Gailey as their new Offensive Coordinator. Todd Bowles moved quickly to make Gailey his choice. As a rookie head coach, it is important to surround yourself with both talent and experience. Let’s take a look by the numbers at why Gailey could be poised to do good things with the New York Jets offense.
1989: Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator
On a team with John Elway, the assumption has always been that the numbers would be elite. However, after finishing 15th in the league in points scored in 1988, Dan Reeves promoted Gailey to run the offense and jumped to 8th overall. Elway’s pass attempts dropped from 589 to 474, as he installed a more balanced offense. He ran the ball 90 more times than his predecessor. The team scored 24 or more points in 10 out of 16 games during Gailey’s first year, whereas they only went above 24 points 5 times the previous year. A concern, on an individual level, is that Elway’s completion percentage took a small hit despite the decrease in attempts (55% to 53%). Another concern, this more on a team level, is that the Broncos went from a top 10 unit in total yards to a top 15 unit in total yards. The most important improvement came in wins, as the Broncos improved from 8-8 to an 11-5.
In 1996, Gailey was promoted by Bill Cowher from WRs coach to Offensive Coordinator. The Steelers had reached the Super Bowl the year before and they returned to the postseason during Gailey’s first year of calling plays. The Steelers dropped statistically in almost all major categories during Gailey’s first year: finishing 11th in points for (down from 5th), 15th in total yards (down from 6th), 30th in passing attempts (down from 9th), and 27th in passing yards (down from 8th). However, Gailey improved the Steelers running game to 2nd overall in attempts (up from 5th) and 2nd in rushing yards (up from 12th). The Steelers once again made the playoffs.
2000: Miami Dolphins Offensive Coordinator
Gailey joined the Dolphins as their Offensive Coordinator after being fired as Head Coach by the Dallas Cowboys (despite taking them to the playoffs in back to back years). Gailey took over an offense that finished in the bottom half of the league in almost all offensive statistical categories the year prior. While the offense didn’t improve dramatically under Gailey, one thing they did do better was run the ball. Gailey used the threat of a strong running game to help a top 5 defense, and Lamar Smith was the beneficiary as Gailey called his number almost 320 times. Gailey had 10 players with at least 10 receptions.
2008: Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator
This was arguably Gailey’s worst job from a team standpoint, as the Chiefs finished in the bottom third of the league in almost all statistical categories. There was not one thing the Chiefs offense did well this year, other than not throw interceptions. However, this might’ve been Gailey’s best job from an individual standpoint as he was able to get 21 total TDs and 3,000 total yards out of Tyler Thigpen. He showed an affinity for using power back Larry Johnson along with speed back Jamaal Charles. He was able to get a monster season out of Dwayne Bowe.
What Does This Mean For The Jets?
Two players that could benefit hugely from Gailey are Chris Ivory and Jace Amaro. Alot of the focus has been on Percy Harvin and Gailey’s ability to get his players in space, but Tony Gonzalez was targeted 155 times in Gailey’s lone year in Kansas City. Jace Amaro won’t approach that number, but it is not out of the realm of possibility to see Amaro double his 39 targets from this past year. With Ivory’s improved hands, you could see him used in more of a pass catching role because Gailey does like to use his running backs in passing situations. Ivory should also see an increase in his carries (health permitting). Here a few quotes from around the league on Gailey:
“The one thing about Chan is that you can’t peg him. He’s been in a lot of different systems with a lot of different schemes, and he’s been successful in all of them.” – Dan Reeves
“Good luck predicting what he’s going to do with the Jets. You might think he’s going to be run-first because of the Steelers or pass-happy because of the Bills, but I bet you he’s looked at a hundred tapes while he’s been out these past two years, knows the trends and will put his own spin on them.” – Gil Brandt“He was attacking. He found a weakness in defenses and tried to exploit it. Whatever match-up he found, he went back to it. He wasn’t afraid to go back to it throughout the game. I think that’s one of the reasons we had some success.” – Fred Jackson
“The best year Kordell Stewart had was in 1997. Chan did a fantastic job that year of taking his skill set and developing a very good offense around him. We went to the (AFC) championship game.” – Bill Cowher