Way Too Early – Who Should Be The Jets Next Head Coach?

Stephen Zantz looks at the New York Jets top HC candidates for 2021

The results on Sunday don’t matter for the New York Jets anymore. Since there is nothing to takeaway from this QB play or team in general, I came up with the way too early list for who should be the next head coach. Adam Gase is a dead man walking

Arthur Smith (Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator) – This one is the obvious one as Smith is quickly becoming the hottest coordinator in the NFL with the way the Titans are rolling on offense. Ryan Tannehill is a legit MVP candidate and Derrick Henry continues to make men look like boys on Sundays. The big misconception about finding a head coach is the best play caller being the best candidate. Smith’s play calling is terrific but what impresses me so much about him is his background. His father is the founder of FedEx. He literally grew up in a family worth billions and could have taken the easy way out in life. Instead, the man has been grinding and working his way up in the NFL ranks over the last decade. That type of drive will earn a lot of respect in a locker room. He is also seems to have great relationships with his players.

Eric Bienemy (Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator) – Another obvious one for the casual football fan. Bienemy was one of the candidates for the Jet job in 2019 before Gase was ultimately hired (ugh). There’s no doubt in my mind Bienemy finally gets his shot this offseason as his work with Patrick Mahomes has been nothing short of incredible. People will point to the fact Andy Reid calls the plays in Kansas City as a knock on Bienemy, but his reported leadership in that locker room is what makes him a great option. It’s no secret there is zero leadership on this pathetic coaching staff. Bienemy is beloved in Kansas City and also worked his way up like Smith. I also like the fact Bienemy is a former player. That is something that players gravitate towards as the coach has been through it and isn’t all talk. The Andy Reid coaching tree has also produced some solid HCs including Doug Pederson, Matt Nagy, John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, and Ron Rivera. You can’t wrong with Bienemy in January.

Don “Wink” Martindale (Defensive Coordinator Baltimore Ravens) – Most Jet fans will probably be turned off by another defensive minded coach given the history of the team and how bad this offense currently is. Wink is someone you must keep an eye given Joe Douglas’ ties to the Ravens organization. The Ravens defense plays with a toughness that we haven’t had since the Rex days. Martindale is said to have a great personality which is good for the New York market after dealing with monotone Todd Bowles and creepy Adam Gase. The biggest thing about a defensive coach is who he puts on his offensive staff. This team has not had a good offensive staff in YEARS! Wink can be successful if brings in the right guy to run the offense. My preference would be the next head coach to not call the plays regardless of their specialty. Martindale could be the CEO type we are looking for.

Matt Campbell (Head Coach Iowa State) – There was a report by Albert Breer that Campbell is someone the Jets have interest in for their HC position. In 2019, he turned down a chance to interview with the team. Any time you take a chance on a college coach it’s a huge risk. Campbell has zero NFL ties in his coaching career. You can’t ignore what he has done at Iowa State. A perennial bottom dweller in the Big 12 prior to his arrival to now being a tough team every week for their conference rivals. He seems like the next Matt Rhule as the program builder type coach. He also helped make Toledo a solid team in the MAC prior to ISU.  Iowa State is not getting 5-star recruits and will always have inferior talent to OU and Texas. Campbell figures out a way to make it work. If you need some evidence this guy is worth a look, check out this locker room speech to his team.

Less Likely Candidates:

Todd Monken (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach Georgia) – A favorite of the Play Like a Jet podcast. The Jets passed over him last cycle and he was apparently well liked in Florham Park. I feel like he may wait for the right fit before coming back to the NFL.

Anthony Lynn (Head Coach LA Chargers) – This one may seem farfetched but there were rumors last year Lynn could have been fired. The Chargers aren’t winning, and he could be let loose. Justin Herbert looks awesome and it was hard to not be a fan of Lynn on Hard Knocks. Lynn also has ties to the organization.

Robert Saleh (Defensive Coordinator San Francisco 49ers) – Maybe I’m wrong here but I just don’t see this one happening. If the Jets go the defensive route, I’d think it have to be Martindale and not Saleh.

Brian Daboll (Offensive Coordinator Buffalo Bills) – Daboll has been outstanding this year in helping Josh Allen develop. He’s seen up close what a mess the Jets are, and I think he may not attracted to coach here.

Kevin O’Connell (Offensive Coordinator LA Rams) – The biggest long shot of them all but I love this one. He is seen as a riser in the coaching ranks and has learned from some great offensive minds. He did play for the Jets from 2009-2010. Maybe he likes living in North Jersey. Sometimes you have to dream big.