New York Jets – Ranking The Head Coach Candidates

Stephen Russo ranks the New York Jets head coaching candidates…

Adam Gase’s 23-month tenure as HC of the NYJ has been one for the record books. He has set records for bad offense, ruining careers, ineptitude, affinity for 37-year-old running backs, and number of people involved in a single play call. However, one thing that Gase should include on his resume is that he was the first person since Bill Parcells to unite the Jets fanbase. It seems as though he is the one person who is unanimously hated across all of Jets land, and pretty much has been since day one. You don’t have to go back too far to realize that Gase was very low, if not the lowest, on everyone’s totem pole of candidates back in January, 2019. He may have gotten a slight nod over Rich Kotite or Lou Holtz, but in his almost 2 years he has proven every single one of us right.

So as Gase’s fate at One Jets Drive draws nearer, we set our sights on the future. Now, some of us (myself included) still have that shred of doubt that the Johnsons will somehow convince themselves to keep him, asking questions like is his admission of failure with Sam Darnold a ploy to win over Woody and realize the err of his ways and willingness to change? But I digress…

Gase’s fate is 99.9% sealed and we inch closer and closer to the next head coach. One thing is certain, Gase has provided the next coach with an insanely low bar to clear, and no matter who the choice is, we can be certain he will be a step up from Adam Gase. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have feelings either way and won’t root for the guys that we think have the best chance of propelling this franchise out of their perpetual state of incompetence.

So, here are my grouped rankings of Head Coach candidates, as told by a series of comedic gifs portraying me if the hire was made…

The Top Tier:

Matt Campbell, HC, Iowa State – CEO style program builder who has turned around 2 college football programs and done so without top recruits. Has worked on both sides of the ball and specifically with the offensive line. Sign me up. Campbell is my clear cut, number one choice and would easily make up for the Matt Rhule gaffe of 2019.
Pat Fitzgerald, HC, Northwestern – Northwestern will be playing Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game… need I say more? I love the fact that the Jets are rumored to be looking into him.
Eric Bieniemy, OC, KC Chiefs – has been a hot coordinator candidate for a few years now and although it is unlikely the Jets will be his landing spot, it’s hard not to think of this hire as a major win for the Jets. Bieniemy has run the Kansas City offense for 3 years and has learned under Andy Reid for 8 years. This would be a home run for the Jets.


The Solid Hires:

Don “Wink” Martindale, DC, Baltimore Ravens – Martindale has ties to Joe Douglas and has seen a successful organization first hand for 9 years under John Harbaugh. Jets fans will find it hard to not be scarred by defensive coordinators, especially from Baltimore, but Martindale would be a solid hire for Gang Green.
Joe Brady, OC, Carolina Panthers – A fast riser and hot name for his offensive mind, but Joe Brady could be the real deal. This would be a big risk for the Jets, and would subscribe to the “I’d rather be a year early than a year late” mentality. But this would be a big swing that many Jets fans wouldn’t mind seeing Douglas take. It would be interesting to see what kind of staff a 31-year old candidate could assemble.
Robert Saleh, DC, SF 49ers – I love his tenacity and enthusiasm and what he has done with the 49ers defense. I would be excited to have Saleh as the Jets next head coach.
Brian Daboll, OC, Buffalo Bills – It is difficult to look at Josh Allen and what Daboll has done for him and think this would be anything but a strong hire as the Jets look to rebuild with a rookie quarterback.
Bill Cowher, NFL Analyst, Former SB Winning Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers – Cowher is a new addition to the list as of the last few days, but his reputation speaks for itself. The one question mark would be his 14 years away from the sidelines…
Arthur Smith, OC, Tennessee Titans – Hot coordinator name out of Tennessee and the anti-Gase as he has taken Ryan Tannehill’s career to a whole new level. I think the Jets could do a lot worse than Smith.

The “Meh” Group:

Jim Harbaugh, HC, Michigan – Two years ago I would have been ecstatic about this hire. Now? Not so much. His failure at Michigan can’t be discounted, but neither can his success as an NFL Head Coach.
Marvin Lewis, DC, Arizona St – A respectable head coach who had success for a long time in the NFL and turned around a Cincinnati team that was a laughingstock for years. However, this hire wouldn’t excite me as I prefer a bigger swing than this.
Matt Eberflus, DC, Indianapolis Colts – Long time positional coach and coordinator on the defensive side of the ball with experience in college and NFL. Eberflus would be an OK hire but for me, would leave much to be desired.
Greg Roman, OC, Baltimore Ravens – Roman has built successful offenses for the Harbaugh brothers in San Francisco and Baltimore and while that can’t be overlooked, this hire just wouldn’t do it for me.

The “Hard Pass” Category:

Bill O’Brien, Unemployed – would it be a step up from Gase?  Probably.  Should he even set foot in the door? Absolutely not. 
Brian Schottenheimer, OC, Seattle Seahawks – Been there. Done that.
Doug Pederson, HC, Philadelphia Eagles – Adam Gase all over again. No, thank you.

There are many candidates that could be, and should be in consideration for Joe Douglas as he should cast a very wide net in this coaching search. He has brought credibility and legitimacy to this organization, which is something that seems like a foreign concept. The draw to this job that Douglas brings is only enhanced by the #1 overall pick and additional first rounder, subsequent 6 picks in rounds 2-5 (and maybe more if they trade Darnold), and boat loads of cap space. Make no mistake, the Jets are a solid landing spot and should land a quality candidate.

It all starts with letting go of Adam Gase, though. The clock is ticking…