The New York Jets are beginning to fill out their staff underneath Robert Saleh. With Saleh coming from San Francisco, it was presumed he would be taking the Shanahan offense with him and his hires prove that. From an offensive guru, two veteran coaches and two emerging ones, the Jets are well equipped for the first time in a long time to have a competent offensive staff.
Mike LaFleur- Offensive Coordinator
Mike LaFleur and Mike McDaniel have been highly regarded in league circles since taking over as the passing game coordinator and run game coordinates for the 49ers respectively. Both guys were to be highly sought after for offensive coordinator gigs this offseason, and LaFleur has earned his shot to call plays for the Jets. Mike is 34 years old and the brother of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. Matt was Saleh’s best man in his wedding, so there is a close bond between the two families.
As for this LaFleur, he will be implementing the Shannahan/ West Coast offense that is has proven to be so successful around the league. LaFleur has yet to call plays, but with the knowledge he’s accumulated, he will likely be able to mentor whoever the quarterback is and give them the best chance to succeed.
Greg Knapp- QB Coach
Knapp is a well respected veteran offensive mind. At 57 years old, he’s spent over 25 years coaching. He’s had multiple stints as an offensive coordinator with the Raiders, a stint with the Falcons, Seahawks and 49ers and he’s been a quarterback coach for multiple teams as well. Knapp has been heavily credited for his assistance in the development of both Matt Schuab and Michael Vick. Knapp is an experienced coach who will bring stability underneath a young offensive mind getting his first crack as an OC in LaFleur.
John Benton- Run Game Coordinator/ OL Coach
Benton is another well respected offensive mind. Benton is regarded by many as an offensive line guru. He’s even an offensive line coach at multiple spots including the Texans, Dolphins, Rams and 49ers. In the past two seasons, Benton has coached one of the most well-rounded units in football. The 49ers offensive line ranked as the 14th best group in the league in 2019, and improved that rank to ninth this past season.
Benton is very knowledgeable and will be able to coach a position that Joe Douglas believes is imperative to a winning team. Benton will likely establish an outside zone blocking scheme according to those who know him well. He will also be tasked with managing the run game and the development of Mekhi Becton and any other young lineman prospects.
Miles Austin- Wide Receivers Coach
Miles Austin is another chip off the San Francisco block. The former pro bowl receiver is still relatively new to coaching, but with his experience, he’s played a role in helping guys like Brandon Aiyuk in San Fran. Austin was a talented receiver who was able to consistently capitalize off his spectacular speed. He’s not a proven commodity as a receivers coach, but having a former player who’s knowledgeable and has high potential as a coach is a welcome addition.
Rob Calabrese- Passing Game Specialist
For those of you who don’t remember, this past season when the Broncos ultimately ended up starting a wide receiver at quarterback due to COVID-19 issues, the team tried to get approval for Calabrese to play. The former UCF quarterback ultimately didn’t get approval but the saga made his name recognizable. Beyond that though, Calabrese is an emerging coaching prospect who the Jets will hope can both learn from LaFleur and Saleh in hopes of bolstering his career.
Calabrese played high school football in Long Island and his mentor was former Jet QB Boomer Esiason, making this a bit of a coaching homecoming for him. It remains to be seen what he brings to the table given a rather behind the scenes role, but nonetheless, he is a bright coaching prospect.
Saleh has already begun to put together a quality staff underneath Mike LaFleur. He’s been a proponent of staff diversity in terms of complimentary skill sets, and this staff is a prime example of practicing what he preaches. LaFleur is the innovative mind and is the top dog of the offense, but with no play calling experience, he will lean on Knapp for advice. Knapp also provides a stable voice to educate whoever the quarterback ultimately ends up being. Benton will be the run game expert and hopefully bring some of the knowledge that helped the 49ers have an explosive attack with him, as well as freeing up LaFleur to focus on making sure the offense runs like a well oiled machine by not necessarily having to focus on one specific aspect. Austin and Calabrese will provide a recent former player perspective and Austin will be able to hopefully teach from experience, while both can help assist the team overall, while learning in hopes of advancing up the coaching ladder. All in all, there are still more hires to be made for the offense, and on the other side of the ball, but this was an excellent start.