In November, Mike LaFleur was listed as a future head teaching candidate by NFL.com. By January, he was out because the Jets’ offensive coordinator.
The Jets and LaFleur on Wednesday mutually agreed to half methods, in accordance with a staff official not approved to talk publicly in regards to the choice.
The information got here three days after an unpleasant 11-6, season-ending loss to the Dolphins in Miami. It capped a horrible offensive stretch to finish the season for the Jets, which finally value LaFleur his job after two years. The Jets (7-10) did not rating a landing of their ultimate three video games and averaged 11 factors per sport over the six-game shedding skid, which was solely made worse by how effectively the Jets’ protection performed for many of the season . Quarterback Zach Wilson led the Jets with six passing touchdowns, and rookie working again Breece Hall led with 463 speeding yards — and the injured Hall didn’t play after Week 7.
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Recently, Robert Saleh made it clear he felt LaFleur deserved an opportunity to stay round — 49ers followers known as for Saleh to be fired after his second season as defensive coordinator in San Francisco, however he wasn’t — so it is truthful to marvel if proprietor Woody Johnson pushed the coach to maneuver on from LaFleur. Ultimately, the Jets offense wasn’t ok, although, and LaFleur paid the value.
Now, Saleh will seemingly search to fill the position with a veteran coach with play-calling expertise as he enters a 2023 season the place something in need of making the playoffs will not be ok. The Jets wish to develop Wilson into an NFL-caliber quarterback, though they are going to seemingly strive bringing in a veteran quarterback to steer a moribund offense. Any offensive coordinator Saleh hires should perceive that if issues do not flip round in 2023, Saleh and his employees may be in search of new jobs at the moment subsequent yr.
So who’re some candidates?
We got here up with an inventory of 16 who make sense, listed in alphabetical order.
Darrell Bevell (Dolphins QBs coach/passing sport coordinator): The 53-year-old has been the offensive coordinator for 4 groups, together with the Seahawks when Saleh was on employees. This season, he is labored with Mike McDaniel, who comes from the Kyle Shanahan tree, so the match can be extra seamless than a number of the different veteran coaches on this checklist.
Tom Clements (Packers QBs coach): The 69-year-old has been the Bills and Packers offensive coordinator and can be coming from the employees of Matt LaFleur, one in all Saleh’s closest mates.
Nathaniel Hackett (ex-Broncos head coach): He became an object of mockery, fired in lower than one season in Denver. But earlier than that he was a extremely regarded offensive coordinator for the Packers — for Saleh’s pal Matt LaFleur. He was additionally the OC for the Jaguars from 2016-18, and Jacksonville’s QBs coach earlier than that. He and Saleh had been on the identical employees in Jacksonville.
Pep Hamilton (Texans offensive coordinator): The 48-year-old ran a disjointed offense in Houston, though like LaFleur, he did not have a lot to work with at quarterback. He was additionally the offensive coordinator for the Colts in 2013-15 and has a fame across the league for growing quarterbacks.
Brian Johnson (Eagles QBs coach): The 35-year-old has solely been an offensive coordinator on the school degree (at Florida in 2020) however he is thought of a coach on the rise and performed a serious position in Jalen Hurts’ improvement into an MVP candidate.
Kliff Kingsbury (ex-Cardinals head coach): Once upon a time the Jets tried hiring him as head coach, so it is conceivable Johnson may wish to convey somebody like him on board to assist Saleh. Kingsbury might be paid by the Cardinals for a couple of extra years, so he won’t be in a rush to work.
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Gary Kubiak (retired former head coach): The 61-year-old Kubiak introduced his retirement in 2021 and he’s unlikely to return out of it to name performs once more. But he gave Saleh his first NFL teaching job and can be a really perfect candidate to return in as a senior offensive assistant to assist get the offense again on monitor. He may be extra prepared to work once more if the Jets employed the following candidate on this checklist. …
Klint Kubiak (Broncos passing sport coordinator/QBs coach): Saleh by no means technically labored with Kubiak, Gary Kubiak’s son, however he actually is aware of him effectively from the ties to his father. The Broncos might be hiring a brand new teaching employees so this Kubiak will seemingly be in search of work. He would not have play-calling expertise however might nonetheless come onto the employees in some capability (passing sport coordinator? QBs coach?) to assist rebuild the offense.
Ben McAdoo (Panthers offensive coordinator): The Panthers may simply hold interim head coach Steve Wilks on full time, which might imply McAdoo would seemingly stick with the Panthers. But if not, McAdoo deserves a number of credit score for growing Sam Darnold right into a stable NFL quarterback and he has loads of play-calling expertise from Carolina and his days with the Giants.
Ron Middleton (Jets tight ends coach): He’s a preferred determine amongst Jets gamers — many typically put on a shirt bearing his likeness and signature catchphrase: “Everyone desires to go to heaven, however no person desires to die” — and gained a number of assist when he led them to a win because the interim head coach when Saleh was out with COVID-19 in 2021. He’s by no means known as performs earlier than however he’d be supported by the locker room.
Matt Nagy (Chiefs senior assistant/QBs coach): Things went awry on the finish of his tenure with the Bears however it’s simple to overlook that Chicago gained 12, eight and eight video games in his first three years. Before that, he was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs for 2 years and was some of the sought-after teaching candidates when the Bears employed him.
Greg Olson (Rams senior offensive assistant): The 59-year-old has been an offensive coordinator for six groups and over time has run a West Coast scheme. The Rams additionally may be hiring a brand new employees with Sean McVay probably bolting for TV.
Kevin Patullo (Eagles passing sport coordinator): The 41-year-old has by no means known as performs however was the Jets QBs coach in 2015, when Ryan Fitzpatrick had one in all his greatest years. Patullo has performed a key position within the rise of the Eagles offense below Nick Sirianni.
Frank Reich (ex-Colts head coach): The pipe dream for a lot of Jets followers, however it’s actually simply that — a pipe dream. Reich appears extra more likely to get one other head teaching job than to take the offensive coordinator job for a head coach he would not have ties to (Saleh) in a playoffs-or-bust season, and in a unique fashion offense than Reich runs. He matches the mould of what the Jets ought to be in search of — veteran coach, play-calling expertise, historical past of growing quarterbacks — however it might be a shock if he had been an actual candidate until Johnson forces him on Saleh.
Brian Schottenheimer (Cowboys teaching analyst): The 49-year-old spent the 2022 season on the Cowboys employees after one yr with the Jaguars (passing sport coordinator) and two because the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator. He was the Jets’ offensive coordinator as soon as upon a time (2006-11), so he is a well-recognized face in Florham Park. He was additionally the Rams’ offensive coordinator from 2012-14.
Scott Turner (ex-Washington offensive coordinator): Turner, fired on Tuesday by the Commanders, spent the final three years calling performs for Washington.
(Top picture of Nathaniel Hackett and Robert Saleh: Dustin Bradford / Getty Images)