So, just because the Jets may interview coaches before the hire a general manager it does not necessarily mean they will hire a coach first. It just means they are gathering as much information, including information straight from the mouths of potential candidates, as they can so the new general manager can hit the ground running as soon as he gets the job.
Many people think the Jets need to find an offensive-minded head coach, which of course makes sense for two reasons. First off this offense is in dire need of being developed into an offense that can put points on the board with consistency and second because the team hasn’t had an offensive-minded head coach in quite a long time.
But what the Jets really need is simply the best man for the job. What side of the field his expertise lies isn’t nearly as important as his ability to run all three phases (offense, defense and special teams) smoothly. They need a CEO of football who the players will respect and follow and a coach who can contribute in every area. If they do decide to go with another defensive coach that coach will certainly have to make sure he hires the right offensive coordinator but of course if they go with an offensive coach he will need to make sure he hires the right defensive coordinator to make sure the defense doesn’t slip.
Below is a list of candidates the Jets have already reached out to, are expected to reach out to and should reach out to.
Doug Marrone (Former Head Coach, Buffalo Bills) Marrone just opted out of his contract with the Buffalo Bills and a reliable source confirmed to JetsInsider.com that there is "mutual interest" between Marrone and the Jets.
Marrone was the head coach at Syracuse University before he was hired by the Bills, where he spent the past two season, going 6-10 in 2013 and 9-7 this year. Marrone signed a four-year contract before the 2013 season but he had an opt out clause which allows him to still collect his $4 million 2015 base salary, which is guaranteed, without it offsetting any money on his next contract.
"We are disappointed that Coach Marrone will no longer be an important part of our organization," Bills owner Terry Pegula said in a statement released to the media. "We thank him for all of his hard work and leadership during his tenure and wish him and his family the best with the next chapter in their lives.
Marrone did a solid job with the Bills the past two seasons, especially considering his quarterback options, and just missed out on the playoffs this year. With Kyle Orton’s abrupt retirement the uncertainty at quarterback and no first-round draft pick this year is thought to have played a part in Marrone’s desire to leave Buffalo. According to the source the departure had nothing to do with the new ownership.
The Jets are expected to show serious interest in Marrone, who spent the 2002-2005 seasons as offensive line coach for the Jets, and Marrone is reportedly very interested in the Jets open coaching position. The Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons are also expected to be potential destinations for Marrone.
Dan Quinn (Seahawks defensive coordinator) - Quinn is widely regarded as one of the top two coaching candidate most likely to get a head coaching job this year. This much is obvious by the fact that not only have the Jets already scheduled an interview with Quinn for this Saturday in Seattle but the 49ers and Falcons have also reached out to him.
Quinn is a native of Morristown, New Jersey, just minutes away from the Jets Florham Park facility, and has ties to the Jets as he coached the Jets defensive line in the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Quinn began his coaching career as defensive quality control coach of the 49ers in 2001 before coaching the defensive lines of the 49ers (2203-04), Miami Dolphins (2005-06) and the Jets and served as the defensive coordinator for the Florida Gators in 2011-12.
After Gus Bradley left the Seahawks Quinn was hired as his replacement as defensive coordinator and coordinated his way to winning a Super Bowl last year and possibly repeating this year. The Seahawks defense is stacked with exceptional talent and they don’t scheme too much in Seattle but he is highly respected around the league and the prevailing thought is he will make some team extremely happy as their head coach.
Tom Cable (Seahawks assistant head coach/offensive line) - You probably know Cable’s name from his brief stint as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, 2008-10, that did not produce the best results but it’s hard to pin blame on him as the entire Raiders organization was very much in dysfunction at the time.
Cable’s first NFL job was as the offensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons, in 2006, before going the Raiders in 2007. Then Raiders coach Lane Kiffin was fired after just four games during the 2008 season and Cable was named interim head coach before being named full time head coach in 2009. In 2011 Al Davis decided to let Cable walk despite the team showing a lot of growth and improvement during Cable’s tenure, namely the offensive line and running game improved.
Todd Bowles (Cardinals defensive coordinator) - Bowles, along with Quinn, is the other candidate considered to be the most sought after and most likely to get a head coaching job job this year. Also like Quinn Bowles’ defensive roster is stocked with an insane amount of talent but the Cardinals had to overcome numerous injuries on the defense and Bowles managed to do that without missing a beat as the Cardinals defense is among the best in the league despite all the injuries.
Bowles also has a connection with the Jets, was the defensive backs coach in 2000, before going to Cleveland between 2001-04, the Cowboys, 2005-07, as the defensive backs coach/assistant head coach with the Dolphins 2008-11 where he served as interim head coach when Tony Sparano was fired mid season (Bowles went 2-1 in his three game stint as interim head coach) and served as the Eagles defensive backs coach in 2012 before taking over as defensive coordinator with the Cardinals.
Gary Kubiak (Ravens offensive coordinator) - Kubiak is best known for being the head coach of the Houston Texans from 2006-13. He coached the Texans to most successful years in franchise history before being fired after going 2-11 during the 2013 season. Kubiak then took over as offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens before this season and has certainly improved the Ravens running game. Kubiak surely isn’t the sexist name on the list but he is a good offensive mind he could certainly improve the Jets offense.
Frank Reich (Chargers offensive coordinator) - Like Kubiak, Reich’s expierence is on the offensive side of the ball. He is a very well respected offensive mind and his name is starting to gather more and more buzz as a head coaching candidate.
Reich’s first NFL coaching job was as an offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach for the Colts in 2008 before moving to wide receivers coach in 2011. He was released, along with the entire Colts coaching staff, after the 2011 season and took over as wide receivers coach for the Cardinals in 2012 but again was the victim of a changing of the entire staff when the Cardinals fired Ken Wisenhunt after the 2012 season. Reich followed Wisenhunt to the Chargers in 2013 and when Wisenhunt was hired as head coach of the Titans Reich was promoted to the Chargers offensive coordinator.
Reich played quarterback in the NFL serving as Jim Kelly’s backup in Buffalo for most of his playing career. Reich did however lead the Bills to the biggest comeback in playoff history, on January 3 1993 after the Bills feel behind to the Houston Oilers 35-3 in the third quarter he led the the Bills to a 38-3 comeback eventually beating the Oilers in overtime 41-38.
Jim Mora Jr. (UCLA head coach) - Jim Mora Jr. is the son of ex-coach Jim Mora Sr. who is most famous for his famous, “Playoffs?!?!?!” rant as coach of the Colts. Mora Jr.’s coaching career began in defensive quality control with the Chargers from 1985-88 before being promoted to defensive backs coach from 1989-91. He served in the same role with the Saints from 1992-96 and the 49ers from 1997-98 before being promoted to defensive coordinator with the 49ers from 1999-2003. In 2004 he was hired as the head coach of the Falcons until the 2006 season and served as an assistant head coach/defensive backs coach with the Seahawks from 2007-09. In 2012 he was hired as the head coach of UCLA.
Mora Jr.’s finished his time as head coach of the Falcons with a disappointing 32-34 record (1-1 in the playoffs). He has done a great job of recruiting good talent at UCLA and has built the Bruins back up into a solid college program. With the recent success of some coaches returning to the NFL after a stint on college it’s understandable why some NFL teams might inquire about Mora Jr. but he is not a name that would likely excite Jets fans.
WHO THEY SHOULD REACH OUT TO
Gus Malzahn (Auburn head coach) - Malzahn was an incredibly successful college coach for many years before taking on offensive coordinator jobs at Arkansas, Tulsa, Auburn and Arkansas State before taking over as head coach at Auburn in 2013.
Who knows if or how Malzahn’s coaching would translate to the NFL but he is a very creative and gifted play caller and it’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t be able to improve the Jets offense. The question the Jets have to ask themselves is, can he lead the entire team in all three phases and handle life as an NFL head coach or is he taylor-made for college?
Art Briles (Baylor head coach) - Basically everything that was just said about Malzahn could be said about Briles. Briles spent 20 years coaching high school football before becoming the running backs coach for Texas Tech from 2000-02, head coach at the University of Houston from 2003-07 and taking over as head coach for Baylor from 2008 until today.
Briles, like Malzahn, is a great offensive mind whose system causes opposing defensive coordinators reoccurring nightmares in college. But also like Malzahn no one knows if his system/style can translate to the NFL.