Why did Todd Bowles hire Chan Gailey?

What led to Todd Bowles hiring Chan Gailey as his offensive coordinator?

FLORHAM PARK, N.J.- Todd Bowles had a decision to make. 

Having just been handed the reins to his first head coaching gig, the first-year head coach was in the process of piecing together what would eventually become the Jets coaching staff. Throughout his entire career, playing and coaching, Bowles had been on the defensive side of the ball, so finding the guys to coach that department would be easy. Offensively? Eh, not so much. 

Bowles was far from an offensive genius. Not ignorant, but not really savvy. He wanted experience there, leadership and someone who could command a room. 

Enter Chan Gailey. 

"Playing against Chan," Bowles said on Thursday, "He did a lot of things that made you think and made the defense adjust. It was just hard to defend against him. Knowing his demeanor, how he relates to players and everything I've heard, he was the perfect choice for me."

Out of football since 2012, Gailey has returned and revitalized a Jets offense that, prior to ths season, had been stagnant for quite some time. Poor play at the quarterback position, questionable play calls and lack-of talent marred the Jets during the last regime's time in charge. 

But under Gailey, the Jets offense is playing, believe it or not, some pretty damn good football. The unit is a big reason the team sits 7-5.

New York is averaging the 15th-most passing yards per game, 14th-most rushing yards per game, 10th-most total yards per game and have scored the 11th-most points. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is on pace to tie the franchise record for passing touchdowns in a season, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are gearing up to become the first two receivers to each cross 1,000 yards in a season since 1998, and running back Chris Ivory is the AFC's second-leading rusher. 

"Getting to know him, he's done an amazing job for us offensively," Decker said Thursday. "A lot of coordinators tend to want to run their stuff or call things the way they've called it for the amount of years they've been coaching. 

"But right away, he's very open-minded about the dialogue with whatever his concepts were, or his play calls. It's been great."

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Gailey has worked to design an offense that is based around what the Jets do well. Few things pose as a better example of that than the coordinator's decision to take Decker, who played as an outside receiver for the first five years of his career, and put him in the slot. The reasoning? To maximize his route-running ability. This season, in 11 games, Decker has caught 59 passes for 801 yards and eight touchdowns. Similarly, whenever something starts going wrong, he doesn't stick with it, but rather looks to counter. 

Early in the season, the Jets ran the ball more than most other teams as Ivory compiled 460 yards on the ground in his first four games. When teams began to counter with a stacked box in order to slow Ivory, Gailey began to air it out more hoping to take advantage of the 1-on-1 coverage outside. 

Those outside of the Jets locker room are beginning to take notice of the Jets suddenly high-powered (seriously) offense. Those inside are gaining more and more confidence by the day. But while so many are ready to start singing Gailey's praises, he hasn't even belted out a single note.  

Asked if he's satisfied with the Jets offensive effort, Gailey shrugged and smiled. 

"I’ve been satisfied seven times and not satisfied five times," Gailey said. "I mean the objective is to win the game, by one point. I don’t give a rip about stats, I don’t care.

"The objective is to win the game, that’s the only objective. That’s what you all get to talk about, I don’t care about that."


Connor Hughes is the New York Jets beat writer for The Journal Inquirer and Scout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Connor_J_Hughes), or via email (connor_j_hughes@yahoo.com)

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