The Jets have not done a great job developing young defensive players the last few years, and Henderson is considered excellent at making players realize their potential.
During his five years has the Baltimore Ravens secondary coach, he did an oustanding job developing various prospects.
"I think Donnie is a hard worker who gets the respect of players immediately," said a Ravens source. "He groomed (cornerback) Duane Starks, (cornerback) Chris McAllister, (safety) Ed Reed and (cornerback) Gary Baxter, who was a second round draft pick who looks like he is going to be a very good cornerback."
Henderson is known as a disciplinarian.
"I think the players really listen to him," said the Ravens source. "He had enough buddy with the players balanced with discipline. He was a friend and an advisor, but also commanded the attention and got their respect."
Ravens defensive backs swear by the guy. "Ed Reed made the Pro Bowl in his second year, Chris McAllister also made the Pro Bowl this year, Daune Starks got a big contract from Arizona in free agency. Will Demps was an undrafted free agent he made into a very good safety," said the Ravens source.
Edwards offered Henderson the job last Thursday around midnight, but then in a Friday conference all he said he had not made up his mind yet. Why? It wasn't that he was waffling on his decision, but he wanted to help Ron Rivera's status with the Chicago Bears. Rivera had interviewed for the Jets defensive coordinator job, and then went to Chicago on Friday to talk to the Bears about their opening. Edwards felt if he announced Henderson's hiring on Friday, he would hurt Rivera's leverage. The two are good friends who both went to Cal-Berkeley.
"He thinks by waiting he helped Ron Rivera," said an NFL source.
But the delay had nothing to do with indecision regarding Henderson.
"Herm targeted him from the beginning when he was putting his list together," said a Jets source. "After Donnie's interview he was considered the benchmark."
But if Henderson is such a good candidate, why didn't any other NFL teams looking for defensive coordinators this off-season interview him? Remember there were 14 openings.
"Herm is glad nobody else interviewed him," said the Jets source. "He thinks he's a diamond in the rough.
"Herm refused to give into the public and media pressure about who he should hire, that we need to hire a name or it would be a failure. "This is Herm's first significant hire, and this is the way he wants to go about it. Herm is very unorthodox. There is nothing typical about Herm. You never know what he will say or do next."
Edwards is finally putting his foot down.
"He gave in way too much to (Paul) Hackett and (Ted) Cottrell,' said an NFL source. "He is now going to play the type of defense and offense that he wants to. He is going to take more control and assert more authority."
According to the NFL source, Edwards didn't hire Cottrell, others in the Jets organization did. "It was strongly suggested that he hire Teddy," said the NFL source. "Now Donnie is Herm's guy. You need to be comfortable with the people you work with.
Henderson has made a good first impression in Hempstead.
"He is very impressive and professional and very focused," said the Jets source. "When he talks to you, he looks at you and doesn't look to the next person to talk to.
"(Ravens coach Brian)Billick runs a tight ship and he instilled that in Donnie," said the Jets source.
According to a member of the Ravens front office, Henderson is such a no-nonsense guy he would yell at offensive players if they didn't run things right on the scout team in practice. He sounds like just the type of coach the Jets need. The Jets staff last season was considered too laid back, and Henderson is going to change that.
"I believe in tough love," said Henderson.
Reprinting this story on any other website or message board is illegal,and violators are subject to legal action.