Coaching Whispers - What's up with Donnie?

The Jets deny a report by the NFL Network's Adam Shefter that there is friction between Gang Green and New England over the interview date for Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini.

This interview was done on Sunday . . .

One interesting connection between Mangini and the Jets organization is that his cousin – Jason Mondelesi -- is a Jets assistant coach. It would be shocking if Patriots coach Bill Belichick advises Mangini to take this job, but he's not going to stand in his way. We hear that Mangini really wants the job, and if the Jets make him a good offer he will accept it. He is the heavy favorite to get the job now -- especially since he's got Jets assistant GM Mike Tannenbaum in his corner. Tannenbaum is wielding a lot of power in the organization, and the two are close friends.

While Belichick has little respect for the Jets organization, Mangini doesn't have similar feelings.

So what it comes down to is this: the Jets couldn't get Belichick to coach their team, so they are essentially attempting to hire his son. If you can't beat them, join them.

One can only hope that the decision is based purely on good football logic. The media and fan reaction to this decision should have no bearing on the Jets' thinking.

If Bradway makes this decision because he thinks Gary Myers will like it, it's a flawed way of thinking. The Green Bay Packers just hired Mike McCarthy as their head coach. He spent the last two years as offensive coordinator of New Orleans (2004) and San Francisco (2005), both struggling programs. But that didn't sway Packers GM Ted Thompson. The GM thinks McCarthy is a good football coach and it will work out fine. He doesn't care what reporters and fans are saying about the move. Good for Thompson.

Running a football team isn't a democratic process. There's no ballot box. If the GM makes the right decision in the long run, the initial reaction doesn't matter. This concept of reporters -- that it would be hard to sell Mike Tice to the fans -- is idiotic. Where are the fans going? If they give up their season tickets if Tice is hired, there are 50,000 people on the waiting list to gobble them up.

No "selling" needs to go on with a choice for coach. Any GM who panders to the fans and media shouldn't be a GM.

If Mangini is the best choice for the job he should get the job. The media and fans should have no impact on the process . . .

While media relations is a distant second to football-related matters, Mangini could really struggle dealing with the press. He has almost no experience. Remember, his two assistant coaching gigs have come under Bill Parcells and Belichick. Neither coach allows their assistants to talk to the press. They are only allowed to talk at the Super Bowl due to a league mandate. So Mangini would be coming to coach in the #1 market as a novice with the press.

Belichick believes there should be only one voice coming out of an NFL team, and it should be that of the head coach. Parcells is of the same opinion. This means nobody else in the organization is allowed to do football-related interviews. If Mangini comes to the Jets, would he, at 34-years-old, attempt to enforce these rules? We hear that the answer is no. He knows he's somewhat lucky to get an NFL head-coaching job at his age (the Jets are the only team that ever interviewed him), so he would be willing to tweak the Belichick way of doing business.

Bradway will still be the head of football operations and available to reporters. "Eric will be working for Terry," said one source close to the Jets.

This is a different setup than in New England, where everyone in the football operation works for Belichick.

The Jets are starting a new television network with Comcast, and they have to fill a lot of programming. The current Jets television show – "Jets 24/7" -- has unbelievable access around the Jets complex. They are on the field during practice and in meetings. This isn't the Belichick way. He doesn't believe in mixing marketing and football. Belichick believes in running an organization in a very secretive manner. Having television production assistants running in and out of meetings isn't the way they do things in New England.

The point is simple – if you are going to hire Mangini to bring the Belichick way to the Jets, it isn't a bad idea. However, you don't get the feeling, in many ways, the Jets will be able to set up their operation like New England's. It's going to be kind of a hybrid of the Jets and the Patriots. Can this work? Only time will tell . . .

Guess what – if the Jets hire Mangini, they will likely go back to the 3-4 defense. The Jets' defensive linemen aren't going to be happy. How many times are you going to change fronts on them? Once again, the Jets players are going to have an enormous new playbook thrown at them, and have their technique changed. If you think that is good for player development you are delusional . . .

Even though he was interviewed for the head-coaching position, Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson has no shot at the job. We hear that the Jets' front office has tired of his confrontational act. We hear that last year when the Jets hired Mike Heimerdinger as their offensive coordinator at about $1 million a season, Henderson went ballistic on Jets GM Terry Bradway and actually hurled some cuss words towards the GM. We also hear he played the race card. This is just one example of why Bradway wants Henderson working elsewhere next year.

But one reporter feels Henderson should be the Jets' next head coach. This points out the type of hidden agendas that go on between reporters and the people they cover. One National Football League writer actually e-mailed Bradway and wrote, "Are you going to hire my guy, Donnie Henderson?"

Your guy? Hey, dude, not only did you just expose your source you are also stepping over the line. It's not your job to personally lobby a GM to hire a coach.

Wow, are things out of control in the fifth estate.

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