Say this about the Jets. They mastered the art of firing head coaches so well after getting it wrong in hiring coaches.
They did it again by firing Adam Gase hours after the Jets’ 28-14 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. It was quick and painless since this was fait accompli months ago.
Ever since the 2010 AFC championship game, the Jets missed the playoffs for the last 10 seasons. Three different head coaches arrived with high hopes just to depart as failures. It’s remarkable in a sense. One would figure there would be five different head coaches in that period. Rex Ryan earned some time for taking the Jets to two AFC title games, but eventually, four straight non-winning and playoff-less seasons did him in. Todd Bowles lasted four seasons, and Gase lasted two forgettable seasons.
Hiring the right coach is not an exact science. There’s not an established coach waiting out there, so once again the Jets will settle for a coordinator that is learning on the job as a head coach. It’s not the predicament the Jets want to be in again.
But this is why Jets general manager Joe Douglas is being paid millions to get this right. Not only he needs to get the No. 2 pick right and get most of his nine draft picks this year right, but he must get it right with the next head coach. He may have chances to get it right with a draft pick, but he only gets one to make it count with a head coach.
Douglas knows the next head coaching hire is important since it could move the franchise forward or be more behind. He convinced Jets CEO Christopher Johnson that he should be the guy to decide on the head coach since his job is on the line.
We will find out what Douglas is now as a general manager. Not with just the draft picks, but the head coach.
Expect Douglas to hire an offensive mind to be the Jets 20th head coach. It makes sense since the Jets need to hire that type of coach to develop Darnold or the next quarterback such as Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, or Trey Lance.
Eric Bieniemy, Brian Daboll, Arthur Smith, and Greg Roman stand out as who the Jets likely will hire since they know how to run an offense as offensive coordinators.
But here’s where it gets tricky: The hire can’t just be a head coach who has only one expertise. He has to be well-rounded in all facets of the game. He needs to be a leader of men through charisma and power of personality. He should get the pulse of the room from Day One and not lose it. He must be a teacher that will be discipline-minded. Most importantly, he has to be respected and trusted when the going gets tough.
It won’t be easy since no one knows how a coordinator does until he gets that coaching experience.
Ryan and Bowles focused more on the defensive aspects of the game while ignoring or showing no clue how to coach offense. In Gase’s case, he had no idea how to operate as a head coach.
The Jets need to hire a head coach that has the attributes of Eric Mangini and Herm Edwards. Mangini excelled at knowing all facets of the game while Edwards knew how to be a leader of men. This is where Douglas must figure out who is that guy.
Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck would be that ideal coach. He knows how to lead, develop, and coach. He developed Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan into a productive quarterback, so this makes a case for him to be the next head coach considering the team needs a coach that will work with a quarterback.
Here’s what should draw the Jets to Fleck: He’s a dynamic leader that is a go-getter. Nothing fazes him. Coaching the Jets can burn people out. Ask guys like Bruce Coslet, Pete Carroll, Rich Kotite, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick (he did coach the Jets for one day before he resigned as “HC of the NYJ”, Al Groh, Edwards, Mangini, Ryan, Bowles, and Gase.
Fleck would embrace the challenge of being the guy to win in New York and turn the Jets franchise around. If he did that, he would be the king of the city. This vision appeals to a head coach who is a goal builder.
If nothing else, Douglas should interview him and hear what he has to offer. He may just be impressed. Fleck knows how to do a sales pitch of what he can do as the head coach of a football team.
Douglas will hear everyone’s sales pitch. He will leave no stone unturned.
But he knows he has to get this coaching choice right or else he will join another failed Jets head coach out of One Jets Drive in infamy.