The New York Jets are coming out of a regime filled with disappointment and empty promises. However, there is hope on the horizon for the Jets faithful. The Jets are coming into the offseason with a lot of cap space, plenty of draft picks, and hopes for a brighter tomorrow.
While the blame should not fall on the shoulders of Sam Darnold, it would not surprise if this new regime opts for a new signal caller. Darnold has a bad history of turning the ball over. There are options in the draft as well as free agency. A new head coach should relish the opportunity to rebuild this iconic franchise.
While he has issues, there is some hope that a good head coach can fix Darnold. He has all the necessary tools to be a franchise quarterback. There are flashes of greatness when looking at his game film. While there are things to fix, he still has a solid foundation.
Many quarterbacks have been able to fix their careers after some guidance. Instead of drafting a quarterback, the Jets new coach may want to surround Darnold with weapons.
The Jets are in for yet another rebuild. However, a strong head coach will give this team a new direction. There are many different directions the New York Jets could go. Finding the right coach to fit that vision is very important.
Here are the top four coaching candidates for the New York Jets.
Robert Saleh – Defensive Coordinator – San Fransisco 49ers
The Jets are typically best with a strong defense. There are very good pieces on this defense. However, they need a defensive coach to lead these players.
Robert Saleh is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL. With so many holes to fill, the Jets can easily transition into Saleh’s defense. New York will once again have a strong defensive coach with many young pieces and could start the rebuild by forming a new identity.
While they lack a star edge rusher, they have plenty of draft capital and a lot of cap space. New York can begin to build this defense over the offseason. Saleh will have full control over this defense, similar to what he has with the 49ers. The Jets could grow into a top tier defense in a matter of seasons.
Even though he is young, Saleh has plenty of experience as a defensive coach. The Jets will likely need an offensive coordinator with a strong understanding of the game, however, defensive coordinators typically find the transition to the head coach a bit easier than offensive coordinators.
Jim Harbaugh – Head Coach – University of Michigan
When looking at coaches with great quarterback records, Jim Harbaugh has a terrific track record. Harbaugh revived the career of Alex Smith after years of Smith struggling. After Alex Smith, he turned Colin Kaepernick into a Pro Bowl quarterback who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Harbaugh is an excellent quarterback coach and has a clear understanding of how to get the best out of his players.
If the Jets are looking to revive the career of Sam Darnold, Harbaugh would be a very wise choice. He has experience molding young quarterbacks. This would leave the Jets to find other playmakers or fill defensive holes through the draft and free agency.
Finding a quarterback can be a long process. While few teams win Super Bowls with only the talents of a great quarterback, many great teams have won Super Bowls with average Quarterbacks. Under coach Harbaugh, the Jets could have both a great team and a great quarterback. That is how dynasty’s are built.
Arthur Smith – Offensive Coordinator – Tennessee Titans
While it isn’t the flashiest offense in the NFL, the Titans have been winning with efficient play and a dominant run game. Although the Jets do not have a Derrick Henry level back, a strong rotation of quality running backs could serve in the absence of a dominant back.
The Jets are slowly building an offensive line. Efficient quarterback play and a strong running game are the key to winning football. Arthur Smith runs an extremely efficient offense.
The Jets do not have any dominant playmakers on their offense. The best way to make up for these lack of playmakers is to play efficient football. If the Jets try and mirror the Titans offensive attack, it will cut down on turnovers.
The Dolphins, Bills, and Patriots all have very opportunistic defenses that thrive off creating turnovers. Limiting turnovers will be the key to winning this division.
Arthur Smith is a coach who could build this offense with Sam Darnold or any other quarterback the Jets decide to have under center next year. He can create an offensive gameplan that will highlight the strengths of each player. If the Jets want to maximize the potential of their players, Smith would be an excellent choice.
Patrick Graham – Defensive Coordinator – New York Giants
While the Giants’ offense had a lot of issues, their defense is what helped them make a playoff push. Like the Jets, the Giants had no true star defensive players. However, they do have quality starters along their defense.
Patrick Graham is a coach who may fly under the radar, but he is an excellent coach.
Graham also has the privilege of coaching under Joe Judge. Judge is a student of not only Bill Belichick, but Nick Saban as well. Judge likely would have passed some of this knowledge on to Graham as well. Not only does Graham defensive knowledge, but he has likely learned some leadership skills as well.
The Jets need leadership now more than ever. A key to a successful franchise is to form an identity. New York would be wise to hire Patrick Graham. He helped a young Giants defense grow into one of the better defenses in the league. Before that he took a very weak Dolphins defense and turned it into a respectable unit.
Graham would be an excellent hire for the Jets.