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Jets’ coaching search takeaways: The puzzling omission

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The Jets are entering the second week of their coaching search. Here are some thoughts on the search so far:

  1. Settle in, this could take a while. The Jets promised an extensive search during which they were going to cast a wide net and they have delivered. They interviewed Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley on Sunday. That brings the list to seven known interviews and they also plan on interviewing Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn and Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith in the coming days.

My sense is the Jets will regroup at midweek and decide whether to add anyone to the initial interview list and who they would like to talk to a second time.

There are a few things that will drag out the process this year longer than most years, not just for the Jets but the other five teams searching for a coach. For starters, all of these initial interviews are being done virtually. It’s hard to commit to a coach over Zoom. The Jets are going to want to interview a few of these coaches in person before making a final decision. Coaches still in the playoffs can’t interview in person until their teams are eliminated. If their teams advance to the Super Bowl, they can interview after the championship games.

Another factor this year is the additional playoff teams. That left only two teams with first-round byes. There had been four teams with byes before this year and the coaches on those teams could interview in the week before the wild-card games. This year, among playoff teams, only coaches from the Chiefs and Packers could interview before the wild-card games. That has pushed the timeline back some.

Jets brass made it clear it is in no rush to make a hire. The Jets want to be deliberate and land on the right guy. It will be interesting to see if things speed up once candidates start coming off the board. Many of the coaches the Jets interviewed are up for a number of these openings.

2. The Jets have pulled candidates from different backgrounds as promised.

Offensive backgrounds: Eric Bieniemy, Joe Brady, Daboll, Smith.

Defensive backgrounds: Marvin Lewis, Robert Saleh, Eberflus, Staley, Glenn

Lewis is 62 years old. Brady is 31. Lewis was a head coach for 16 seasons. Brady and Staley have only been coordinators for a year. Glenn has never been a coordinator.

One candidate the Jets are not known to have interest in that puzzles me is Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale. The Ravens defense has been strong under Martindale’s watch and he has a good reputation around the league. Throw in Joe Douglas’ ties to the Ravens and that felt like a no-brainer to at least interview him.

Don “Wink” Martindale
Don “Wink” Martindale
Getty Images

3. Of the Jets candidates in action this weekend, Staley helped himself the most with how the Rams shut down the Seahawks on Saturday. No one is going to be persuaded to hire a coach off of one performance, but Staley’s crew certainly helped his candidacy. Seattle managed just 278 total yards and went 2-for-14 on third down. Having Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey certainly helps, but Staley is an intriguing candidate for the Jets.

4. ESPN reported Sunday morning that Eagles coach Doug Pederson’s future with the team is shaky and uncertain. That led to speculation in the Jets universe about whether the Jets should hire him if the Eagles choose to fire him. The connection is easy to make. Douglas spent three years with the Eagles, working with Pederson. The two won a Super Bowl together in 2017 and Douglas has spoken highly of Pederson publicly.

I’m not convinced the Jets would jump at the chance to hire Pederson. The sense I get is he would get consideration but that is not a dream scenario the Jets are waiting for. There also has been speculation the Jets might be interested in trading for Pederson, but that would make no sense for a team that needs every draft pick it has right now. Pederson has a Super Bowl ring, but he is not a coach that you trade away assets to get.

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