The Search for a New Commander

The new Jets Head Coach will have a greater impact on the team’s success than any new free agents.

Now that New York has finally moved on from Todd Bowles, the Jets organization has a glaring hole at the Head Coach position. There are plenty of candidates floating around on the market. But after the Packers just swooped up Titans OC Matt LaFleur the other night, GM Mike Maccagnan, owner Chris Johnson, and the rest of the front office need to make their splash soon. And they need to make it wisely. The rumored main criteria for the new hire are as follows (in no particular order):

  1. Offensive background & orientation

  2. Track record developing young QBs

  3. Proven consistent leadership

With those things in mind, the Jets have already conducted several interviews for the Head Coach vacancy with more expected in the coming days. The decision on this is sure to affect the Jets’ performance and your betting for years to come. As Gang Green speeds things up and hones in on a new HC, the following likely candidates will impact the team differently in 2019 and beyond.

Kliff Kingsbury

This seems to be a wildly popular pick for Jets fans because the young Kingsbury comes with a fresh perspective, a proven offensive track record, and a positive history with QB development (he even was one in the NFL, albeit briefly).

However, the major red flag with Kliff Kingsbury is his lack of success in the NFL. Prior to serving as the OC for USC last season, Kingsbury had a losing 35-40 record as the Head Coach of Texas Tech. And despite his short stint in the NFL, he has no coaching experience past the college level.

Kingsbury may have the support of the Jets’ young star Jamal Adams, but he isn’t ready yet for prime time or even for a HC job. Nevertheless, he checks most of the boxes and can grow in his role over time.

Potential Jets fit: B- / B

Predicted 2019 Jets record as HC: 4-12

Photo Credit: Jerry Larson | Waco Tribune Herald

Photo Credit: Jerry Larson | Waco Tribune Herald

Mike McCarthy

The former Green Bay HC comes with a proven history of winning in the NFL, has an offense-first mentality, and has successfully groomed and coached elite Quarterbacks throughout his career (does Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers ring a bell?). Plus, McCarthy is the only potential candidate with a Super Bowl ring.

Despite his success, McCarthy has been criticised before his firing from Green Bay. Many argue that he should have won more than one Super Bowl with Rodgers as his franchise QB. There have also been reports circulating that McCarthy prefers not to coach in 2019, which is cause for concern for the Jets.

McCarthy would be the safe hire if the Jets are looking to win this year, but with a young roster, that’s not likely in the team’s 2019 plans. McCarthy could bring a winning culture to New York next season, but with his old-school mentality and uncertainty about coaching in 2019 and beyond, is he the right coach for the future?

Potential Jets fit: B

Predicted 2019 Jets record as HC: 7-9

Photo Credit: Sporting News

Photo Credit: Sporting News

Matt Rhule

Like Kingsbury, Rhule is a younger Head Coaching candidate who, if hired, would be joining straight from the NCAA. The current Baylor HC revitalized the underperforming Temple program from 2013-2016 before joining the Big 12 in 2017 with Baylor. There is a lot of appeal to Rhule, including his proven football leadership, his in-depth work with all facets of a football team (offense, defense, AND special teams), and his New York upbringing.

Although young and hungry, a Rhule hiring offers some reasons for concern, specifically because of his limited NFL experience. Unlike Kingsbury, he has coached in the NFL before, though it was only as an Assistant OL coach for the Giants in 2012.

Rhule doesn’t have as much NFL experience as some other Head Coaching candidates, but he has strong potential and has proven he can take a team from misery to relevancy.

Potential Jets fit: B+

Predicted 2019 Jets record as HC: 5-11

Photo Credit: SNY

Photo Credit: SNY

Eric Bieniemy

If the Jets want to go with another coordinator to fill the Head Coach vacancy (like they have done with their past 3 HC’s), Bieniemy would be the most likely candidate. However, the Chiefs coordinator offers something different from his Jets predecessors: he works on the offensive side of the ball. Bieniemy has worked with Kansas City since 2013, and this year was promoted to Offensive Coordinator. After his elevation to OC, it’s no wonder Bieniemy is in such hot demand. He has coached the Chiefs to the number 1 offense in just his first season. Not to mention, he has developed the potential MVP Patrick Mahomes.

Some around the NFL are not so sold on Bieniemy, saying the success of the Kansas City offense is due to Andy Reid. This may be true since Reid does call the offensive plays, but Bieniemy is the guy devising weekly game plan and talking to Mahomes in-game every play.

Bieniemy has solid credentials, but without him even calling plays for KC, would he be able to handle all of the responsibilities of New York’s Head Coach?

Potential Jets Fit: B+

Predicted 2019 Jets record as HC: 6-10

Photo Credit: Chiefs.com

Photo Credit: Chiefs.com

John Harbaugh

It’s highly, highly unlikely the Ravens would let John Harbaugh go, but the Jets just may be able to pry him away in a trade. IF they were able to do so, Harbaugh would bring a winning atmosphere and game-changing presence to New York, not to mention a Super Bowl championship.

Like everyone though, Harbaugh comes with fair criticism. His game plan in last week’s Wild Card playoff game was questionable and left his team floundering for success.

With a career .594 Head Coaching record, 10 playoff wins, and Super Bowl XLVII victory, Harbaugh would be nearly impossible to get from Baltimore. However, the Jets should at least kick the tires on his availability.

Potential Jets Fit: A

Predicted 2019 Jets record as HC: 9-7

Photo Credit: Clutch Points

Photo Credit: Clutch Points

Final Prediction

The Jets bring in Matt Rhule from Baylor to be their new Head Coach, which with the current roster would bring them to an improved 5-11. After filling some holes in FA, though, the Jets could wind up finding the .500 mark, even potentially making the playoffs.

Purveyor of truth. Breaker of chains. Foolish fan of the Mets, Jets, and Knicks.

Twitter: @ChazzLucenti