MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 04: Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson shakes hands with Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano after a game at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Different head coaches bring different things to the table. Rex Ryan brings a lot to the defensive side of the ball both with his schemes and his player development. The Jets would probably be at their best if Rex could spend more time than the average head coach working hands on in that area.
That might mean less time with the offense. Rex probably knows less about offense than the average head coach. Make no mistake about it. He is responsible for the unit's success. For the Jets to be successful on that side of the ball, though, he is probably going to need to find good coaches to whom he can give wide latitude and trust they will do the job. Some former head coaches with experience having great responsibility come to mind.
The team took a first step to that in hiring Tony Sparano, a guy with a history of building good running attacks. Sparano alone will probably not do the job, though. There are two other significant pieces still needed. The passing game could use a proven authority. Todd Haley would fit well there. He has built successful passing attacks.
There is another very important position the Jets need to fill well, quarterbacks coach. The coordinator (or coordinators) will need to oversee the entire offense. The Jets have a young quarterback who has struggled in Mark Sanchez. They need to give him a position coach with a good track record of competence to give him consistent individual attention. My suggestion is an old friend of Rex Ryan, recently fired former Raiders head coach Hue Jackson. Jackson was a contender to become offensive coordinator after Rex was first hired three years ago.
Jackson's last few coaching stops have been pretty impressive. His two years in Oakland resulted in top ten offenses. His arrival with the Raiders directly coincided with the team gaining surprising respectablity after a long run as the league's laughing stock. Before he was in Oakland, he was Baltimore's quarterbacks coach where he helped mold Joe Flacco during the quarterback's first two years in the league into a high performer. A year as Atlanta's offensive coordinator in 2007 wasn't pretty, but his three years as Cincinnati's wide receivers coach before that saw T.J. Houshmanzadeh's breakout campaign and the late Chris Henry's development. He is thus somebody who has developed receivers and quarterbacks and run productive offenses based on the run game as well, a solid fit on any staff.
Landing these three former head coaches to take responsibility on the offense might be just as significant as any personnel upgrades this team makes over the offseason.