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Potential Head Coach Candidates, Part 1: Internal Candidates

As the Jets begin their search for a new head coach, there are any number of directions in which they may go. Since coaching changes always seem to bring upheaval, internal candidates can sometimes be attractive. They keep a degree of continuity. Unlike the 2005-2006 search, when Mike Heimerdinger and Donnie Herderson were both qualified potential successors to Herman Edwards, neither coordinator is likely to factor in the process. Brian Schottenheimer and Bob Sutton are considered part of the problem. However there still are candidates within the organization who could get a look.

Bill Callahan, Offensive Line Coach, New York Jets

Pros: Has a lot of respect in the locker room for rebuilding the offensive line and running game from shambles. Head coaching experience with the Raiders, who he took to a Super Bowl and at Nebraska, where he won a Big XII North title.

Cons: Was run out of town in both places after his teams quit on him.

Verdict: After initial success at both of his head coaching stops, Callahan left Oakland and Nebraska as an utter failure. Neither fanbase has much good to say about him. The job he has done with the Jets could be rewarded as the new coach might ask him to stay. Given his resume, a promotion to offensive coordinator might not be out of the question. However, this is not a guy to run an entire operation. Any interview he receives will be a courtesy. Jets fans should be enraged if Callahan is the next head coach.

Mike Westhoff, Special Teams Coach, New York Jets

Pros: Universally respected in the locker room. Considered the best special teams coach in the game and one of football's brightest minds. Has worked with most players on the roster. Has over two decades of NFL experience.

Cons: Has experienced major health issues that have limited him and might preclude him working the necessary full schedule. Has never held a position above special teams coach.

Verdict: Westhoff would make an excellent head coach. Any bias against special teams coaches should immediately disappear with John Harbaugh's success in Baltimore. Westhoff is the best coach on the staff. He understands the game as well as anybody, relates to his players, and would have great connections for hiring assistants. He probably does not want the job, however. Given his health problems, Westhoff is not likely interested in taking on the extra work and pressure that comes with being the head man. He seems content with his work. If the new coach has a brain in his head, Mike Westhoff will remain the special teams coach.