Brian Schottenheimer will have more influence in the Jets organization this season than any time before. He dazzled Woody Johnson and Mike Tannenbaum interviewing for the head job. He is also in a dream situation with the new head coach. Rex Ryan plans on being hands on with the defense, part head coach, part coordinator. This is going to leave Schottenheimer with a lot of rope. Ryan will have no problem giving Brian a lot of responsibility. He can empathize. He was in the same spot a year ago. The Ravens passed him over for their head job but kept him as defensive coordinator and gave him a lot of influence. He will probably have no problem giving similar responsibilities to a coach with three years under his belt in New York.
The real question is how Schottenheimer will use this newfound influence. He is a really bright guy. This is how he so impressed team brass. His father is a legendary coach who taught him the ins and outs of the game. He owns one of the best knowledge of X's and O's in the NFL.
He emerged as a future star in 2006, helping an undermanned team with no consistent running threat win 10 games, using a bunch of gimmicks, constantly shifting at the line before plays. There was a real lack of talent on the roster that season. The Jets had to rely on deception. Schottenheimer's stock took a hit over the next two seasons because of his refusal to change.
Anybody could give him a pass for 2007. The offensive line was well below average with Adrien Clarke and Anthony Clement serving as starters. 2008 is a different story. There were slight alterations to the offense. There were less shifts to suit Brett Favre's preference. There was, though an overreliance on a quarterback whose best days were far behind him and gimmickry. The Jets had the conference's leading running in 2008, the game's best fullback, and a power blocking offensive line, but Schottenheimer constantly tried to outthink his opponents. Even though the Jets might have been more successful leaning on a power running game, Schottenheimer would constantly try to catch opponents off guard. One example is the constant five wide shotgun sets on third and short. The team was good enough to line up with opponents but did not with any regularity.
Schottenheimer's aspirations as a head coach in the near future will depend a lot on his 2009 performance. Perhaps he got caught up in all the Brett Favre hype and thought he could ride a 39 year old arm to glory. That is not going to be a case with a rookie quarterback. No matter how intelligent Mark Sanchez is, he will operate with something of a scaled down playbook. Schottenheimer did not seem to adjust to changes in his personnel from 2006 to 2008 very well. He primarily did the same things. Now he needs to bring a rookie quarterback along slowly and rely on the three headed monster in his running game. It falls on Brian. He will have a long leash from the head coach and front office.