On Thursday Todd Bowles was asked about Brandon Marshall when he spoke to the press.
He’s been everything as advertised. Brandon is the same as he was in Miami. He’s just more mature now and he’s older. He has a greater understanding and appreciation of the game.
The same as Miami part is a reminder that Bowles was on the coaching staff with the Dolphins when Marshall was there. I think this was something that got overlooked a bit when the Jets traded for Marshall. The receiver was being traded for the third time in his career and did have something of a reputation for being a difficult guy in the locker room. You would have to imagine Bowles' firsthand experience with Marshall played a role in the Jets' decision to make the trade. His approval had to have given the Jets some peace of mind.
Bowles also talked about Chan Gailey.
He was in my mind for about two years. We have a mutual best friend in George Edwards, the D.C. (Defensive Coordinator) in Minnesota. Playing against Chan a lot, he did a lot of things that make you think and make defenses adjust, so it was hard to defend against him. Knowing his demeanor and how he relates to players from everything I’d heard, he was the perfect choice for me. Me being a defensive coach, I didn’t want somebody that I had to look over their shoulder because I’m not an offensive coordinator. I wanted somebody to command the room, understand and have the respect of the guys and still get the most out of them and Chan was that guy for me.
Many times a head coach hires an assistant based on past connections or a recommendation from somebody he knows. Having a difficult time against an opponent can be another factor.
I think back to when Eric Mangini was hired. Mangini commented that the two offenses at the time the Patriots hated facing most were Denver and San Diego. When he got a head coaching job, he wanted to hire somebody from one of those teams so he went with Chargers quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer.
When Schottenheimer left the Jets, Rex Ryan had one particular guy in mind based on a bad loss he had suffered.
It was Tony Sparano, the former Miami Dolphins coach who had memorably beaten Ryan at his own ground-and-pound game on a Monday night in 2009.
After Ryan and Sparano took part in the customary midfield handshake following a rough 31-27 Jets loss, Ryan turned to a team employee and said, "I don't like this dude."
"After he became available," Ryan said, "I'm like, Oh, hell, yeah¦ that's my guy.'"
It isn't just like this in the NFL. It happens in college too. When Bob Stoops was hired as Oklahoma's head coach in 1999, he brought in an offensive coordinator he recognized. Stoops' previous job was defensive coordinator at the University of Florida. He faced Kentucky's dynamic offense in the SEC so he hired their coordinator Mike Leach to be his first offensive coordinator. Leach himself was hired as head coach of Texas Tech after one year, but Stoops has continued to run some version of that offense.
As Schottenheimer and Sparano show, the results are not always great, but it is no surprise to see this used as a motivation to get an assistant.
Bowles discussed another one of the advantages of having Gailey.
On if it was helpful that Gailey was a former head coach…
It was a plus because you can bounce things off of him and he’s been in certain situations that I hadn’t been in.
I think it was important for a first-time head coach like Bowles to have a former head coach somewhere on his staff for just that reason. Gailey might be an asset in particular because he has experience being a first-time head coach in a high profile job. Bowles has to contend with the spotlight in New York. Gailey ran the Cowboys at the end of the Troy Aikman-Emmitt Smith-Michael Irvin era.