The New York Jets have fired offensive coordinator John Morton. Now Gang Green must move quickly to fill the void in the coaching staff.
Timing is everything in the NFL. It can be the difference between a touchdown and a turnover. In this specific case with the New York Jets, it seems they’re hoping the grass is greener on the other side.
In case you missed it, the Jets have made John Morton’s run as OC a one-and-done scenario. But again timing is everything, if you read the tea leaves, it seemed like this was always an option that was on the table. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported nearly a week ago that it wasn’t a lock that Morton would return to the team. That was confirmed on Wednesday.
“The offensive coordinator, whom the Jets fired on Wednesday, clashed with head coach Todd Bowles,” a source told Connor Hughes of NJ Advance Media. “The year, while somewhat successful for those on that side of the ball, was filled with “friction” and “tension” behind the scenes.”
This continues the musical chairs the Jets have played at the offensive coordinator position. Whoever replaces Morton will be the Jets’ sixth different offensive coordinator in the past eight years. That’s hardly a recipe for success.
With this news not coming as a surprise, I had already started reaching out to my sources and scoping the market to see who would be the top options to replace him, if indeed he was fired. Here’s what I found:
Currently the Jets’ quarterback coach, there have been a ton of rumblings about Bates taking a bigger role with the team. While many credit Josh McCown’s career year to Morton, many people that I’ve talked to suggest that it was Bates’ direction that led to the turnaround. If the Jets decide to keep it in-house, Bates is the selection.
We mentioned earlier that timing is everything, so it’s a bit odd that Todd Haley was relieved of his duties in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, only hours before Morton was fired.
Haley and Bowles worked together with the Jets in 2000 and with the Dallas Cowboys back in 2005-06. So there’s a familiarity there.
Doing a throwback to last year when Chan Gailey retired from the NFL, I wrote a similar piece to this talking about potential replacements at that time for Gailey, here were the names I discussed:
5. Norv Turner
- After sitting out a year this past season, Norv Turner has taken the offensive coordinator position with the Carolina Panthers, so he’s off the market.
4. Todd Haley
- Interesting we already talked about him earlier. I still think he’s a fit a year later and now he’s available so we don’t have to worry about strings attached to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
3. Chip Kelly
- New head coach at UCLA and go figure Kelly went back down to the college ranks. That’s hardly surprising, he made his butter in college and maybe that’s just where he fits best. So he’s off the list.
2. David Shaw
- Now I’ll admit this is a bit far-fetched looking back because why would a successful college head coach go to the next level for a downgrade (head coach to OC). The only way Shaw comes to the NFL is for a head coaching opportunity.
1. Mike McCoy
- McCoy decided to take the job with the Denver Broncos last season and ended up getting fired a few months ago. It seems like people are avoiding him like the Black Plague but I’m still intrigued as I was last year. Here’s what I said 12 months ago and still holds true:
- “McCoy can do a lot with nothing and the Jets have had exactly that for years now. Look at his track record making Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow into viable starters on offense. Orton, a career journeyman, saw career-highs during his time with McCoy including being a top-10 passing attack back in 2010. When Tebow was their guy he adapted the offense and the Denver Broncos led the league in rushing. He also has head coaching experience which only helps his resume. If the Jets aren’t on the phone with McCoy as you read this, something is drastically wrong with the decision-making at 1 Jets Drive.”
While my golden goose has changed from last season. John DeFilippo is the prize of not only the offensive coordinator market in the NFL, but he’s interviewed for a few head coaching gigs as well.
What DeFilippo has done for Carson Wentz this past season is nothing short of a miracle. The ideal fit at OC for the Jets would be a quarterback whisperer, as it’s likely the Jets will have a new QB in 2018.
Whether that’s a rookie or a veteran, they need an OC that knows what he’s doing. DeFilippo could get a head coaching gig and clearly, he’ll get his pick of the litter, so who knows if Bowles can swoon him, but he’s clearly the No. 1 option on the list.
I feel compelled to just say a quick nugget on Arians. While he’s the definition of a quarterback whisper (hell it’s the title of his latest book), he is happily retired from what I understand. While he has announced that he’ll be participating in some unofficial fashion with the Jets training camp this Summer, that apparently is where his participation will end.