Adam Gase’s tenure as head coach of the New York Jets came to an end on Sunday. The Jets already have at least eight candidates in mind to replace him.
Statement from Christopher Johnson.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 4, 2021
Ian Rapaport reports the Jets are expected to have a lengthy and exhaustive search for his replacement and names eight candidates who are expected to be considered.
Eric Bieniemy, OC, Kansas City Chiefs
Bieniemy’s claim to fame is his connection to the electric Chiefs’ offense. It’s one of the best offensive units in the NFL and Bieniemy is often credited with playing a large role in that by Andy Reid and his players.
However, Bieniemy doesn’t scheme the Chiefs offense. He also has no experience working with quarterbacks as he’s a former running back and running backs coach.
Bieniemy also has a laundry list of scandals on his resume including assault, a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and an accusation of rape at a recruitment party that he hosted.
Matt Eberflus, DC, Indianapolis Colts
Eberflus has been coaching since he was a student at Toledo in 1992. He climbed the coaching ladder this far to become Frank Reich’s defensive coordinator.
Eberflus’ defenses have been among the best in the NFL since taking over. Under his tutelage, Darius Leonard has become one of the best defensive players in the NFL and the Colts secondary has vastly improved.
Eberflus is often praised for how hard his players play. A testament to how much they trust him and his system.
Don “Wink” Martindale, DC, Baltimore Ravens
Wink Martindale is a blue-collar hard-working type of guy. Out of college, he took a job at his family’s trucking company. After a year he decided he needed to pursue his passion of coaching football.
He took a job at his alma mater, Defiance College. After two years at Defiance he got his first big coaching job working at Georgia Tech for Jack Harbaugh, father of John and Jim. Martindale worked his way up the coaching rankings and eventually got his first shot as a defensive coordinator in 2010 with the Broncos.
The Broncos went 4-12 and Josh McDaniels was fired. Martindale didn’t survive the coaching change. It took him two years to land another coaching gig, joining John Harbaugh in with the Ravens, where he worked with New York Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas. After six years as the linebackers coach, Martindale took over as the team’s defensive coordinator. The Ravens defense has been nothing short of elite under Martindale.
Martindale has been connected to young and innovative offensive coordinators in each of the last two coaching cycles. Last year it was Joe Brady who eventually joined Matt Rhule in Carolina. This year it’s Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.
Arthur Smith, OC, Tennessee Titans
Arthur Smith is the first candidate on this list to have experience on both sides of the ball. When he started as a coach he was o the defensive side. In fact, his first job in the NFL was as the Titans defensive quality control coach.
The Titans moved him over to the offensive side after one year and he climbed the ranks since. He now runs one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL and has experience rehabilitating players hurt by Adam Gase, see Ryan Tannehill.
The biggest concern is the lack of experience. Smith got his first position coach job in 2016, now he’s going to be a head coach just five years later?
Brandon Staley, DC, Los Angeles Rams
Brandon Staley, like Smith, is a young coach. 2020 is his first year as a coordinator at any level. Despite that, NFL teams have fallen in love with him.
He’s turned the Rams defense from a surprising weakness into an elite unit that’s pushed the team into playoff contention. He’s also worked with every positional unit at one point or another in his young career.
Experience is key here as Staley has next to none as a coordinator or higher.
Matt Campbell, HC, Iowa State
Matt Campbell is one of the top coaches this cycle. The work he’s done to turn Iowa State into a powerhouse program has been magnificent. In 2020 Iowa State beat both Texas and Oklahoma in the same season for the first time in program history.
He’s widely considered to be a phenomenal locker room leader, though some question if that would translate to the NFL.
Campbell’s background is on the offensive side of the ball, but it’s his defense that made him well known. Campbell’s focus on defensive schemes in the offensive heavy Big 12 has drawn eyes around football. His innovative ideas have rubbed off on others.
The New York Jets have established interest in Campbell, as they tried to interview him in 2018 for their head coach job that eventually went to Adam Gase. Campbell turned them down at the time, but with a general manager not on the hot seat and his pick of quarterbacks things might be different this time.
Jim Harbaugh, HC, Michigan
New York Jets’ owner Woody Johnson has long been interested in Jim Harbaugh. Chris Johnson reached out to Harbaugh in 2018 to gauge his interest in the Jets’ opening, but nothing came of it.
Rapaport reports that Harbaugh’s name is not on the front burner in the search. That’s not expected to change as Bruce Feldman of The Athletic is reporting that Harbaugh is expected to ink a contract extension with Michigan.
SOURCE: There is optimism inside Michigan that Jim Harbaugh's new deal will get wrapped up soon with an extension thru 2026.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 2, 2021
Dan Mullen, HC, Florida
There are few with the offensive reputation that Mullen has earned. He’s consistently developed quarterbacks with Alex Smith, Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott, and Kyle Trask all succeeding under him. His offensive units are always among the best in whatever league he’s in.
He’s an innovative offensive thinker who knows how to develop young quarterbacks. At least, that’s his reputation as a college coach. That’s going to grab the attention of NFL teams every time.
Mullen’s biggest issues are mostly with his personality and what that fosters on his teams. During his three years at Florida Mullen has had five players accused of violence against women. His response to the allegations was far from ideal.
His program at Ole Miss was hit with sanctions for defaming Rebel Rags, a clothing store in Oxford, Mississippi. A probe into the program found that there was no evidence against Mullen, but the program itself was found guilty.
At the end of December, Mullen and Florida were hit with recruiting violations. Mullen is reportedly directly involved with the violations.
It seems wherever Mullen goes trouble follows. Is that trouble worth his brilliant offensive mind? To Florida, the answer is a resounding yes. Will the Jets have the same answer after dealing with Adam Gase for two years?