The Jets are not exactly an attractive destination for quality candidates at the moment. Mike LaFleur’s replacement won’t have a quarterback when they arrive. And considering Saleh likely faces a playoff mandate in 2023, they won’t have much job security either.
But all that can be overcome if the new guy knows he has a chance to be the next guy. Which is why the Jets should be bold here and make a run at former Texans coach Bill O’Brien.
If Zach Wilson can be salvaged, O’Brien can do it. If he cannot, O’Brien will find a way to make it work with a veteran quarterback (whoever that is). Saleh shows he is capable of taking on personal risk for the betterment of the organization. And the Jets will be sticking a thumb in Bill Belichick’s eye — even more so if BB actually has BOB in his sights to fix the Patriots’ broken offense, as many anticipate.
O’Brien is going to be an head NFL coach again. The guy had five winning seasons and won four AFC South titles in Houston and has since gone to Nick Saban Career Rehab as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. But he will need to step back in as a coordinator first. You can make the argument the Jets provide him immense upside.
If O’Brien transforms the Jets’ offense with or without Wilson, he either moves on for his second chance. Or receives it here at Saleh’s expense, inheriting a roster that is close to Super Bowl caliber. And most likely will some form of personnel control or sway.
Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas are at the fork in the road. They have to win in 2023. They need to swing for the fences with their jobs at stake. O’Brien is the type of hire that can save them. Even if they need to use their own demise as incentive.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]