New York Jets: Robert Saleh’s staff reportedly taking shape

New York Jets
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 29: A general view of a New York Jets helmet before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on December 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Jets beat the Bills 13 to 6. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Robert Saleh has apparently wasted no time in assembling his New York Jets assistants, bringing some familiar faces in from San Francisco.

Per Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh is taking some of his colleagues across the country for an extended business trip.

Silver, SI’s San Francisco-based correspondent, Mike LaFleur and John Benton are joining Saleh in green. LaFleur will serve as the team’s offensive coordinator (a move first teased by ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier this week) while Benton will reprise his role as an offensive line coach and also serve as the team’s run game coordinator. Silver has also reported that Saleh will also welcome in Greg Knapp and Rob Calabrese as the quarterbacks coach and a pass game specialist.

LaFleur spent the last four years in San Francisco as the team’s passing game coordinator, working alongside Jimmy Garoppollo during the latter’s first years as a full-time NFL starter. His first two years in the Bay Area also saw him work as the receivers coach. He previously partook in a Super Bowl trek during the 2016-17 season, working as an offensive assistant with the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons. LaFleur is the younger brother of Matt, who will compete for a Super Bowl appearance of his own as a head coach next Sunday in the NFC title game against Tampa Bay (3:05 p.m. ET, Fox).

Bento has been in the NFL for the past 19 seasons, including the last four alongside Saleh in San Francisco. His blocking unit was ranked ninth in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings, earning particular praise for his work with Trent Williams, who was the analytical site’s top-graded left tackle after missing the entire 2019 season.

Knapp has been working in the NFL almost non-stop since 1997, taking only the 2017 season off. He spent the past three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, helping Matt Ryan post the best numbers of his career since his 2016 MVP season. Other quarterbacks to work under Knapp include Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Michael Vick, and Peyton Manning.

The hire of Calabrese is a bit of a local affair, as the 30-year-old is a native of Islip Terrace on Long Island, spending two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Wagner. His prior job with the Denver Broncos in offensive quality control was his first in the NFL after his time with the local Seahawks. Calabrese was in fact a contender to start at quarterback during Denver’s issues with COVID-19 leading up to their Week 12 contest against New Orleans, as the team lost all of their regular throwers due to protocols. He previously worked as the quarterback at East Islip High School, taking the program to heights previously experienced under future NFL star and current WFAN personality Boomer Esiason.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags