Frank Bush will oversee the New York Jets’ defense over the final four games of this brutal season after Gregg Williams’ firing.
Frank Bush’s tenure as New York Jets defensive coordinator will likely be lost in One Jets Drive’s archives in an effort to purge the horrendous memories made from this season that emerged from the depths of the football netherworld.
A long-time NFL assistant, the 57-year-old Bush has the thankless and unenviable job of mustering something resembling football cohesion from the Jets’ defense over the final four weeks of the season. Bush has served as an assistant head coach and inside linebackers boss over two seasons with the team. He will now feature as the team’s defensive coordinator after Gregg Williams’ ousting in the wake of a highly questionable play call at the end of the Jets’ latest loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Bush’s tenure begins with the Jets’ visit to Seattle on Sunday afternoon (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).
Even if Bush’s time with the Jets (0-12) will be quickly erased shortly after the final second of the 2020-21 season ends, the longtime NFL veteran isn’t taking anything lightly. Contrary to the tanking efforts Jets fans have demanded over the final stretches, Bush wants to go all out and earn a win before this year lets out.
“We’re trying to put them in position to win,” Bush said of his players and the test ahead, per Randy Lange of NewYorkJets.com “So all the things have been set up to try to put these kids in position to be confident going on the road, into a tough environment, and confident knowing they have a chance to come out of this thing with a win.”
ESM has four facts to know about the Jets’ new defensive boss as his tenure is set to get underway…
His Promising Playering Career Was Cut Short
Bush originally entered the NFL in 1985 after a strong four-year career at North Carolina State. Chosen by the Houston Oilers in the fifth round, Bush earned three sacks and fumble recoveries each during his rookie season. He notably brought down John Elway twice in the Oilers’ October visit to Denver.
Unfortunately for Bush, his playing career was cut short by a narrow spinal canal diagnosis after starting the first three games of his sophomore season. But he wound making the most of the hand dealt to him, returning to Houston eight years later as the team’s quality control coach for two seasons. Ironically, he helped oversee the Houston linebackers with Williams, the man he will replace in New York.
“It opened some doors for me. It’s allowed me to be in the league for over 30 years,” Bush said in a 2018 reflection with The Palm Beach Post during his Miami days. “I’m not sure if that would have happened if I would have taken another path. I’ve made some great friends. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown up a lot. I always tell some of my players and some of my friends I’m kind of the epitome of the NFL: You try hard, keep doing what you’ve got to do and you’ll have a long career.”
He Has Collaborated With Adam Gase Before
It made perfect sense that Bush would get the nod to oversee the defense over the final four games. Not only is he the most tenured coach on the Jets’ ledger, but he and Gase collaborated for two seasons in Miami prior to their New York arrivals. Bush served as the linebackers coach for two seasons. Among his proteges were Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan.
Gase said this week that he knows Bush’s long-accumulated expertise will help when dealing with this tough situation the Jets face in the final quarter of the season.
“Frank has been in this league for a long time, he’s done this job before. That side of the ball, they’re really well organized as far as who does what,” Gase said in notes provided by the Jets. “They had to make a couple adjustments as far as job duties and things like that, but I’m going to do whatever they need me to do to help them. We talked about that early on in the week. There are a couple things that we just talked about possibly doing and playing certain guys, and making sure that we have certain guys playing in certain spots and that’s about the extent of that right now. I mean, whatever I can do to help that side of the ball I’m going to do.”
In another ironic connection, Bush has a special connection to the head coach on the other sidelines as well. Seattle boss Pete Carroll served as the North Carolina State defensive coordinator on Monte Kiffin’s staff during Bush’s freshman and sophomore seasons.
He Has Won the Super Bowl…Twice
The Super Bowl should be the farthest things from the minds of Jets fans, but Bush is a rare New York representative that knows that championship feeling.
Bush was the staff of the Denver Broncos during their run at back-to-back Super Bowls at the turn of the century. The unit was headlined by Bill Romanowski and John Mobley, who united to lead the champion Broncos in sacks over their two victorious seasons. His group, joined by Glenn Cadrez, led Denver in tackles over those fateful campaigns.
“Mike and all those guys in Denver, they’re really close to us. I really have a lot of friendships up there,” Bush, then with the Houston Texans, said while recalling his time with Denver on the former’s website in 2007. “They have a very high standard on how they do things and we’re trying to push that standard here.”
In addition to his time with Denver, New York, Miami, and both Houston franchises, Bush has also served in Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams’ organizations.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags