New York Jets: Breaking down 3 confirmed head coaching candidates (part 2)

In the first part of the New York Jets’ confirmed coaching target breakdowns, I highlighted some of the top offensive coordinators reportedly being targeted for the job. This time, here are the three rumored defensive coordinator candidates and what they bring to the table.

Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis Colts Defensive Coordinator

Matt Eberflus is a rising coaching candidate in the league, and for good reason. The well-traveled coach began his coaching career as a student assistant at Toledo in 1992, he then spent eight years coaching at Toledo, holding the positions of graduate assistant, recruiting coordinator, outside linebackers coach, and defensive backs coach. Due to his success at Toledo, Eberflus was named defensive coordinator of Missouri in 2001, where he coached until 2008. He then signed on for two seasons as the linebackers coach of the Browns before he entered into the most crucial years in his coaching development. From 2011 to 2015, Eberflus coached under Rod Marinelli, super bowl champion coach. Marinelli taught Eberflus the Tampa 2 style defense, which has proved to be his staying power since then. Marinelli mentored Eberflus and developed him into a disciple, which led to him ultimately landing his current gig.

Eberflus was initially brought on to the Colts staff by the short-lived coach, Josh McDaniels. When he decided to return to New England and Frank Reich was hired, the team looked to Marinelli for his advisement on someone who could instill the Tampa 2 defense in Indy, and he let them know that guy was already on the staff. So, Eberflus kept his job, and in the time since, he has become an esteemed coach. The Indy defense has become a top one in all of football, but the way Eberflus has gotten the most out of his players is the true shining piece of his resume. Darius Leonard was not supposed to be a star in this league, he was out for most of his rookie camp, and he was a little known second-rounder. Now, Leonard is one of the best linebackers in football. The team also acquired Deforest Buckner this offseason, and he has had a monster season in the defense.

Eberflus’ only indictment is that he may not be that CEO type coach rumored to be the target. Eberflus does not have experience as a head coach, and just like most coordinators, there is no hardcore proof he could have success. Still, Eberflus is well connected in the league and could likely build a good staff and be a good leader. Eberflus is a true wildcard candidate; depending on his staff, he could be a solid hire.

Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Rams Defensive Coordinator

A year ago, Brandon Staley was a rather unknown coach, now, he has a shot to be a head coach rather quickly. Staley has bounced around the college ranks, starting in 2006 at Northern Illinois. From there, Staley went to various schools including, St. Thomas, Hutchinson Community, and Tennessee. Then, Staley got his shot as a D3 defensive coordinator at John Carrol University. From there, he went to James Madison and back to John Carrol. Then, he drew the eye of Vic Fangio and had been on his staff in both Chicago and Denver before getting his shot as a defensive coordinator this season in Los Angeles.

Brandon Staley succeeded esteemed defensive coordinator Wade Phillips after his retirement last season. He inherited a defense with two of the best players in the NFL, Jalen Ramsey, and Aaron Donald. Donald brings a ferocious ability to get into the backfield unmatched by anyone in the league. Ramsey is one of the best lockdown corners in the game and didn’t have a single game this season where he allowed more than 20 yards. Despite that, the talent they had was present in both Phillip’s time and Staley’s. So, in analyzing their defensive jump from the middle of the league to first, that makes what Staley was able to do all the more impressive.

Staley has earned quite a reputation quickly. He has drawn comparisons to the man that hired him, Sean McVay, and been labeled as the defensive carbon copy. Staley would be the younger, more flashier hire than Eberflus, but both are unproven. Staley has not been in the league long, meaning his staff hires could leave something to be desired. Staley is a bold choice, but the Jets have gone the successful defensive coordinator route once in the past 8 years, and it didn’t bode well, will they make the same choice again?

Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator

Robert Saleh is a football guy. The former college tight end began his coaching career in 2002 with Michigan State. He then coached at Central Michigan and Georgia before going to the pros. Then, in 2005, Saleh was hired as an intern with the Texans, and he climbed through the ranks to the position of assistant linebackers coach before heading to Seattle. In Seattle, Saleh got to learn under Pete Carroll and coach on a Super Bowl championship-winning staff. Saleh coached there until receiving a shot to coach the linebackers in Jacksonville, where they had a large amount of success in his time there. His success across the board drew enough attention from Kyle Shanahan to earn him the defensive coordinator job in 2017. Since then, Saleh has become a household name.

Last season, the San Francisco 49ers went to the Super Bowl behind one of the most talented defensive lines I have seen in the past decade. Their defense was ranked in the top tier of the league overall, and although they were unable to pull off a win in the big game, they still showed major growth in 2019. This set them up as one of the most heavily feared defenses heading into this season, but when Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, Javon Kinlaw, and Kwon Alexander are among the big names who missed multiple games, if not the entire season. The team was banged up but still managed to finish as a top defenses again, taking only a small step back.

Robert Saleh is that CEO type of coach Joe Douglas should target. Saleh is the middle ground of Staley and Eberflus. He has the connections of Eberflus and the youth of Staley. Saleh brings juice and energy to the defense. One rumored connection is with Mike McDaniel, a rising offensive mind in San Francisco, who some believe could follow him as an OC wherever he choses to go. He is so intense that he runs the stadium stairs in order to get mentally prepared before games. Saleh is a fantastic coach and near the top of my board for prospective coaches. Saleh is a hot commodity, though, and there is a hometown connection with the Lions that could prove to be too much for the Jets to overcome.

New York Jets Head Coaching Candidates: Joe Brady

New York Jets, Joe Brady

With the New York Jets now sitting at an 0-11 record with only five games to go, it is apparent the team needs a change of pace. That is likely to come in the form of a. Full-scale rebuild, starting with the coaching staff. As the team will likely move quickly with their coaching search, I decided to take an individual deep dive into some of the guys who could lead the New York Jets into the next era. This begins with Carolina Panthers Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady.

Who is Joe Brady?

Joe Brady was born in 1989 in Miami Lakes, Florida. Brady played wide receiver in high school and earned an opportunity to play College Football at Willam & Mary. After a college playing career there, Brady begins his coaching career as a Linebackers coach before becoming a grad assistant at Penn State. Then, Brady got an opportunity of a lifetime to serve under Sean Payton as an Offensive Assistant. Payton saw a lot of potential with Brady, but when he took a gamble on heading to the college level under coach Ed Orgeron at LSU, Payton thought he was making a mistake.

Looking back, that chance Coach O took on Brady, and he took on a young and hungry LSU paid off immensely. When Coach O handed Brady the keys to the LSU offense, he revamped it and took it from the 38th ranked offense in the country to the 1st ranked offense in the country in just one season.

The offense was so explosive that they were able to roll over competition on the way to their National Championship. Along with that, he was crucial in the development of now Bengals starting quarterback Joe Burrow. In Burrow’s Heisman campaign, he had a 76.3 completion percentage that produced a line of 5,671 yds, 60 TDs, and 6 INTs. Not only was the passing attack spectacular, the rushing attack was spectacular. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 1,414 yards and 16 scores, which only led him to be a first-rounder.

While on the topic of talent, I would be remiss without mentioning all the NFL Draft picks that came from last year’s offense and have excelled at the next level. Arguably the top rookie QB, RB, and WR are all LSU products. Now, this begged the question of how would Brady translate to the NFL, and he has answered that with emphatic success.

Joe Brady in the NFL

When Matt Rhule, a guy the Jets were heavily interested in before Adam Gase jumped from the college ranks to Carolina, he brought rising star Joe Brady with him. Brady has not disappointed. Brady inherited an offense ranked 27th in all of football in 2019 and has brought them to the 7th best offense in the NFL in only 10 games. With 6 games to go along with the impending return of Christian McCaffery, that ranking can only improve.

With McCaffery out, though, the offense has still hummed along perfectly fine. Guys like Curtis Samuel and Mike Davis have stood out in a big way, along with an impressive season from former Jets receiver Robby Anderson. The offense is innovative and unique, and the success he received at LSU has absolutely translated seamlessly to the next level. With a talent group that isn’t even on par with what it could be, Brady has built a resume capable of being a head coach, and at 31 years old, he would be a fresh, innovative hire, but why the Jets?

Why would he be a good fit?

The Jets have tried everything in the past few years. Todd Bowles was a discipline heavy defensive coordinator who was supposed to carry over the hard work culture built under Rex Ryan. Bowles failed to get on the same page with the management and could not gain control over the locker room after a strong first season. Then the Jets hired Adam Gase. This was a hire that was not received well, but fans set out to give him the benefit of the doubt. He has been absolutely awful, and the coach who was supposed to bring a head coaching background has only brought incompetence.

Joe Brady would be the anti-Bowles/Gase hire. He is a fresh, innovative mind along the lines of Sean McVay and Kyle Shannahan and would immediately revitalize the franchise. Not only that, but with 98 million dollars in cap space, a renowned general manager in Joe Douglas, and a plethora of draft capital, the resources are there to build a competitive team that would work around Brady’s strengths. Not only that but pairing Trevor Lawerence and Joe Brady is the kind of tandem that excites everyone repping the Green and White.

Brady would be the best offensive-minded coach the Jets could grab, but is he a leader? Brady is 31 years old and inexperienced. If Brady can step up and show he is capable of being a leader in the interviews, he could be the easy favorite to be the coach. However, if he does not seem like a guy who could instill a winning culture in New York and mentor Trevor Lawerence, then maybe he is not the right hire. With that said, I firmly believe Brady deserves and should be the next head coach of the New York Jets.