The 2020 NFL season has finally come to a close, as this season was a rough one for the New York Jets and their fans. The Jets finished 2-14, leading to the firing of head coach Adam Gase following the final game of the season. The disastrous tenure of Adam Gase being a head coach of the Jets has finally come to an end.
The Jets own the #2 pick in the 2021 draft, and the Jets are a somewhat attractive coaching destination. General Manager Joe Douglas will also be the head of the head coaching search instead of owner Christopher Johnson. New York already put in requests to interview several candidates, so who are the top five candidates for the Jets head coaching job?
#5- Arthur Smith
Arthur Smith is currently the offensive coordinator for the Tennesee Titans, a job he has had for the last two seasons. He has really been a bit of a miracle worker in Tennesee, as he has been utilizing players such as Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to their full potential. The Titans offense has really become one of the league’s best, mostly in part to Smith.
For the 2020 season, the Titans offense ranked third in the NFL with 6,343 yards on the year, tied with the Buffalo Bills. Arthur Smith has taken a former Adam Gase product in Tannehill to the next level. Smith has no head coaching experience in the NFL, but he has been in the NFL for 15 seasons, including 13 with Tennesee. Smith should be a top candidate on the Jets board as he has done a fantastic job with the Titans’ offense over the last two seasons.
#4- Brian Daboll
Brian Daboll is another offensive coordinator that the Jets have requested an interview with. Daboll has really turned Josh Allen into a top quarterback in the NFL and 2020 MVP candidate. Many teams looking for a head coach have taken note of this. Daboll has a really solid resume as he worked with the Patriots and Bill Belichick for a total of ten seasons over two stints, and he won the College Football National Championship with Nick Saban and Alabama in 2017 as co-offensive coordinator. He also worked as the Jets quarterbacks coach under Eric Mangini and company back in 2007 and 2008. So it’s safe to say he has tons of NFL experience, just none as a head coach.
Many questions arise with Daboll though. Some may say Josh Allen’s success in 2020 has been attributed to the really talented Bills wide receivers, including the addition of Stefon Diggs via trade last offseason. The Jets wide receiver core is a bit of an issue, but with more development of Denzel Mims and a draft and free agency addition, things can improve a lot. After seeing what Daboll was able to accomplish with Josh Allen, the Jets should definitely consider Daboll especially if New York drafts a new quarterback.
#3- Pat Fitzgerald
Earlier in the season, it was reported that the Jets had an interest in Fitzgerald and that the organization was doing their research on him. Pat Fitzgerald has become reputable for being a very smart head coach, as he turned the Northwestern football program around since his arrival in 2005. Throughout his tenure, he has led the Wildcats to a 105-81 record. This includes four seasons ranked in the CFB top 25.
Fitzgerald is known as a culture builder. He has rebuilt the Northwestern football program from the ashes since he arrived at the school. He has gained much interest from NFL teams over the past couple of seasons. In order to land him, it would most likely take a very attractive destination. The Jets currently have the second-most cap space in the NFL and possess the second overall draft pick. Fitzgerald has the head coaching experience and the leadership to make the culture change the Jets badly need. This would be a great hire for the Jets if Joe Douglas could lure him in.
#2- Eric Bieniemy
The Jets, Lions, and Falcons have already requested an interview with Eric Bieniemy. Bieniemy is currently the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. New York interviewed Bieniemy back in 2019, but they were a little skeptical due to his lack of play calling at the time. Bieniemy has been the Chiefs offensive coordinator since 2018 and was their running backs coach from 2013-17. All the teams he interviewed within 2019 did not end up hiring him. There are a few mixed feelings considering Andy Reid calls the plays for the Chiefs offense
It is also noted that many now head coaches came from Andy Reid’s staff in the past. Doug Pederson, Ron Rivera, and Sean McDermott to be specific. These coaches have had much success in the NFL. Through the years under Andy Reid, Bieniemy has been shown how to build a winning organization. Bieniemy could take the Jets’ offense to the next level, and this has the potential to be a great hire.
#1- Matt Campbell
A name that has been on the top of the head coaching candidate list for many Jets fans is Matt Campbell. Campbell is the head coach of Iowa State and he has turned them into a respectable program since his 2015 arrival. He has won Big-12 coach of the year twice as well. The Jets requested to interview Campbell back in 2019, but would he decline an offer again?
Campbell would be entering a totally different situation compared to 2019. The Jets have tons of cap space and very good draft picks in the upcoming draft, so Campbell would be walking into a better situation. Campbell is also known to be a leader and a culture changer, just watch this speech to see what I am talking about.
Greatness is a choice.
— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) January 3, 2021
That is something the Jets badly need. A winning culture built in the organization and a team and the fans can be proud of. I would love it if the Jets hire Campbell and I hope he accepts an interview if the Jets offer.
I would not mind any of these candidates being hired. They all have their strong suits, and the Jets need to learn from the last hiring disaster with Gase. These are all candidates who could help change the culture of the franchise into a winning one. The Jets have many picks and cap room to help turn around the franchise, and going in the right direction all starts with hiring the right guy to steer the ship going forward.