UPDATE: Todd Bowles will become the new head coach of the New York Jets. Below is our take on the search.
By Brad Carroll
The New York Jets finally hired a general manager, with the long-awaited announcement of Mike Maccagnan as the new man in charge of the team coming Tuesday night. With Maccagnan in place, the Jets can truly turn their focus to not only interviewing prospective head coaches, but coming to a decision on who will take over for the fired Rex Ryan, who just happens to already have another job, in the same division, with the Buffalo Bills.
While hiring a general manager was the first and most important piece to the offseason puzzle, the attention now turns completely to hiring a new head coach. For a job that has been open for a little over two weeks now, there doesn't appear to be much headway in figuring out just who will be the team's leader on the field and in the locker room.
For those still scratching your head trying to figure out the good candidates from the bad, the favorites from the underdogs, to those gaining momentum and losing it, here is a rundown of the coaches that still appear to be on the team's short list of head coach candidates.
Dan Quinn, Seahawks defensive coordinator
Just this weekend, it looked like Quinn was going to be the Jets choice as head coach. He reportedly interviewed very well with the Jets during the Seahawks' playoff bye week and appeared to be very interested in the job, as opposed to the many he is a candidate for. But a couple of road blocks have appeared to make Quinn-to-the-Jets a question mark. First, Quinn can't be hired until after the Seahawks are eliminated from the playoffs, or until after the Super Bowl, whichever comes first. That means the Jets could have to wait to February 2 to name Quinn coach. That is a long way away. Second, there is the fact the Broncos job has opened up, with the surprise Monday firing of John Fox, and that Quinn would be in line for at least an interview with general manager John Elway and company. The Broncos job would be extremely attractive to Quinn, or any candidate for that matter. Quinn could be a good choice for the Broncos, too, as he would bring his defensive background to a team that already has plenty of offense. So, if the Jets wait on Quinn, and watch the other top coaching candidates get snatched up, they could be left with a third or fourth or worse choice to lead their team. That would obviously be a disaster. Quinn is from New Jersey and was a former coach with the Jets, and his reported choice of Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator is inspiring, but anything can happen from now until, likely, February 2. It's why the next candidate on this list could become the new Jets head coach rather quickly.
Todd Bowles, Cardinals defensive coordinator
He will have his second interview with the Jets' brass Tuesday night, including the new general manager, and could impress the group enough not to let him leave for a second interview with the Falcons, which he is scheduled to have after he meets with the Jets. Bowles, like Quinn, is a highly-regarded defensive coordinator, turning the Cardinals into one of the best defensive units in football. Unlike Quinn, Bowles could be hired immediately if the Jets wanted to, and could get a huge jump in putting together a coaching staff. While Bowles seemingly has everything you would want in an up-and-coming head coach candidate, his reported interest in having Chan Gailey as offensive coordinator should raise serious red flags. Gailey hasn't been in the league in two years, and when he was, he wasn't exactly putting together offensive juggernauts. If the Jets are smart, they would grill him about potential coordinators, mainly on offense, and go from there. Quinn was the favorite recently, but Bowles has worked his way into at least co-favorite status right now.
Sean McDermott, Panthers defensive coordinator
The Jets are the only team that appears to be bringing McDermott in for an interview, which is scheduled for Wednesday. McDermott was recently added to the coaching candidates list, so he could just be a fall-back option if disaster strikes and the Jets lose out on both Quinn and Bowles.
Doug Marrone, former Bills head coach
In the immediate days following Marrone's decision to quit as head coach of the Bills, opting out of his contract with a cool $4 million in his pocket, it appeared the Jets were ready to pounce and make him their new head coach. But just as quick as he become a hot candidate for the Jets job, a ton of negative press came out from Buffalo that made Marrone look horrible, worse even than his mediocre coaching career with the Bills and Syracuse before that. While some reports may be true and some not, Marrone came off as way too sensitive, something that wouldn't fly in New York. He also reportedly had a bad interview with the Jets, and went from the odds-on favorite to a guy that has little to no shot of getting the job. Jets fans, you should be very happy about that, as Marrone would have been a disaster as a head coach in New York. Luckily, everyone got to see quickly what kind of coach Marrone really was in Buffalo. Now, Marrone may have quit an NFL head coaching job and be left with nothing this coming season.
Tom Cable, Seahawks offensive line coach
He interviewed with the Jets during Seattle's bye week, but there is no way he will get the head coach job. And if he does, the Jets have made a tremendous blunder.
So, who gets the job? Quinn looks like the best candidate of them all, with Bowles a second choice. If the Jets can work off the grid and get a answer from Quinn, in theory of course, that he would take the job after the Seahawks season is over, then they should wait. But if they can't get a vibe one way or another, the Jets might be forced to go with Bowles, who would be a solid choice, but possibly not the guy they wanted. That could be a bad way to start a new era of Jets football.