The New York Jets confirmed Tuesday that they will have new coordinators in all three phases of the game next season, a striking change for a team that’s remained relatively steady in recent years.
Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff (above right ) has retired, and assistant Ben Kotwica has already been promoted to replace him. Westhoff spent the final 12 seasons of his brilliant 27-year NFL career with the Jets.
Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano (above left ) was one-and-done in his Jets tenure. He appeared to be in over his head as a first-year NFL coordinator, and the Jets will look to go in another direction.
That direction is expected to be a proven veteran offensive coordinator, something Rex Ryan has never been afforded in his four years as Jets head coach. He took responsibility for the hiring—and firing—of Sparano.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will not return either, in a mutual decision that will allow him to step out from Ryan’s shadow and make a name for himself elsewhere. He has already interviewed with the Buffalo Bills.
There have also been rumors that Pettine has been the anonymous source who’s been leaking unflattering remarks about the team over the past few seasons, and that could be a factor in the Jets deciding to let him walk away.
Nevertheless, the Jets are now officially searching for a new offensive and defensive coordinator. They are likely to hire a new general manager in the coming days, and coordinator interviews will begin soon after.
I think this is the best way to handle things, especially since Ryan is deservedly returning for a fifth season.
I don’t know what’s gone on behind the scenes with Pettine, but the Jets have very capable internal candidates to replace him and not miss a beat. Bob Sutton and Dennis Thurman are two names to keep an eye on.
As far as the offense goes, anybody with eyes could see that Sparano was not a good fit for the personnel the Jets had. Not many would be, quite frankly. But a veteran presence running the offense is definitely a big need.
The Jets needed to make changes, and they have. Once they have new leadership in place, the focus will turn to overhauling the personnel on offense and retooling the defense. It’s all part of the process.