It’s officially the dog days of summer. Offseason training activities are over, hockey and basketball have reached their respective offseasons, and major league baseball just had its mid-season All Star Game. With the start of NFL training camps still a few days away, there isn’t much going on in the sports world right now. And so, what better time to examine the New York Jets coaching changes. Since none are household names in the coaching world, what can Jets fans expect? Let’s take a look.
What to Expect from Recent New York Jets Coaching Changes
New Offensive Coordinator: John Morton
The New York Jets biggest coaching change this offseason was at offensive coordinator. The position opened when Chan Gailey retired after two pedestrian seasons calling the plays. The Jets’ roster is largely devoid of talent, most prominently at quarterback, and so this wasn’t the most sought after coaching job. But with their fifth offensive coordinator in the past seven years, the Jets may have landed a good one.
John Morton was a marginal receiver over five seasons in the NFL. After calling it a career, Morton caught on as a receivers coach on Jim Harbaugh‘s staff at the University of San Diego. And in 2011, when Harbaugh landed the head coaching gig with the San Francisco 49ers, he brought Morton with him. There, Morton coached the best statistical seasons of Anquan Boldin‘s career. Three years later, Sean Payton hired Morton to coach the New Orleans Saints’ receivers. Last season, under Morton’s tutelage, Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, and Willie Snead combined for 242 receptions, 3,205 yards, and 21 touchdowns. But don’t expect that kind of output from Jets receivers this year. It’s a young and inexperienced group, and they don’t have a Drew Brees throwing them the ball. But the point is: John Morton can coach.
While Morton has never been a coordinator at this level, he did call plays for the USC offense under Pete Carroll in 2009. There, Morton also worked with current Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates, which should make his Jets transition that much easier. Morton brings an aggressive, West Coast-style offense with a heavy emphasis on the passing game. Expect plenty of throws to Matt Forte out of the backfield. And, Morton has an affinity for the tight end position, which bodes well for Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jordan Leggett.
Ultimately, a coach’s success is directly tied to the level of talent with which he has to work. The Jets are largely devoid of offensive talent. But, the team is embarking on a rebuild, and Morton’s philosophy and approach will be a welcome change from the laid-back conservatism Chan Gailey employed.
New Linebackers Coach: Kevin Greene
One area of weakness in the last few years has been the Jets pass rush. Indeed, the Jets have struggled to get to the quarterback, especially from the around the edges. We recently highlighted Lorenzo Mauldin‘s re-dedication to rushing the passer, and now he’s got a Hall of Famer barking in his ear.
Kevin Greene was a monster on the field, and now he’s one on the sidelines. Some might remember Greene for his stellar career, ten seasons with double digit sacks, five of them with fifteen or more. Others might remember Greene for his foray into the world of professional wrestling. Whatever the case, Greene hasn’t lost his passion for the game.
Greene began his coaching career with the Green Bay Packers in 2009. There, he helped mold Clay Matthews into a quarterback’s nightmare. Greene worked with Green Bay’s linebackers for four years before stepping away to help raise his kids. But now he’s back, and any questions about his fire were answered on the first day of OTAs. After a mistake, Greene took a garbage can being used as a prop and threw it.
Obviously, the Jets need more from him than throwing garbage around. But anyone who watched Kevin Greene play football knows his extreme intensity level. And that kind of approach will only help a young and inexperienced linebacking corps. There’s some good young talent on this Jets roster, such as Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins, and Lorenzo Mauldin. What Greene did with Clay Matthews was special; it will be interesting to see what he does with this group.
The New York Jets coaching changes include several other assistants, but none as significant as Morton, or as illustrious as Greene. Head coach, Todd Bowles, is a quiet and passive coach. But this time, he’s gone against his own grain and hired a couple of aggressive, fiery, and outspoken assistants. And that’s why these moves are intriguing. Because they just might be what the Jets need to jump start the rebuild.
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