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Rex Ryan has been there. Last year he was a candidate to move up from defensive coordinator to head coach in Baltimore; that didn’t happen, but John Harbaugh kept Ryan around and essentially gave him carte blanche with the defense.
So when Ryan was named the Jets’ head coach over a list of candidates that included OC Brian Schottenheimer…
“If anybody has gone through what Brian has, I know the disappointment he’s feeling by not getting this job,” Ryan told the Associated Press.
Ultimately, Ryan convinced Schottenheimer to stay as Gang Green’s OC; he also kept another head coaching finalist, Bill Callahan, as the Jets’ offensive line coach. And with Ryan’s forte being the defensive side of the ball, he’ll be giving his offensive assistants plenty of leeway.
“I’ve got Bill Callahan,” Ryan told ESPN. “He’s done everything in this league as an assistant coach and almost won it all as a head coach. He’s seen a lot of huddles broke in his day. I’ll lean on him and I’ll lean on Brian Schottenheimer. Here’s a guy that’s going to be a head coach next year anyway.”
Offensive continuity certainly isn’t a bad thing, especially with the Jets coming off the third-highest point total in franchise history. But heading into 2008 Schottenheimer was forced to rein in the offense to accommodate late-arriving quarterback Brett Favre, and the Gunslinger won’t be back in Gotham this fall.
Thus, the more indicative numbers of what Schottenheimer has in store for the Jets might come from his two pre-Favre seasons. While the running game wasn’t as effective, with two sub-4.0 ypc campaigns, it wasn’t for lack of trying. The Jets ran 446 times (46.5% of their offensive plays) in 2007 and 491 times (50.1%) in 2006. If the Jets’ 4.7 yards per carry from a year ago is attributable more to the improved offensive line than to defenses respecting Farve’s arm, Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are both in line for repeats of last year’s productive campaigns.
The success of the passing game lies more with who emerges from the quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens than Schottenheimer’s schemes. Even when Laveranues Coles ran alongside Jerricho Cotchery the Jets couldn’t crack the top 10 in fantasy scoring at the wide receiver position, and Gang Green quarterbacks have averaged less than seven yards per attempt in each of Schottenheimer’s three seasons at the helm. Jets tight ends ranked 26th in each of Schottenheimer’s first two campaigns; last year’s jump to 16th is a combination of Favre’s affinity for the position and the Jets’ addition of Dustin Keller.
No matter which quarterback claims the Jets’ job, this is still a passing offense predicated on the short game; that bodes well for Washington and perhaps Keller, though it hardly suggests that Cotchery should expect a spike in numbers.
Ryan predicts that next year the Jets will be looking for a new coordinator; for now, at least, the return of Schottenheimer gives us a decent idea of what to expect from Gang Green. And if Sanchez and/or Clemens provide adequate quarterback play, there is fantasy help to be found on the Jets’ roster.