Saturday, January 10, 2009

Down to three candidates?

Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that the top three candidates for head coach are Rex Ryan, Steve Spagnuolo, and our very own Brian Schottenheimer.

Cimini reported the same three last night, with Spagnuolo as his early favorite.

It definitely appears like it's going to come down to those three. Grimm, Jagodzinski, Meeks, and Callahan also have shots, and Mike Shanahan can always come back into play after his vacation is over. There is still no interview scheduled for Brian Billick, so he's not a serious candidate as of yet.

Mike Lombardi of also reports that the Jets looked at former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh, brother of Ravens' coach John, over the weekend. They met with Russ Grimm in Phoenix on Thursday. When they were done, they flew further west to visit Harbaugh, who is currently the head coach at Stanford.

You might ask yourself why the Jets would have interest in the head coach of a team that hasn't been to a bowl since 2001? Yes, Harbaugh is just 9-15 as their coach, but under the circumstances, he's turned heads with how well he's done.

It's very difficult to recruit at Stanford with the academic standards in place. He was also left with an empty cupboard talent-wise, and he's done a very good job turning the program around. He probably isn't experienced enough to get the job, but he's a rising young star in the coaching community, and the Jets have some interest.

If I were asked right now, Saturday afternoon, who I think the next Jets coach is, I'm predicting Brian Schottenheimer. Mortensen and Cimini both report that some people in the organization feel he is going to be a good head coach someday, and they shouldn't let him go.

He is young, smart and has good bloodlines. If the Jets are remotely serious about bringing Brett Favre back, keeping Schottenheimer would bring continuity to the offense, making him the most viable candidate in that scenario.

From what I'm reading and hearing, the Jets really like Schottenheimer, but they understand how much that hiring him might upset the fanbase, and they have to know that it could put him at a disadvantage.

But if they truly think he's the best coach, I think that has to take precedence over everything. I still trust Mike Tannenbaum, and I like the direction the team was going in, late-season collapse, notwithstanding. Keeping continuity with the team, but giving a new young voice a chance to lead is a promising option.

Then the question becomes is Schottenheimer qualified enough? That's something I can't answer. I didn't mind the offense, but I wasn't a fan of his playcalling for much of the season. As a head coach, he'd be more involved with formulating a gameplan and leading both sides of the ball.

If Schottenheimer were head coach with a competent new offensive coordinator and a new, more aggressive defensive coordinator, I wouldn't complain too much. The idea is growing on me. After all, the offense was very successful on the first drive of each game when the plays were scripted. Getting him more involved in the overall gameplan, and less involved in calling individual plays might make a lot of sense.

There's your case for Schotty Jr. Ryan and Spagnuolo are still very much in play, however, and we'll know more about Ryan after he interviews.

*One more note of interest: Leon Washington was named to the AFC all-pro squad as kick returner. Alan Faneca and Kris Jenkins were 2nd teamers. Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, and Tony Richardson also received votes. Click here to see the entire voting breakdown.

*Also, I pick Titans -3 today in what should be a great, low-scoring game. A Titan player said of the last game, "The first game was a fight with a little football sprinkled in." I know the game started already, but I had liked Tennessee all week, just never posted it. 10:32 to go in the 1st, both teams have punted, so nothing has happened yet.

UPDATE (6:39): A poster on named Merenguito says that the job is Spagnuolo's if he wants it. I have no idea what the credibility of this poster is, but here is what he has to say.

I was told by a pretty good source yesterday that the Jets will hire Spags if he wants the job as soon as the the Giants season ends.

Basically that the job is his if he wants it but it cant be announced for obvious reasons until the Giants end their season. All of the interviews your hearing about lately are smoke screens. Spags impressed Woody and Tanny enough for them to say he is their guy.

I know this sounds cheap and I have no link or whatever but when I tell you my source is legit..its legit. Also, ive never been one to talk out of my ass here anyway.

Personally, I guess im happy if we indeed sign him.

Take it with a grain of salt because who knows with message boards, but I just thought I'd pass that along.

UPDATE (8:36 PM):
I think the Cardinals are going to get slaughtered. I laid the 10 (forgot to post it again, stupid me, I'll try to get tomorrow's picks up before the games tomorrow. I will say right now that I like the Giants. Eagles aren't that good, and the Giants are rested.

UPDATE (9:05 PM): Love how as soon as I type that, the Cardinals score 14 unanswered. Then Delhomme makes a dumb throw and the Cardinals are in business. Wow. I'm rooting for the Cards, but I'm pretty surprised so far.

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