There is no way around it, the New York Jets were flat out embarrassed on their home field by the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
For those listening to the broadcast, sideline reporter Jay Feely said it best: the team was lifeless through warmups, lifeless on the sideline and that ultimately led to what happened on the field.
This should come as a surprise to no one. This is the Todd Bowles era.
Since a debut season with a veteran team where they went 10-6, the Jets have gone 13-29. The in-game mistakes remain: sloppy penalties, thoughtless turnovers, zero halftime adjustments and the aggression of a turtle crossing the street.
It’s time to start looking towards the future (which is unfortunately a very familiar saying in the Jets community). Here are the early top candidates I would look to target.
The Bold Move: Iowa State’s Matt Campbell
Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley has been the big name mentioned all season as a college coach that is young (35 years old) and an offensive innovator that would be perfect to work with a franchise quarterback.
The issue is, from everything I’ve heard, it’s beyond a long shot that Riley leaves Oklahoma for a situation like New York. If he does make the jump to the pros the Dallas Cowboys are the much more likely scenario.
Now with that being said, Riley isn’t the only promising coach in the college ranks that will get calls and interviews this upcoming offseason.
Enter Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, who has already been connected as a potential hire for the Cleveland Browns. The 38 year old was 35-15 at Toledo before moving on to Iowa State, where he’s put the Cyclones program on the map.
After a tough first season where they went 3-9 under him (college coaches rarely succeed in year one as they have none of their recruits for the new system they are implementing), he’s 14-8 since.
What stands out most is his ability to develop lower level recruits in comparison to the power house programs and more importantly get his team to play at an extremely high level of discipline.
If you’re too lazy to click that link (it’s okay) it shows in 2017 Iowa State was 1st in the nation in fewest fumbles lost, 2nd in the nation in turnovers surrendered and 14th fewest in penalties committed. Campbell won Big-12 coach of the year that season.
During Patrick Mahomes final season at Texas Tech (2016) he only had one game where he did not throw more touchdowns than interceptions. That was against Matt Campbell’s Cyclones where he was held to 219 passing yards, 50 percent completion rate and only one touchdown with two interceptions.
To put things in perspective, Mahomes averaged a laughable 421 passing yards and nearly 4.5 total touchdowns per game that season.
For the Jets, the key with hiring Campbell would be to get the most out of Sam Darnold. His balanced attack would not only supplement the pass game, but also open things up for the young signal caller. While coaching relatively unknown quarterbacks, he’s gotten tremendous and efficient production out of them.
This would be a swing for the fences hire, but after leaning on defensive coordinators over the years to make the jump, it’s time to try something different. Pulling a young, offensive mind in Matt Campbell that has resurrected two programs in this decade gets my vote.
Around The League Options
While this normally is far from an exciting lane, business picked up this weekend as John Harbaugh may be out in Baltimore at the end of the season.
I’ve heard light rumblings of this about both him and Packers coach Mike McCarthy as they could be facing a ‘playoffs or bust’ ultimatum. The latter would be pretty low on my list for the Jets, but Harbaugh on the other hand would be near the top.
This is an experienced, big game NFL coach who not only has a Super Bowl victory on his resume, but a tremendous record over time. For as great as legendary of a career that Ozzie Newsome has had, the rosters Harbaugh has worked with in recent years have fallen off a bit. Most notably, quarterback Joe Flacco has not been the same player since that Lombardi Trophy.
Even with the decline of the franchise quarterback, Baltimore has ranked 10th in scoring in the Harbaugh era. Letting him go is not as much of an indictment on him as a coach as it is the Ravens looking to go in a new direction as the Lamar Jackson era begins. He will be a high in demand name that won’t be without a head coaching job very long.
The Jets should be ultra aggressive if that time comes.