The 2012 Jets Coaching Staff
Friday, June 22, 2012 At 1:43PM Rich Wilhelm
The New York Jets are a team that drastically needs quality coaches to stay afloat in the Super Bowl chase. These coaches need to be able to adapt to the team’s needs and the players need to adjust to the way the coaches need them to play. Although many of the Jets coaches are the same from last year there is a sense that it is a brand new staff. Based on fan reaction thus far the staff in place seems to be holding up their side of the bargain and are eager to take the team to the next level. A team can have great players or great coaches, but it takes a combination of both to truly be elite in the NFL.
It is exciting to see a new coach have such an impact on returning coaches. In the Jets case it is new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano who is impacting Rex Ryan. It has been reported by numerous beat writers and websites that Rex Ryan is more involved this year with the offense than ever before. This is a factor that will affect the team positively. If your head coach is predominately coaching one side of the ball obviously one side will be greater than the other. If your head coach is spending equal time will players on both sides of the ball the team will be much more balanced. Tony Sparano as mentioned in my previous article is a breath of fresh air for the organization. He has the ability to be the authority figure and knock some sense into players that do not give 100% at all times. The best way to describe him is to say he is the Mike Westhoff of the offense. Any Jets fan who knows Mike knows exactly what that statement means. Bottom line is there will be no nonsense allowed, shape up or get cut.
The next new coach who many Jets fans are excited to have is defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. It is easy to coach a line that has Jared Allen, Pat Williams, and Kevin Williams but there is no denying that coaching had something to do with the success of those players. There is no way to tell if Coples or any other player currently on the Jets roster can be anywhere near the caliber of the players mentioned, but there is nothing but upside with this hiring. Under Dunbar the Vikings allowed the least amount of rushing yards (8,141) in six seasons. Having the ability to stop a team from rushing is a great thing especially when you have arguably the best cornerback tandem in the league. On top of allowing the least amount of rushing yards his defense also ranked sixth in the NFL in sacks with 242. If the Jets have the ability to stop a play before it starts the sky is the limit. Dunbar has a personal connection with Rex Ryan who was his position coach in 1994 when he was an Arizona Cardinal.
The Jets have a great group of wide receivers this year and also a new coach in Sanjay Lal. Lal was the wide receiver coach for the Oakland Raiders the past three seasons. Unlike Karl Dunbar, Lal did not have many toys to have fun with. The Raiders receiving core are fast and young, but none are at the Pro Bowl level that Dunbar’s players were. Along with Lal comes Chaz Schilens who has been impressive thus far for the Jets. Lal has openly come out and said he is impressed with Santonio Holmes and looks forward to improving the entire core. The Jets are dying for a vertical game and a receiver over 1,000 yards needs to happen this upcoming season. Doesn’t matter if it is Santonio Holmes or Stephen Hill, this feat needs to be accomplished. Hopefully with the addition of Sanjay Lal the Jets can make it a reality.
The last coach on the list is unlike the others. He was with the team last year but this year he has a more increased role. When a Jet fan thinks of who the most surprising player was last year their mind automatically goes to Aaron Maybin. His career was very much in question when he came to the Jets and many were unsure if he would even make the team. Who would have thought he would lead the team in sacks and forced fumbles? Also who would have thought he would have done this in only 13 games? A man by the name of Mike Smith did and is a coach that is on his way to great things. The past two years Smith has part of the team as a coaching intern and due to his impressive turnaround of Aaron Maybin he was promoted to outside linebackers coach. All coaches earn their jobs, but Smith has a very motivational story that fits perfectly with Maybin. They are a match made in heaven, helping each other on their road to success. Smith along with Dunbar need to teach their players how to get to the quarterback. His teachings went the extra mile for Maybin, now it time for the rest of the linebacker core to learn it.
The coaches listed above all bring something that the Jets desperately need. With Sparano you get the no nonsense attitude that Schottenheimer seemed to lack. If Santonio Holmes benches himself while under Sparano, expect him to stay on that bench for as long as Sparano wants him there. The team will also get back to the running game they seemed to abandon last year. This will keep Sanchez more fresh and hopefully improve his game. With Karl Dunbar you have a coach who knows how to get to the quarterback. Any Jets fans who watched a game last year or years prior can see that just did not happen. Add a weapon like Coples and a year of experience under Muhammad Wilkerson’s belt you instantly have something special. If one of these two men get double digit sacks it should solidify the hiring. Sanjay Lal is unproven based on the talent he had in Oakland. The Raiders receivers will be very good as time passes but in New York no one has time. If he does not improve the receivers this year the media and fans will have a field day with him. The core is improved all around so there is no reason why this would not happen. Lastly Mike Smith brings dedication, commitment, and a will to succeed. Anyone who can turn a professional athlete’s career completely around as an intern must be doing something special. Similar to Dunbar, if Smith has a player that has double digits sacks the hire was a good one. If Maybin is that player not only will the signing be justified it will also continue the Cinderella story between them. As the start of the regular season approaches there is nothing but positives in the new coaching staff. If the players can perform at the level they are expected to then the Jets will be a powerhouse in the NFL yet again.