Lack Of Coordination

By Kevin Newell
Jets Head Writer
January 7th, 2004
Gregg Williams chose Daniel Snyder and Joe Gibbs over Gang Green. (AP)
Gregg Williams chose Daniel Snyder and Joe Gibbs over Gang Green. (AP)
As an NFL head coach who likes to delegate authority, Herman Edwards entrusts his offensive and defensive coordinators dearly. Almost to a fault.

See Paul Hackett: who if not for one Chad Pennington, might be joining former Jets coach Joe Walton at Robert Morris U.

Such was the downfall of defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who was given the axe as a belated Christmas gift. In what was a weird marriage at the outset, Edwards and Cottrell’s defensive philosophies mixed like oil and water. Cottrell, a proponent of the 3-4, preferred the passive approach while Edwards’ relished the attacking style he was accustomed to as the assistant head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While Cottrell is clearly not the main reason for the defensive demise of the Jets – that being a major void in talent, youth, and speed – his results were nothing to write home about. And he took the fall.

Sure, the Jets allowed the eighth lowest points in the NFL. Big deal. The bottom line is they couldn’t stop anybody either by land or air. The Jets finished 28th against the run and 21st in yards allowed this season. The previous two seasons were not much better, struggling at the beginning of the season, only to finish with a late flurry. The Jets finished 18th vs the run in 2002.

Ironically, Cottrell was Edwards’ second choice when he became head coach in 2001. Here we go again.

The stunning news out of Washington, D.C. that Joe Gibbs will hire Gregg Williams as his defensive coordinator typifies that laissez-faire approach of the Jets organization as a whole. You never get a second chance at a first impression. Williams is the best coordinator candidate on the market. Now, he appears gone.

General Manager Terry Bradway is off getting a sunburn on his vacation while the foundation of the Jets is burning all around him. Can you say, Nero?

The Jets must now play the waiting game with Tampa Bay to see if they will allow Bucs’ assistant coach/defensive line coach Rod Marinelli to interview for the vacant defensive coordinator job. If the Jets luck continues, current Jets assistant GM Mike Tannenbaum will get the GM job in Tampa and keep Marinelli in place. Thus plucking another gem from Gang Green’s grasp.

If all else fails, the team will set its sites on Eagles linebackers coach Ron Rivera or Titans linebackers coach Gunther Cunningham.

That’s the thing with the Jets: they can never capitalize on Plan A. They always resort to Plan C, D, and E. Unlike the Canadian Mounted Police, they never get their man.

Whether Bradway and Edwards realize it – and based on Edwards’ poor clock management skills he doesn’t – time is of the essence.

The sooner they sign a defensive coordinator, the sooner so they can get on with the huge task of rebuilding the defense, which could have as many as five new starters plus John Abraham making the tricky transition from defensive end to strongside linebacker.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Only two timeouts left, Herm!

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