When the rumors started surfacing that Jon Gruden would possibly be the next coach of the Oakland/soon to be Las Vegas Raiders Jets offensive coordinator John Morton’s name was tossed around as a potential candidate for Gruden to hire as his offensive coordinator. The Jets could have blocked any attempts by the Raiders to hire Morton since it would have only been a lateral move (and in reality it would have actually been a demotion since we all know Gruden will be handling the bulk of the actual responsibility as offensive coordinator), but reports were that the Jets wouldn’t block the move if that’s what Morton wanted.
Now Gruden has been officially hired as the Raiders new coach but Morton will return for his second year with the Jets since Gruden hired Greg Olson (the Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach, not the Panthers tight end) to be the Raiders “offensive coordinator” it would appear that Morton would continue as the Jets offensive coordinator. But the Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News is reporting that “Morton’s future with the team remains in doubt.”
The Jets offense finished 24th in scoring and 28th in overall offense which obviously isn’t anything to write home about, but considering Bryce Petty started the final three games of the season and Josh McCown started the first 13 games those numbers become almost impressive.
Morton certainly had his failures and was publicly criticized by running back Matt Forte for going away from the running game. Some weeks Morton’s play-calling seemed inspired, making excellent use of Air Raid concepts to make McCown’s job easier, but other weeks he couldn’t get the offense to do anything (think Tampa Bay and Denver as the most glaring examples).
The reports were that the Jets would be content to let Morton go to the Raiders because they would simply promote quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates to the position but according to Mehta Bates prefers to stay as the quarterbacks coach. Mehta also reports that while the Jets would prefer to promote from within the organization, they will consider hiring Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback coach John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinators. The Jets tried to interview DeFilippo last year, before hiring Morton, but the Eagles blocked the move at the time.
More important than who will actually be the offensive coordinator next season is what the decision about that will mean for the Jets quarterback plans going forward. If the Jets were to go the veteran route (whether it’s Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridewater or Tyron Taylor) then they’d likely feel more comfortable with keeping Morton. Morton himself has said that he’s “no quarterback guru,” but that wouldn’t be an issues with a veteran quarterback, if the Jets are determined to promote Bates or hire DeFilippo, who are both considered “quarterback gurus” then it would seem to imply that the Jets are planning to draft a rookie quarterback and they want to have someone in place to be tasked with developing the young quarterback.
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com. He cane reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)