Jets fans spent months (some spent years) anticipating the firing of Todd Bowles. They had grown tired of watching the Jets lose, committing boneheaded penalties as the stoic Bowles stood on the sideline.
Those fans got what they wanted Sunday night when Jets CEO Christopher Johnson axed Bowles. But now the reality is setting in that there is no slam-dunk candidate out there to replace him.
The list of candidates for the Jets job so far is about as exciting as doing a load of laundry.
You have the retreads: Mike McCarthy, Jim Caldwell and Adam Gase.
You have the unproven assistants: Eric Bieniemy, Kris Richard and Todd Monken.
You have the wild card: Kliff Kingsbury.
There could be more names that have not surfaced yet. Baylor coach Matt Rhule is popular in NFL circles, and it would make sense if his candidacy were kept secret during recruiting season.
Still, do any of these names really excite you?
McCarthy seems to have the most support because of his track record. There is no debate that he has the best résumé of any of the seven prospective coaches. He won 125 games in Green Bay and has a Super Bowl ring.
But the Jets need someone who can energize the organization. McCarthy is not Bill Parcells in 1997 or even Rex Ryan in 2009 — someone who can bring a bolt of excitement the minute he takes the job. His game management also was terrible at times. It won’t take long for the “Hire McCarthy” crowd to feel his game management is not much better than Bowles’.
The other candidate who was met with positivity from fans is Kingsbury, the USC offensive coordinator. I understand fans’ interest in him. He is an out-of-the box thought. He is young (39) and is an offensive guru. But let’s get real. Can the Jets really hire someone who was fired at Texas Tech two months ago? He went 36-42 with the Red Raiders and never finished higher than fifth in the Big 12. Some people point to Patrick Mahomes as a reason to hire Kingsbury; I would say that is a knock against him. We have seen how incredible Mahomes is this season. If he had realized his potential in college, he would have been the No. 1 pick. Why wasn’t he better?
There are some people who believe the Jets just want to pick Kingsbury’s brain about offense and consider him as an offensive coordinator, not a head coach. That makes sense. Hiring him as head coach does not.
Gase will interview with the Jets on Friday. He went 5-1 against the Jets over the last three seasons as Dolphins coach, so the Jets leaders have seen him up close. But there were issues in Miami, where players seemed to have a fierce dislike of Gase and the Dolphins went backward after a playoff run in his first year.
Caldwell has washed out in two places and feels like an older version of Bowles in terms of his personality.
Bieniemy and Monken have potential as offensive minds to develop Darnold, but it is tough to sell another unproven assistant to this fan base that has seen the Jets opt for the unproven assistant in each of their last five hires. Richard is respected, but it would be shocking to see the Jets hire a defensive coach.
Now, just because these coaches are not sexy candidates does not mean they can’t coach. That is the task facing Mike Maccagnan and Johnson right now. They need to do their research on all of the candidates and figure out the right guy.
But it is clear that there is no easy answer out there for the Jets. This list of candidates proves it.