There are a lot of thoughts running around my head this Monday morning. Eric Mangini was supposed to be the coach with a winning plan who would lead the Jets to Super Bowl glory. The football gods clearly had other plans.
But standing along the sidelines has been Mike Westhoff, coordinating one of the NFL’s best special teams units. As goes pro football, everyone forgets about the special teams.
But here stands a man whose dedication to the New York Jets and to pro football brought him back in 2008 when it was clear that Kevin O’Dea was not going to get the job done.
I don’t know about any of you, but in these dark times ahead, Westhoff’s familiar face would be a glimmer of hope for this organization.
Why doesn’t he deserve a shot as this team’s head coach?
Is it because he’s just a special teams coach? I hope not. He’s more than just a special teams coach. He’s the definitive special teams coach.
How many kick returners have the Jets been through since 2001? Chad Morton? Jonathan Carter? Justin Miller?
Players that play special teams are typically spinning through a revolving door. The men that block are often released, never to be seen in the NFL again.
And Westhoff has given this team the same quality results every year.
I hope it’s not because you’re eyeballing another coordinator from another team. I really hope not.
Do we want Steve Spagnuolo to coach the team?
He’s a 4-3 defensive coach for a team with 3-4 personnel. That would set the team back another three years while we reacquire the appropriate players for his system.
Haven’t we played the other coordinator game enough already? We’ve had coaches who were in over their heads when they came to a new team with an unfamiliar plan.
Let’s keep the one coordinator who knows the organization.
Not good enough? Is it because we’re all desperate for Bill Cowher?
Never mind the fact that Cowher hasn’t officially declared any intentions to return to football, but do you really think he’d last in New York?
He had 15 years to win a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh. Do you really think New York will give him that much time?
Most importantly, Cowher would be the Brett Favre of coaches.
We see him on CBS. He still loves his Steelers. He will be known as the Steelers’ head coach for life. Do we need to borrow another team’s legend? Again?
Besides, Cowher started as a special teams coach in Cleveland.
But big names are important, right? Huge, monster coaching names will change this team’s culture, won’t they?
That’s what the Falcons thought when they brought in Mike Smith. What about the Ravens when they hired John Harbaugh?
I’m sure we were all shivering when the Dolphins named Tony Sparano as their head coach. It must have been some kind of typo, and the Dolphins just got made.
So again, why not Westhoff?
Why not get a man who commands the respect of his colleagues in the NFL—whose name alone can go a long way in securing the aide of some of the NFL’s best coordinators?
He expected the job to be his when it was given to Eric Mangini in 2006. Instead of throwing a fit and leaving the team, he stayed on board and gave the Jets the only legitimate spark they’ve consistently had—the threat of the game-changing kick return.
He’s a football coach for a football team. There are no cute schemes and no on-camera mind games to speak of with Westhoff. His players respond to him, and they believe in his system.
He has over 20 years of experience in the league doing what he knows works and producing results.
Don’t the Jets deserve that kind of coach? Doesn’t Westhoff deserve the opportunity?
Why not give him an entire football team? If this team is willing to squander away years on an inexperienced defensive coordinator from up north, then why not give a chance to an experienced coordinator who’s regarded as the best in the business?
Angel Navedo covers the New York Jets for Examiner.com. His work can also be found on NYJetsFan.com, where he is the Head Writer, and on MyGridironSpace.com—a premier social networking site built exclusively for NFL fans.
He is also a Senior Writer at the Bleacher Report, where he is one of the New York Jets Community Leaders.