It’s been a week since the New York Jets sent Eric Mangini packing. And in the days since, Eric has emerged as the favorite for the Cleveland Browns’ vacancy as the Jets continue to turn over every rock they see.
One of the rocks the Jets kicked over recently comes from the dark part of the forest. Stepping from beneath that rock is Boston College head coach Jeff Jagodzinski.
I won’t pretend to know anything about him or his time with Boston College. I know he’s been an offensive coordinator in the NFL, but he’s only been a head coach in the ACC.
Perhaps it’s his experience with the Green Bay Packers that makes him most interesting for New York. Jets’ owner is on record saying he wants Brett Favre to return in 2009. Does he believe bringing in a familiar face from Favre’s Green Bay days will help lure him back for one more year?
But aside from that, I know nothing of Jagodzinski. I don’t know college football, don’t like college football, and couldn’t be paid to watch college football.
Apparently Jagodzinski’s boss, Gene DeFilippo, feels the same way about professional football, threatening to fire Jagodzinski if he even agrees to interview for New York’s vacancy.
How tempting is that for the Jets? Doesn’t that threat make Jagodzinski look like the most tempting of forbidden fruits?
But I implore the Jets—do not succumb to temptation. It will be an error of Eve proportions. Collegiate systems are the snakes that slither into the NFL’s eden.
These things never end well. College coaches do not succeed in the NFL.
These men work wonders on the collegiate level, but cannot work that same magic with professionals.
They can get away with disciplining young kids with scholarships to worry about. They can serve as instructors on the football field, helping their players develop from high school standouts to NFL prospects.
But much like the athletes they tutor—they end up overwhelmed in the NFL. The things that work for a great mind in college don’t work in the NFL. It’s a shame, because all they end up doing is ruining their own legacies.
High-flying offenses, systems based on masking weakness, and men who can’t reach their players aren’t what’s needed from a head coach in the NFL.
Not everyone is Jimmy Johnson.
Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino—formerly of the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons, respectively—are the NFL’s most recent failed experiments when promoting collegiate head coaches.
Once these men realized they were in over their heads, they returned to college at top-speed without looking back.
If the Jets need proof from their own history, long-time fans will remember with great pain the almost one-year Lou Holtz era in 1976.
Holtz resigned with one game left in the season after posting a 3-10 record to coach at the University of Arizona.
Aren’t we all tired of hearing “same old Jets” already?
New York needs to find answers at the head coach position, and they need to find them fast. Of the interviews New York has conducted thus far, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has emerged as the favorite for the head coaching vacancy.
It’s a frightening prospect. He may come from incredible coaching blood as his father, Marty Schottenheimer, is one of the winningest coaches in NFL history.
But he’s also the coordinator whose cute offensive game plans involved five wide receiver sets against teams who struggle against the run, and trick plays and reverses in rainy weather against the Denver Broncos.
Since Mike Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson chose to shower Mangini with praise rather than give real reasons for firing him, fans will never know how much input Schottenheimer had in the play-calling.
New York’s other candidates include Bill Callahan and Steve Spagnuolo—who was reportedly unprepared for his interview.
League speculation also links numerous defensive coordinators, including the Colts’ Ron Meeks, Vikings’ Leslie Frazier, Chargers’ Ron Rivera, Cardinals’ Russ Grimm, and Ravens’ Rex Ryan.