Since Eric Mangini was fired by the New York Jets, Rex Ryan has taken his post as the new head coach and completely overhauled the New York Jets coaching staff.
While the most notable acquisitions include Doug Plank and Henry Ellard, the most telling moves are the ones that weren’t made.
Coordinators Brian Schottenheimer and Bob Sutton remain with the Jets after having been the subjects of harsh criticism over the last two seasons. Both men received the bulk of the blame for New York’s offensive and defensive shortcomings.
But after Mangini was shown the door at the end of the season, both men remained with the team and no one understood why. Weren’t they part of the problem?
According to everyone inside the New York Jets, the answer has been a resounding “No.”
Rex Ryan’s desire to retain both men provides a sense of validity to claims that were leaked out to the press after Mangini was fired.
The New York Jets were Mangini’s team, and were under his absolute control. He devised the weekly strategies, created specific play packages, and placed his stamp on everything from top to bottom. Thus, the team’s failures should be his as well.
Following in the Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick example of media relations, Mangini never allowed his coordinators to speak to the press. Schottenheimer and Sutton never had an opportunity to defend themselves.
Special-teams coordinator Mike Westhoff spoke very candidly in interviews on WFAN with Mike Francesca and on 1050 ESPN Radio with Michael Kay, where he discussed many of Mangini’s shortcomings as a head coach.
Without directly insulting Mangini, Westhoff cited issues with his personnel choices, game-time decisions, and sideline demeanor.
“[Mangini] is very cerebral,” said Westhoff on Michael Kay’s program. “He’s very much a film coach. He studies it, he loves to watch the film, [and] he loves to teach off it. Sometimes there’s a little transition that gets lost between that and the field.
“Frankly, I wish he would’ve been more actively involved in coaching the defense on the field. I mean, it’s his defense.”
Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis was also very blunt regarding his unhappiness with Mangini in an interview on WFAN.
Recognizing the changing tides in the organization during the team’s catastrophic 1-4 collapse, Revis explains Mangini’s difficulty in relating and communicating with his players.
“He needed to sit us down, correct the mistakes, and get more in-depth with what we need to do, and what we need to accomplish as a team,” said Revis. “He’ll say one thing on the board, but then relating to the player, [he] had a tough time sometimes.”
While no one disrespected Mangini outright, the unsatisfactory job he did as a head coach was evident to everyone within the organization. For his qualities as an intelligent man, it was clear that he was never prepared to lead.
The problems were certainly bigger than Brett Favre as all men interviewed said they would welcome the future Hall of Fame QB back with open arms—granted he participates in offseason activities, of course.