The New York Jets have mutually parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. LaFleur had been garnering interest elsewhere around the league and was given permission to see which spots fit his skillset the most.
In doing so, the Jets enter the 2023 offseason in need of an offensive coordinator and quarterback. It should come as no surprise that the latter led to the former’s dismissal.
While New York will be looking immediately for a new person to call and advance the offense, the quarterback position will be thrust into the limelight as well. An experienced play-caller will want to come to Florham Park only if the understanding of who he is calling plays for is settled.
That being said, here are three potential candidates the Jets will most likely consider in this process.
Darrell Bevell – QB Coach, Miami
Zack Rosenblatt and Connor Hughes have both already touted Bevell as a favorite for the job, and there’s a good reason why.
Bevell has experience in the Kyle Shanahan offensive system, the system current Jets head coach Robert Saleh wants to run. He also worked with Saleh in Seattle years ago. While Bevell has struggled as an offensive coordinator for the Jaguars and Lions in recent years, poor quarterback play was a key part.
Bevell’s experience as a play-caller will come in handy no matter who is the quarterback. The Jets did not score a single touchdown in the final three weeks of the season, and play-calling has something to do with that.
Bevell will be an experienced mind that could offer the necessary help to push the Jets forward to the 21st century in offensive innovation.
Frank Reich – HC, Indianapolis
This is the largest longshot of the entire group. Reich was a successful coach for Indianapolis and before that had Carson Wentz as an MVP candidate. What dug Reich in was the team around him began to collapse due to injuries and failed draft picks.
Even with all that, Reich is still one of the brightest minds in football with experience in getting the best out of quarterbacks. Reich could also be a lightning rod to bring in a veteran quarterback like Derek Carr into the fold to help move the Jets into the postseason.
Reich has experience in play-calling and actually has been more successful than Bevell in that regard. It’s a long shot because multiple teams will be looking to hire Reich to be head coach, but if he gets passed along in this cycle, the Jets should absolutely take a swing here.
Jim Caldwell – HC, Lions
The keyword for the Jets’ offensive coordinator position is experience. Caldwell, Reich, and Bevell all have experience calling plays and have experience getting the most out of players. Caldwell arguably has the most successful out of all three.
As a head coach, Caldwell led Peyton Manning to the Super Bowl and the Lions to their most successful four-year stretch in half a century. His work on the Ravens staff to win a Super Bowl is also well documented.
Caldwell’s name has been brought back into the head coaching search. If he doesn’t get the top job, it could be worth getting a coordinator position to help enhance his candidacy. If Caldwell gets the Jets’ offense moving it’ll be one of the more impressive jobs of his career.
Pep Hamilton – OC, Texans
Houston’s season was a disaster and while Lovie Smith’s tenure ended after one season, his offensive coordinator should be looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
Hamilton has had a great track record of working with quarterbacks and has been successful as a play-caller as well. If the Jets want an experienced play-caller but not with as much head coaching baggage as others on this list, Hamilton could be a perfect choice.
Greg Olson – Sr. Assistant, Rams
Olson makes sense for one reason: Derek Carr. His work with Carr has been well documented and could lure the pro-bowl quarterback to New York if he so chooses.
New York is in need of experienced play-callers and an experienced quarterback. Olson could be the first domino to fall to make that happen. He’s had success in producing great receiver talent as well and would be extremely helpful to young players like Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson.
Bevell could be the favorite right now for his connection with Saleh, but Olson’s connection with Carr could mean a much bigger advantage.
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