The New York Jets have found their new offensive coordinator to kick off the most important offseason in the Robert Saleh era.
New York hired former Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett to replace Mike LaFleur as offensive coordinator. Hackett brings experience as a play-caller and coordinator while succeeding with Blake Bortles and Aaron Rodgers in past jobs.
It’s that experience that drew Hackett to Saleh in the first place.
“We went into this feeling we needed to hire an experienced guy. When you look at this team, we are going to have a revamped OL, an experienced QB…it was important to have a guy who has done this before.” Saleh said Thursday afternoon.
Both the Jets’ head coach and their new offensive coordinator have worked together before. Hackett was the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville when Saleh was the linebackers coach through the 2014-2017 seasons.
That time together in Duvall certainly made an impression on the third-year head coach in New York
“He’s got an electric personality. People will gravitate to him. I loved his teaching style when he was in Jacksonville. He’s well deserving. He’s had a lot of growth. Really excited about this hire.” Saleh added.
Among the many questions asked of Saleh, the most pressing was the quarterback position. New York lost their final six games of the season in large part due to the team’s inconsistencies at the quarterback position. Not scoring an offensive touchdown in their last three games also didn’t help.
Regardless, while Saleh did not mention any particular names, he did confirm the Jets would be in the market for a veteran quarterback once the offseason kicks off.
Hackett’s had both success and failure with top veteran quarterbacks though. While he helped Blake Bortles reach the AFC Title game in 2017 with a top-five offense, and helped Aaron Rodgers win back-to-back MVP awards, his failure in Denver with Russell Wilson ultimately cost him his job as head coach.
However concerning the end of his tenure was though, it wasn’t enough to deter Saleh away.
“You gotta have the discipline to look past recency bias.” the head coach explained after reminding reporters of different players who had career years under Hackett.
The Jets need to find an offensive coordinator who can not only work with a veteran quarterback but who can also get the most out of former second-overall pick Zach Wilson. Saleh again had his quarterback’s back Thursday saying “We still have a lot of faith in him. He’s still young. We just want to make sure we give him the time needed to grow and develop.”
Hackett’s had experience developing young quarterbacks before and has a familiar seat in New York that he should be well accustomed to. Hackett’s father, Paul was New York’s offensive coordinator from 2001-2004 under Herman Edwards. During that time, the Jets made the playoffs in three of four seasons with playoff wins in 2002 and 2004.
New York enters the 2023 offseason with heightened expectations that Nathaniel Hackett’s father walked into in the early 2000s. In the third year of Robert Saleh’s tenure with the team, improving the offense is of the most paramount importance.
Finding the right offensive coordinator was the first step. Now it’s time to find the quarterback.