The Jets conducted three more interviews for their head-coaching vacancy Sunday, and a wild-card candidate soon could enter the mix.
There are reports that the Philadelphia Eagles could part ways with coach Doug Pederson after a disappointing season, and the Jets could be interested in him if he becomes available.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas spent three seasons in the Eagles’ front office, helping to assemble a roster that Pederson coached to a Super Bowl victory three years ago. Douglas is leading the coaching search to find Adam Gase’s replacement.
Pederson’s shaky hold on his job comes after a 4-11-1 season that ended tumultuously. He alienated onetime franchise quarterback Carson Wentz by benching him in Week 13. Pederson also upset the locker room by removing quarterback Jalen Hurts and replacing him with third-stringer Nate Sudfeld in the Eagles’ finale against Washington.
The day after Buffalo beat Indianapolis, 27-24, in an AFC wild-card game, Douglas spent Sunday interviewing Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
The Jets have spoken to seven known candidates for their opening. They also have interviewed Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady.
Douglas is lining up interviews with Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn, a former Jets cornerback. Other candidates could emerge, including Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale, who devised a game plan to shut down Titans running back Derrick Henry in Baltimore’s 20-13 AFC wild-card win on Sunday.
Daboll, 45, who has spent the past three years as the Bills’ offensive coordinator, has turned that unit into one of the best in the league. A disciple of Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, he ran the NFL’s No. 2 overall offense and scoring offense this year.
Daboll has played a huge role in the success of Josh Allen, who has become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. He had an MVP-caliber season, throwing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns for the Bills, who are the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.
CEO Christopher Johnson hoped Gase could do that for Sam Darnold and the Jets’ offense, but he failed to develop Darnold and oversaw the worst offense in the league. Gase was fired after the Jets finished 2-14.
Darnold, who was taken four picks before Allen in the 2018 draft, may have played his last game as a Jet. Allen has established himself as the face of the Bills and has them two wins from reaching the Super Bowl.
The Jets are looking for someone more well-rounded than the offense-centric Gase and someone who develops players and can build a winning culture. Daboll fits those requirements.
Daboll won five Super Bowls while working for Belichick in a variety of roles, including defensive assistant, wide receivers coach and tight ends coach. He also was Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2017 under Saban, and the Crimson Tide won the national championship that year.
Daboll, a former Jets quarterbacks coach under Eric Mangini, also is being considered for the Chargers’ job.
Eberflus, 50, has ties to Jets assistant GM Rex Hogan, who worked in the Colts’ front office when Eberflus was hired as defensive coordinator in 2018.
Eberflus made an immediate impact in Indianapolis. After finishing 30th in points allowed and total defense in 2017, the Colts ranked 10th and 11th in Elberflus’ first season as coordinator. This season they finished in the top 10 in both categories.
Before joining the Colts, Eberflus spent seven seasons as the Cowboys’ linebackers coach and was the Browns’ linebackers coach for two seasons.
Staley, 38, has been an NFL defensive coordinator for only one year but already has become a hot coaching prospect. That’s remarkable, given that Staley was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach for Division III John Carroll University in suburban Cleveland four years ago.
The Rams were the No. 1 defense in the league this year. They allowed the fewest points, total yards and passing yards and the third-fewest yards rushing.