FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Chan Gailey wants nothing more than to continue coaching. But there’s a good chance this week’s matchup with the Bills could be his final game as the Jets’ offensive coordinator.
“I’ve always loved to coach, I’ve always loved to do that,” said Gailey, who turns 65 on Jan. 5. “I think it’s in my blood. I think it’ll be there until I go to the grave.”
Asked if he wants to return to the Jets’ coaching staff in 2017, he said: “I said I love football and that I love to coach. I always love to coach.”
Even with coach Todd Bowles expected back next season, the organization will look to make changes to its roster and its coaching staff. And that could mean Gailey’s time calling plays under Bowles is coming to an end.
The Jets (4-11) are 25th in total offense and 30th in scoring — a stark drop-off from last year’s productive offense (10th and 11th, respectively, in 2015).
Gailey called this his most difficult season as an offensive coordinator.
“It really has been,” he said, calling this year “unsettling. Just with all that’s happened with the injuries and the way it’s gone. I’ve not been through one exactly like this.”
Bowles’ decision to coax Gailey out of retirement in the offseason of 2015 was praised. He deserved credit for the effectiveness of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (career-high 31 touchdowns) and the explosiveness of receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker (a combined 26 touchdowns last year). But things quickly unraveled in 2016. Fitzpatrick (17 interceptions) regressed, Decker was placed on injured reserve and Marshall has only three TDs in 15 games.
“I wish I could put my finger on it,” Gailey said of the unit’s struggles. “That would be a simple and easy discussion for the offseason to decide what to do. That would be easy. I think it’s a myriad of things that happened at different times that created problems for us. I don’t think there’s one simple, easy, ‘OK, let’s do this’ and everything’s back to the way it was last year.”
Asked if he’s “in touch with the game” despite his age, Gailey said: “You hope you are. How do you know? I probably didn’t get totally dumb in one year. You have to keep up. You have to change. You have to adjust. I think we’ve done that fairly well through the years. How do you know? You think so, but you don’t know.”