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Charley Casserly: Jets don't have to hire GM before finding coach

Bob McNair, left, owner of Houston's NFL expansion

Bob McNair, left, owner of Houston's NFL expansion team, listens to Charley Casserly, right, answer questions after Casserly was introduced as the team's executive vice president/general manager during a news conference on Jan. 19, 2000 in Houston. Credit: AP

Ideally, NFL teams would prefer to hire a general manager and then a head coach. But taking the opposite approach can also be advantageous, Charley Casserly pointed out.

"In a perfect world, you hire the GM first and then hire the head coach, because it's critical that you have a good working relationship between the two of them. And that's the best way to get it," Casserly said Wednesday morning during a radio interview on WDAE in Tampa, Florida.

"However, sometimes opportunities present themselves on a coach that you can get in competition with and you feel you need to pull the trigger on the coach first, and then come back and hire the general manager and work that where the head coach has input into it," he added. "But you pick the general manager and try to find the best marriage."

Casserly and Ron Wolf, both former NFL GMs, were hired as consultants by the Jets to assist owner Woody Johnson in finding replacements for former coach Rex Ryan and former GM John Idzik.

The Jets have interviewed six candidates for their GM vacancy and on Wednesday the team announced it had also set up an interview with Bucs director of player personnel Jon Robinson. As for their coaching search, the Jets have interviewed Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, former Bills coach Doug Marrone, Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable and Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn, and were scheduled to interview Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Chargers offensive coordinator and Freeport native Frank Reich on Wednesday.

Many assume Quinn and Marrone are the front-runners for the job. And Casserly provided proof that hiring a coach before a GM can work.

"Seattle won the Super Bowl and that's exactly what they did," he said. "They hired Pete Carroll first and then they hired John Schneider. Kansas City, they hired Andy Reid first and then John Dorsey. So it absolutely can work. And a lot of it depends on does the head coach have a relationship with somebody out there who's going to be a viable general manager candidate? And it also depends on the ego of the guy coming in.

"So, the perfect way is to hire a GM first, but you could do it the other way. You just have to be able to make sure you can match the two of them in competency and their ability to get along."

Casserly confirmed that he and Wolf only make "recommendations" to Johnson, who ultimately has the final say on who will succeed Ryan and Idzik. And while Marrone has taken some heat in the media, Casserly said he's not at all concerned about its glare.

"I can tell you from my point of view and Ron's point of view, we ignore it. You got to ignore it," he said. "It's a one-day deal for the press conference and you go from there. Now, you are going to have people that have agendas. Most journalists are open-minded and they want the team to win because it's easier to cover the team when you win. So, even though they don't root for the team, they hope they win.

"The key there is, you can't worry about what other people say. There's a famous saying: If you pay attention to the fans, you'll end up sitting with the fans."

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