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LI's Rob Calabrese formally announced as Jets quarterbacks coach

Rob Calabrese of the Broncos in 2019.

Rob Calabrese of the Broncos in 2019. Credit: AP

Rob Calabrese is back home and staying there.

The Jets announced that the former East Islip star quarterback will be on new coach Robert Saleh’s staff as the quarterbacks coach. Calabrese spent the past two seasons as the Broncos’ offensive quality control coach.

Calabrese, who broke many of former Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason’s records at East Islip High, was one of a number of coaching hires on both sides of the ball announced by the team Thursday.

Saleh picked Mike LaFleur as his offensive coordinator and Jeff Ulbrich as his defensive coordinator. He said he’s considering retaining Jets special teams coach Brant Boyer after receiving many calls on his behalf.

LaFleur was the passing game coordinator for the past three years with the 49ers while Saleh served as defensive coordinator. Ulbrich worked with Saleh in Seattle and spent the past six years with the Falcons. He was Atlanta’s linebackers coach until this season. Ulbrich was promoted to interim defensive coordinator when Raheem Morris became head coach in October.

Saleh said Ulbrich will call defensive plays so he can focus on the overall team. That was important for the Jets after seeing Adam Gase focus most of his attention on the offense.

"I share the same thoughts as they do," Saleh said. "I think the head coach and the message that is trying to be deployed to everybody — this is an organization that has to be locked in arms and working together. To be able to have that focus and ensure that the entire organization is moving in the direction that we want, I won’t be calling the plays."

Saleh said he’ll probably "encourage" Ulbrich to call certain plays on game day. Ulbrich knows the attacking system from Seattle, but it’s evolved since then. Saleh would like to see Ulbrich make it even better. "We should always be thinking evolution," Saleh said.

Aaron Whitecotton, who was an assistant defensive line coach with the 49ers and Bills, is the Jets’ new defensive line coach. Nate Ollie, formerly with the Eagles, is the assistant defensive line coach. Chip Vaughn and Ricky Manning Jr. were hired as defensive assistants. Jets defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson also is under consideration to return.

LaFleur, whose brother Matt is the Packers’ head coach, will run Kyle Shanahan’s version of the West Coast offense, which features plenty of pre-snap movement. Joining him will be former 49ers offensive line coach John Benton. He will be the Jets’ offensive line coach and running game coordinator. The 49ers were the No. 2 rushing offense in 2019.

"I’m really excited about them installing the system and implementing the vision we all want to see," Saleh said. "There’s nobody better in the world than the people that we’ve hired to be able to do that. It’s going to be an exciting time for this organization."

The Jets named Jon Embree the running backs coach, Ron Middleton the tight ends coach, Miles Austin the wide receivers coach and Greg Knapp, who worked with Matt Ryan in Atlanta, the passing game coordinator. Todd Washington is staying on as an offensive assistant.  

High on Q

Saleh said he’s looking forward to coaching nose tackle Quinnen Williams and seeing what he can do in his system. The 49ers did a lot of work on Williams before taking Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick. Williams went third.

"I absolutely love Quinnen," Saleh said. "Really excited to get the seat belt off his harness and let him go. In this scheme, to get him going vertical, to get all that mass moving in the direction that it needs to, I’m really excited about the potential he’s going to have."

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