Top New York Jets head coach candidates following Adam Gase firing

With Adam Gase fired, the New York Jets now need to turn to other head coaching candidates. General manager Joe Douglas will make his pick, with plenty of popular names to choose from.

How does Sam Darnold factor into the decision?

Douglas is a staunch believer in QB Sam Darnold, so expect him to base his coaching search around candidates who share that same belief. There are plenty of believers in Sam Darnold’s talent around the league, so there should be plenty of interest from coaches.

New York Jets Head Coach Candidates

Here are the top candidates for the Jets’ head coach position.

Brian Daboll, Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator

Brian Daboll has emerged as the hottest name in the NFL. Looking at his success with the Bills and his work developing QB Josh Allen, it’s easy to see why. The Bills have one of the best offenses in the league and look to go far in the 2021 NFL Playoffs. Daboll turned Josh Allen from a raw but talented quarterback into a potential NFL MVP.

Daboll’s creativity and development of Allen in Buffalo makes him stand out among the Jets’ head coaching candidates. The Bills’ offense is currently second in passing offense, seventh in total offense, and sixth in scoring per game. The Bills are fifth in offensive DVOA and third in passing DVOA.

At just 45 years old, Daboll has already won Super Bowls in New England and NCAA Championships with Alabama. In addition, Daboll worked with the New York Jets previously under Eric Mangini’s staff. Poaching Daboll from an AFC East rival would be a sweet tune for Joe Douglas. Daboll will be one of the first names to pop up in the Jets’ head coach candidate race.

Don “Wink” Martindale, Baltimore Ravens Defensive Coordinator

For more than a month during The Draft Insiders podcasts and his weekly Q&A piece, Tony Pauline has mentioned Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale as a sleeper candidate getting significant chatter for a head coaching job heading into the offseason. According to Pauline, the players love Martindale.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport tweeted recently that if Adam Gase was ultimately fired, Martindale would be a candidate to replace him. Pauline added during the podcast that one league insider told him, “If the Jets hire Martindale, they’ll finally be doing something right.”

Many consider Martindale as a brilliant defensive mind. Despite the Ravens’ injuries, they’re still playing outstanding defensive football. He’s a creative play designer, learning from the Ryan brothers and Dean Pees. Many coaches and players have called his defense unpredictable.

As the defensive coordinator for the Ravens, Don Martindale has coached the Ravens defense to rankings of fourth (2018), fifth (2019), and eighth (current 2020) in defensive DVOA.

After getting burned on an “offensive guru”, Joe Douglas could opt to pick a more stable presence on the other side of the ball. Douglas and Martindale crossed paths while Douglas was with the Ravens. Martindale appears to be the leading Jets head coaching candidate.

Matt Campbell, Iowa State Head Coach

Matt Campbell has popped up on NFL radar multiple times, but his connection to the NFL has been strongest with the Jets. With Adam Gase now fired, Campbell continues to be linked to the team. With Iowa State just completing its best season in program history, Campbell’s star has never been brighter. What he’s done at a historically bad program has brought the attention of the NFL to Ames.

Collegiate program builders have become more popular in recent years (see Matt Rhule and the recent Urban Meyer rumors). Matt Campbell is just 41 years old and has instilled a winning culture in the Cyclones. The Jets reached out to Matt Campbell before they hired Adam Gase. Armed with the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and money to spend, will Matt Campbell resist this time?

Campbell is a risky hire, considering he’s never worked in the NFL, but he’s been an incredibly popular candidate for years. Campbell would operate well as a CEO type of coach, but he has to nail his coordinator hires. He is a name to keep in mind when looking at Jets head coaching candidates.

Other candidates who could find themselves in New York

Arthur Smith, Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator
Joe Brady, Carolina Panthers Offensive Coordinator
Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis Colts Defensive Coordinator
Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator
Brian Schottenheimer, Seattle Seahawks Offensive Coordinator