Matt Cavanaugh will not return as the New York Jets’ quarterbacks coach after four seasons with the team.
Cavanaugh’s contract was due to expire in a few weeks and he was told Monday he would not be part of Rex Ryan’s staff next season. Cavanaugh was responsible for the development of Mark Sanchez, who took a step back in his fourth season and was benched late in the year.
The Daily News first reported that Cavanaugh would not be back.
In early December, Cavanaugh acknowledged that Sanchez was ”inconsistent,” but defended the quarterback and called him ”very talented.”
”I know he’s getting smarter,” he added. ”I know he’s making better decisions overall.”
But it was Sanchez’s lack of sound decision-making that landed him on the bench for one game after he threw four interceptions and fumbled away the final snap at Tennessee on Dec. 17. Sanchez’s 52 turnovers over the last two seasons are the most in the NFL.
Cavanaugh also had the difficult task of juggling having Sanchez as the starter and the popular Tim Tebow as the backup quarterback. It was a situation Cavanaugh called ”a learning experience” earlier in the season.
Cavanaugh’s departure is the first of what will likely be several changes on Ryan’s staff. Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff retired, and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine turned down a contract extension earlier in the season and is reportedly garnering interest from the Buffalo Bills for a similar position.
Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano might also be out after one season following the Jets finishing 30th in overall offense. Sparano was hired last March to replace Brian Schottenheimer and to turn around an offense that struggled mightily. Instead, the former Miami Dolphins head coach wasn’t able to jump-start the running game or figure out a way to use Tebow consistently.
The team has not addressed any coaching decisions since the season ended on Dec. 31, other than owner Woody Johnson saying in a statement that Ryan would return for a fifth season. Both Johnson and Ryan were scheduled to address the media on Tuesday at the team’s facility in Florham Park, N.J.
New York is also searching for a new general manager after Mike Tannenbaum was fired following seven seasons in the position. San Francisco director of player personnel Tom Gamble was considered by many to be the front-runner, but he has attracted interest from several teams.
The Jets were also scheduled to speak to Marc Ross, the Giants’ director of college scouting, and in-house candidate Scott Cohen, the team’s assistant GM under Tannenbaum, on Monday. New York previously interviewed Atlanta director of player personnel David Caldwell.