Jets name Sparano offensive coordinator
The Jets named former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano as the team's new offensive coordinator Wednesday, replacing Brian Schottenheimer.
The New York Post reported earlier that Sparano was the team's choice to lead the offense, and the Jets have since made it official.
"When we sat down with Tony, I knew that he was the right person at the right time for our offense," head coach Rex Ryan said in a statement. "I've admired his work as a competitor in the division for the past three seasons. His teams were always physical, tough and hard-nosed."
Sparano, 50, spent four seasons in Miami. He was fired in December after a loss dropped the team to 4-9 following an 0-7 start.
"I'm very proud to be part of such an outstanding organization and to have an opportunity to work with these players," Sparano said in a statement. "I know this division very well and I'm looking forward to that challenge. I'd like to thank (owner) Mr. (Woody) Johnson, (general manager) Mike Tannenbaum and Coach Ryan for giving me the opportunity."
Schottenheimer resigned Tuesday night, though Pro Football Talk reported the 38-year-old was told by the team to either find a new job or hand in his resignation.
Schottenheimer had interviewed for the Jacksonville Jaguars' head coaching position, but Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey got the job Tuesday night.
Schottenheimer, the son of longtime NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer, had two years and $3.2 million remaining on his contract. It is believed the two sides worked out an agreement to allow Schottenheimer to quit, rather than be fired, the Post reported.
For weeks it was widely expected that Schottenheimer would not return after the Jets' disappointing 8-8 finish, and in particular, the struggles of third-year quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was called out anonymously by his teammates in a story published Wednesday by the New York Daily News.
Among the criticisms hurled at Sanchez, the unnamed Jets players questioned his mental toughness and maturity, with one expressing the hope that the Jets could trade for Peyton Manning.
"We have to bring in another quarterback that will make [Sanchez] work at practice," one player said. "He's lazy and content because he knows he's not going to be benched."
According to a player labeled as "prominent" by the Daily News, the Jets "don't want to be truthful with him. They treat him like a baby instead of a man. He goes in a hole when someone tells him the truth."
The Jets are in the midst of overhauling their coaching staff, with assistant head coach/offensive line coach Bill Callahan departing to become the Cowboys' offensive line coach.
Wide receivers coach Henry Ellard and outside linebackers coach Jeff Weeks were not asked to return in 2012 after their contracts expired.
The Jets also met Wednesday with former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley about a position on the offensive staff, ESPN reported.
The hiring of Sparano confirms head coach Rex Ryan's intention of refocusing on the running game, which was more prominent in the previous two seasons when the team reached back-to-back AFC Championship games.
Ryan openly wondered about Schottenheimer's play-calling after the Week 16 loss to the Giants in which Sanchez threw a staggering 59 times.