The New York Jets have a new head coach to lead them into a (hopefully) much better era of football.
Robert Saleh, one of the hottest candidates in the NFL this head coach circuit, chose the Jets job after interviewing for a number of others, and now will get to work rebuilding one of the league’s worst teams in 2020 and probably over the past decade and they haven’t been to the postseason since 2010.
Saleh and Jets general manager Joe Douglas have work to do with the Jets finishing 32nd in total offense (points scored) and 26th in the NFL in defense (points allowed) in the 2020 season.
The Jets don’t exactly have the best roster in the league right now, but there are some pieces defensively in New York and Saleh had his unit playing well in San Francisco before many of the household names arrived.
Anytime a team hires a defensive-oriented head coach, everyone wants to know who is going to be running the offense.
The Shanahan coaching tree continues to blossom.
LaFleur is just 33 years old, and the younger brother of Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. He’s been in Kyle Shanahan’s hip pocket since Shanahan’s stop in Cleveland back in 2014. He followed him to Atlanta and San Francisco where he’s worked as a passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, but most recently as the 49ers’ passing game coordinator.
Shanahan disciples are commonly coveted around the league, not only from Kyle but from his dad Mike and the many others who worked with him. Just on the 2013 Washington coaching staff alone under Papa Shanahan were Kyle, Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, and the guy who’s getting promoted in San Francisco — Mike McDaniel.
This offensive system has evolved so much over the past 20 years or so, and bringing that run-action style of offense to New York could be greatly beneficial for someone like Sam Darnold.
There is perhaps no more perfect fit for that system however than 2021 NFL Draft prospect Zach Wilson.
Interestingly enough, Zach Wilson himself has name-dropped the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan’s offense as an obvious fit at the next level.
Wilson certainly knows that the 49ers don’t hold one of the top picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, but with the 49ers’ scheme (at least, LaFleur’s version of it) coming over to the New York Jets, does this mean that the BYU star is all but a lock for the 2nd pick?
It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility.
What is also interesting here is that the Jets and 49ers could mutually benefit from this change in scenery for Saleh and LaFleur.
If the Jets decide they are going to go with Wilson, Sam Darnold would be an ideal candidate to land in San Francisco where he could try to rehab his career in a system he’s really tailor-made for.
The Jets will obviously want some value for Darnold, but Shanahan made it a point (even if he was slightly joking) about Saleh not taking anyone with him off of the 49ers’ staff if he got a job this offseason. Now that Saleh is gone and has taken LaFleur with him, perhaps the communication lines will be a little bit more open between New York and San Francisco regarding the quarterback position than they otherwise would have been.