FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- With Todd Bowles' ouster seemingly inevitable, the New York Jets will be in the market for a head coach for the second time in four years. It's a tough gig, as the team's past 13 full-time coaches failed to reach the Super Bowl.
The ideal candidate is an offensive-minded coach with strong leadership skills and a dynamic presence who can eliminate the losing mentality that has enveloped the organization. The offensive background is preferable because of quarterback Sam Darnold, whose development is paramount to the franchise.
Anybody know a coach like that?
The truth is, there's no perfect candidate, so Jets CEO Christopher Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan -- likely to survive -- will have to do their homework, trying to unearth the next Sean McVay. Let's break down the potential candidates:
Call these guys ... now
Mike McCarthy, former Green Bay Packers head coach: He checks many of the boxes and should be on the Jets' short list. Things went sideways during his final two seasons in Green Bay, but we're talking about a Super Bowl-winning coach with a 125-77-2 record and nine playoff appearances in 13 years. His relationship with Aaron Rodgers went sour, but the prospect of working with a young quarterback might revitalize him. His game-management skills have been questioned.
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma Sooners head coach: He's the hot college name because of his reputation as an offensive whiz. Under his leadership, the Sooners produced back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. He would be great for Darnold, but could Riley lead an entire NFL team? Could he handle the New York market?
Should be on the interview list
Matt LaFleur, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator: He's attractive because he has ties to the Los Angeles Rams' McVay and the San Francisco 49ers' Kyle Shanahan, two of the top young offensive minds in the NFL. LaFleur isn't exactly lighting it up in Nashville -- the Titans have scored fewer points than the Jets -- but he has been dealing with a banged-up Marcus Mariota in recent weeks.
Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator: Andy Reid's coaching tree commands respect, especially now that Matt Nagy is succeeding with the Chicago Bears. Bieniemy, a former NFL running back, replaced Nagy as Reid's right-hand man. Bieniemy doesn't call the plays -- Reid does -- but he has an instrumental role in the Chiefs' high-powered offense.
Dan Campbell, New Orleans Saints tight ends coach: He could be a dark horse. Campbell is a Bill Parcells protégé, a tough guy who works under the best offensive mind in the league, Sean Payton. He went 5-7 as the Dolphins' interim coach in 2015, so he has head-coaching experience. Campbell commands a room, and that's important.
Zac Taylor, Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach: Because of the Rams' success, everybody wants a branch from the McVay coaching tree. Taylor, 35, doesn't call plays for the Rams, although he did it for part of the 2015 season with the Dolphins under Campbell. His lack of experience is a concern.
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens head coach: The Ravens announced they're negotiating an extension for Harbaugh, who is signed through 2019, but that doesn't mean he's sticking around long term. Peter King of NBC Sports reported there's a "real chance" that Harbaugh won't sign the extension. Would he coach out the contract and become a free agent or -- this is where it gets interesting -- would the Ravens try to trade him for compensation? Harbaugh has the personality and résumé (one Super Bowl ring) to transform the Jets, but they'd have to surrender a draft pick (or picks) to get him.
Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots offensive coordinator: The Jets hired a chip off the 'ol Bill Belichick block once before (Eric Mangini), and it didn't work out. McDaniels is a smart offensive coach, but he would be disowned by the family if he left the Patriots for the Jets.
John DeFilippo, former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator: He would've been a lot higher on the list if he hadn't been fired recently after an abbreviated run in Minneapolis. Before that, he was considered a rising star with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was the Jets' assistant quarterbacks coach in 2008, the Brett Favre season.
Been there, done that
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines head coach: The Jets released a statement, saying they have no interest in Harbaugh. It came in response to a Pro Football Talk report that said they were planning to pursue him. Here's what happened: The Jets checked into Harbaugh -- why wouldn't they? -- and determined he was staying in Ann Arbor.