In a radical departure from his ground-and-pound philosophy, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is bringing the West Coast offense to New Jersey.
Ryan has decided to hire former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, league sources confirmed. Mornhinweg will replace Tony Sparano, who was fired after one season as the Jets' coordinator.
The Michael Vick speculation already has begun.
Vick is expected to be released by the Eagles, and the Jets could be looking to replace Mark Sanchez. Ryan has an affinity for Vick, but salary-cap restrictions make it unlikely he'll land with the Jets. Sanchez counts $12.8 million on the cap.
Mornhinweg was the only one brought back for a second interview, according to a source. It's interesting that he didn't follow his mentor, Andy Reid, to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Mornhinweg, 50, spent 10 seasons with the Eagles, the last seven as the primary play caller. The Eagles were ranked in the top 10 in total offense in five of those seven seasons, thanks to the quarterback play of Donovan McNabb and Vick and an array of skill-position talent.
He won't have those luxuries with the Jets, who dropped to 30th in total offense under Sparano. Their quarterback situation is a mess, with Sanchez coming off a career-worst season and Tim Tebow floating in limbo.
Mornhinweg is known as a quarterback guru, and his expertise should help Sanchez -- if he remains on the roster. The Jets fired their quarterbacks coach, Matt Cavanaugh, the only position coach Sanchez has known.
Mornhinweg faces a massive rebuilding project, with five starters headed to free agency. The Jets' top receiver, Santonio Holmes, is returning from foot surgery.
After the season, Ryan took the blame for the offensive struggles, making the admission that he failed over four years to establish an identity for the offense.
After preaching a run-oriented approach, Ryan said he wanted to divorce himself from ground-and-pound. He said he wanted an "aggressive, attack-style" offense, mirroring the mentality they have on defense.
"When we search for a new offensive coordinator," he said, "I want somebody with that same type of belief that I have and that same passion and energy and that same attack mentality and unpredictability."