The New York Jets have reached a critical stage in their coaching search. Their top two candidates are being wooed by other teams and now there's another team in the head-coaching market -- the Denver Broncos, who parted ways with John Fox on Monday. Six teams, including the Jets, are looking for a head coach.
Basically, this is free agency, the coaching version. If the Jets don't play it right, they could end up with a fallback to the fallback choice, the coaching equivalent of Dimitri Patterson. (Okay, that might be a bit harsh, but you get the point.) This is when consultants Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf will earn their money, which I hear is well into six figures apiece.
An update on the Jets' candidates:
Dan Quinn (Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator) -- From all indications, he's the Jets' No. 1 choice, but The Wait could be a factor. If the Seahawks reach the Super Bowl, he can't be hired by a team until Feb. 2. That could impact his ability to form a top-notch staff. It has been widely reported he'd like Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator and I'm hearing his defensive-coordinator choice could be former Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, but they could be tempted by other job opportunities. There could be competition for Quinn, who has drawn interest from the Falcons, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. The Broncos are now interested, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The Jets would be helped if the 49ers hire Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase; one less suitor for Quinn, a Jersey guy who has told friends he'd like to return home if the job lines up.
Todd Bowles (Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator) -- The Jets and Falcons have invited him back for second interviews. Bowles is a Bill Parcells disciple, and the word is that Parcells is lobbying his son-in-law, Falcons executive Scott Pioli, to hire Bowles. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels seems to make the most sense, but, like Quinn, he's still involved in the playoffs. If the Falcons decide to move quickly and make a push for Bowles, it could rob of the Jets of their perceived fallback candidate. If Bowles isn't comfortable with any of his suitors, he can return to his well-paying job in the desert. The Falcons also plan to give a second interview to Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. And don't discount Quinn in Atlanta.
Sean McDermott (Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator) -- He's a new name on the list. The Jets scheduled an interview for Wednesday, and there's a reason. They need a Plan C in the event they lose Quinn and Bowles, and they evidently don't feel the others they've interviewed rise to the "C" level. No other teams have publicly expressed interest in McDermott.
Tom Cable (Seahawks offensive-line coach) -- The Jets were impressed with his interview, but he's in the Quinn category -- he might not be available until after the Super Bowl. If they wait that long, it would be for Quinn. No other teams are pursuing Cable.
Doug Marrone (former Buffalo Bills coach) -- He was a strong candidate after opting out of his Bills' contract, with Casserly said to be pushing Marrone to people in the Jets' organization. Owner Woody Johnson, too, seemed interested, but he got cold feet because of some unflattering articles about Marrone.
Frank Reich (San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator) -- There hasn't been any buzz about Reich. He interviewed for the Bills' job, but that went to Rex Ryan.
Anthony Lynn (Jets running backs coach) -- He could join Ryan's staff in Buffalo.