Todd Bowles can't afford to botch offensive-coordinator decision

One of the questions sure to come up Wednesday at Todd Bowles' introductory news conference is the still-vacant offensive-coordinator position, once thought to be a slam dunk for Chan Gailey.

When Bowles was hired last Wednesday by the New York Jets, it was widely reported that Gailey was his guy. It was a curious choice because they've never worked together, but they actually got acquainted a year ago, when Bowles was interviewing for head-coaching jobs. He reached out to Gailey to see if he'd be interested in being his coordinator, and they revisited that plan recently when Bowles was on the interviewing circuit. Late last week, there were strong indications it was going to happen.

Obviously, it's up in the air amid reports over the weekend that Gailey is in limbo. Are the Jets getting cold feet, or is Gailey entertaining other opportunities? It's hard to say for sure because there are conflicting accounts, but this much is certain:

This is Bowles' first test as the Jets' coach.

For a defensive-minded coach like Bowles, who has no experience on the offensive side, the importance of this hire can't be overstated.

The Jets' offense was terrible last season under Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg, and they need a leader and an innovator who can clean up the mess and build a quarterback, whether it's Geno Smith or someone else. Ryan went through three coordinators in six years with three different systems -- the definition of instability. So much hinges on this decision because the coordinator and the system he runs could impact what happens on draft day.

If Bowles is waffling -- if this is a case of a new coach having second thoughts -- it doesn't cast him in a flattering light. But let's see how it plays out before we criticize him. I wasn't too keen on Gailey from the outset, so who knows? Maybe Bowles can pull a better coordinator out of his hat.

But he'd better act quickly because the competition for offensive coordinators is intense, and the reason is because five of the six teams that needed head coaches decided to hire defensive-minded men. As a result, the demand for offensive coaches outweighs the supply. At least nine teams still are looking for an offensive coordinator.

The top candidates making the rounds are Adam Gase, Marc Trestman and Kyle Shanahan -- although Shanahan reportedly will join Dan Quinn's staff. The Atlanta Falcons are targeting a Quinn-Shanahan tandem. Gase is drawing interest from several teams, particularly the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars. Trestman, who doesn't appear to be a frontrunner with any of the teams, could be an option for the Jets.

Hey, Marty Mornhinweg still is available. Anybody interested?