Jets approach offseason with seldom-used plan -- coaching continuity

Jets coach Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will work together again in 2020, aiming to get New York beyond this season's 7-9 record. Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

When the coaching carousel stops spinning, the NFL will have five new head coaches and no fewer than 21 new offensive and defensive coordinators. It might sound like a lot of movement, but it's fairly typical for a hiring cycle.

What's not typical: The New York Jets won't be part of the madness.

Barring something unforeseen, the Jets will go into the 2020 NFL season with the same coach and the same three coordinators as last season. This represents a dramatic turn for a franchise whose history is marked by instability. In fact, the last time the Jets went back-to-back seasons with the same Big Four was 2011, when coach Rex Ryan returned with Brian Schottenheimer (offense), Mike Pettine (defense) and Mike Westhoff (special teams) after a second straight trip to the AFC Championship Game.

Since then, New York has cycled through coaches at an alarming rate, especially offensive coordinators. If you're scoring at home, it has been six offensive coordinators, three defensive coordinators and four special teams coordinators since 2010. The sad part is, not one of them left for a better job, which suggests the Jets haven't been real good at picking coaches. (Pettine became the coach of the Cleveland Browns, but only after a lateral move to the Buffalo Bills.)

The Jets are one of 12 NFL teams that haven't changed their coach or a coordinator as of Jan. 14, 2020.

Continuity is more important than ever because of the restricted offseason schedule, which prohibits coaches and players from meeting until April. It creates a disadvantage for teams with new coaches, who can't install their systems until the spring. It's a 10-week rush job, followed by a six-week break before training camp.

Think about it: Coach Adam Gase already was on the job for three months in 2019 before he was allowed to huddle with quarterback Sam Darnold. With Gase and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains back in 2020, Darnold can begin his offseason with a solid foundation.

"Huge difference -- huge," Gase said. "It's a big deal when you're going into the spring and you're not learning a bunch of new things. You're trying to get better with more of your technique, fundamentals, the verbiage in the offense and all those types of things. You kind of know those by heart and that's where you can make a lot of strides."

Before Gase, the de facto coordinator, the Jets had six systems in eight years, a staggering amount of change. It's no wonder they have struggled to develop a quarterback. They employed the West Coast offense in 2013 and 2014 under Marty Mornhinweg, deviated for two years in Chan Gailey's spread offense and then reverted to versions of the West Coast in 2017 and 2018 under John Morton and Jeremy Bates.

That the Jets finished 32nd in total offense last season raises questions about Gase's system, but general manager Joe Douglas believes in the carryover effect. He's banking on familiarity to fuel improvement.

"I think the growth of our players having comfort within the scheme, having comfort with what their position coaches are teaching them, how they were able to grow in the back half of the year, I think you saw that improvement start to take root and blossom in those last six, eight games," Douglas said.

Well-traveled defensive coordinator Gregg Williams returns for a second season after making a huge impact in 2019. He created an identity for the defense, something that had been lacking since the Ryan years. Despite personnel deficiencies, the Jets became a top run-stopping team known for its aggressiveness -- a Williams trademark.

Because of injuries at cornerback, Williams adjusted on the fly and played more zone coverage than man-to-man -- a 53-47% split, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Under the previous staff, with former coach Todd Bowles and ex-coordinator Kacy Rodgers running the defense, the Jets were predominantly a man-to-man defense.

Williams made a successful transition, installing his system (an attacking 3-4 scheme), creating a new culture and developing depth by having to play so many backups. Players such as linebackers Tarell Basham and James Burgess Jr., and cornerback Blessuan Austin established themselves as useful pieces in the Jets puzzle going forward. Williams likes the foundation, especially knowing the nucleus of his staff will remain intact.

"I have a staff that -- I tease and I laugh -- [because] I don't have to convince them how messed up I am," he said. "I don't have to convince them there's no such thing as even thinking about arguing with me about what we do. They've played for me. They've coached with me. This is a good group of coaches that we have here and they have done a very, very good job."

Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer, who returns for his fifth season, was a little-known assistant when Bowles added him to the staff in 2016 -- the best hire of Bowles' tenure.

After a couple of shaky seasons, Boyer has made the special teams an elite unit, the way it was during most of Mike Westhoff's tenure (2001-12). When Westhoff left, the Jets slipped into the abyss, with new coordinators in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons. Under Boyer, the Jets finished No. 1 and No. 4 in special teams DVOA in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Wisely, Gase retained Boyer after Bowles was fired. It's all about continuity -- a radical new concept for the Jets.