The New York Jets have been checking under every possible stone for replacement players after a rash of injuries.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas has prided himself on often going outside the box to improve this football team.
That ideology isn’t solely reserved for the players on the field it also extends to the coaching ranks as well.
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Jets Add Some Much Needed Experience
When Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh was first hired back in January he had a plan. He wanted to bring a combination of youth and freshness paired with veteran savvy and wherewithal:
- Mike LaFleur (first-time NFL play-caller) and Rob Calabrese (first-time NFL quarterback coach).
- Jeff Ulbrich (former player and longtime coach) and Greg Knapp (Super Bowl champion and coach for over 30 years).
That plan offensively took a tragic turn right before the start of training camp when coach Greg Knapp died from injuries suffered when a car struck him while he was riding his bicycle.
Prior to his death, the 58-year-old coach was giddy to be working with a young moldable piece of clay in rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
Knapp had worked with some of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in history including Michael Vick, Steve Young and Peyton Manning. The veteran was the one true presence in the room that had been around the block and provided some worldly perspective to the young passer out of BYU.
When he passed away the Jets had no immediate plans to replace his position of “passing game specialist”, but after sitting on things the front office changed its tune.
A Familiar Face Is Once Again a Member of the Jets
The No. 2 overall pick Wilson inadvertently shared the news during his presser on Wednesday, August 25 and was later confirmed by Brian Costello of the New York Post.
The Jets have hired Matt Cavanaugh as a senior offensive assistant.
Over the last few weeks, he has been operating in a “limited capacity” with the team, but that should change by next week when he “clears COVID protocols” and joins the team in a full capacity, per Costello.
The name should sound familiar to Jets fans because the veteran coach was with the team from 2009 through 2012. During that time he worked with then-rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Cavanaugh will bring a wealth of experience both as a player and as a coach.
During his playing career, he won a pair of Super Bowl championships with the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. He also started his professional career as a backup quarterback with the New England Patriots from 1978 through 1982.
Following his time as a player, he transitioned to the coaching ranks where he has cut his teeth for the last 28 years. Cavanaugh added another Super Bowl ring to his mantle as the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens back in 2000.
Speaking of the Ravens, that’s where Cavanaugh and current general manager Joe Douglas met and worked together through 2004.
Not only will those relationships and experiences be important, but also during his time with the Washington Football Team, he overlapped with Sean McVay from 2015 to 2016 so he knows the current Shanahan offense the Jets will be employing.
With so much youth and inexperience in the coaching ranks, it makes sense why the Jets wanted to bring another veteran in the room.
Wilson has played well throughout the preseason, but the jump from BYU to the NFL is massive. When he inevitably goes through the peaks and valleys of his rookie season he’s going to need someone that has been there and done that.
Cavanaugh has a proven track record working with young quarterbacks and this will prove to be a significant piece to the developing puzzle for the 22-year-old gunslinger.