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FORMER DOLPHINS COACH TONY SPARANO HIRED AS JETS’ OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
Wed, 11 Jan 2012 08:36 PM EST

Tony Sparano, who headed around one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL record, has a new daring, fixing the NY Jets’ dysfunctional offense. Baseball spreads

The Jets made it official, hiring the previous Dolphins coach as their offensive coordinator. He replaces Brian Schottenheimer, who waived under pressure after a chaotic end to 6 up-and-down seasons. Basketball spreads

The Jets haven’t commented on Sparano’s exact role, but he likely will be the play caller.

Sparano was in the Jets’ premises Wednesday, according to resources, and began to meet with members of the previous offensive personnel. The remnants, all of whom have deals for 2012, are Matt Cavanaugh (quarterbacks), Anthony Lynn (running backs) and Mike Devlin (tight ends).

The Jets parted ways Tuesday with Bill Callahan (line) and Henry Ellard (wide receivers). There was supposition that Coach Rex Ryan wanted Callahan to succeed Schottenheimer, but he was hired by the Dallas Cowboys to replace retiring line coach Hudson Houck. And that was actually Sparano that Ryan identified as his No. 1 selection in advance of the season nded, sources announced.

“When we sat down with Tony, I knew that he was the perfect individual at the right time for our offense,” Ryan said in a statement. “I’ve acclaimed his work as a rival in the division for the past three seasons. His groups were always physical, tricky and hard-nosed.” The Jets did not make Ryan or Sparano available to the media, offering only a statement – probably to shield them from needing to respond questions on nameless players making critical observations about Mark Sanchez. The Jets said Sparano and Ryan will not be available till next week. “I’m very happy to join such an excellent organization and to have an opportunity to work with these players,” Sparano said in a press release. “I know this division very well and I’m anticipating that challenge.”

The Jets are likewise attempting to hire a former Sparano co-worker; previous Chiefs coach Todd Haley, who commenced his profession in 1997 as a quality-control coach for the Jets. Sparano and Haley worked together as helpers with the Cowboys – Lynn also was on those personnel – and the Jets would like to put Haley in charge of the passing game, sources related. Haley also is drawing interest from another former team, the Arizona Cardinals.

Ryan, who asserted after the season that he had no plans to refurbish his coaching staff, has done that. He hasn’t any
prior working experience with Sparano, but they appear to be a philosophical fit.

Sparano feels in a power-running game and highlights pass protection, two areas in which the Jets slipped significantly.

The Jets fell to 22nd in rushing offense after leading the league in 2009 and 2010, combined.

One knock on Sparano is that he shortages experience as the primary play caller. He did do it for the Cowboys in 2006 and the offense ranked 4th in scoring and fifth in total offense, making two 1,000-yard wide receivers (Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Julius Jones).

The other criticism of Sparano is that he doesn’t have any knowledge in developing quarterbacks. In three-plus seasons with the Dolphins, he did not make Chad Henne into a productive starter. His No. 1 concern with the Jets is fixing Sanchez, who slumped in 2011 after reaching the AFC Championship Game in his first 2 seasons.

Sparano is accustomed to grief. In 2008, he inherited a 1-15 team and led it to the playoffs, with a former Jets quarterback – Chad Pennington – at the controls. Sparano never was able to duplicate that accomplishment and was fired after Week 14, finishing 29-32 with one playoff appearance.

In New York, Sparano will have an offense that was ripped apart by locker-room chaos, with rifts between Sanchez and his receivers, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. But Sparano is often known as a disciplinarian and that, according to a source, is among the reasons explaining why he was employed.

Meanwhile, Schottenheimer is chatting to Nick Saban about becoming offensive coordinator of national champ Alabama. He would replace Jim McElwain, who became the head coach at Colorado State.


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