Baylor head coach Matt Rhule’s first public remarks since engaging in discussions with the Jets for their vacancy that was filled by Adam Gase were crystal clear: He will not make jump to the NFL without control over his staff.
The Daily News reported Wednesday that staffing issues were the sticking point between the Jets and Rhule. Specifically, team decision makers were not satisfied with Rhule’s choice to be his offensive coordinator.
The Jets wanted Rhule to have a more experienced assistant with NFL play-calling experience to help cultivate Sam Darnold’s talents, according to sources. They suggested former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who interviewed for the head coaching job, but Rhule understandably wanted to bring his hand-picked play-caller. That coach is a current NFL assistant with no prior NFL play-calling experience, according to sources.
“At the end of the day, I’m never going to be in an arranged marriage,” Rhule told KRZI-AM 1660 Waco Thursday when asked if he would ever take an NFL job without control over his full staff. “I’m never going to subcontract jobs to the offense and defense. I always want to hire people that believe in what I believe, that are going to do things our way, that are going to believe in process, that are going to be part of a program. I truly believe that programs win.”
The Jets should appreciate that arranged marriages typically fail. The John Idzik-Rex Ryan combo platter was an unadulterated mess. Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles’ relationship that was set up by consultant Charley Casserly didn’t work, either.
So, it’s hard to fault Rhule, who interviewed for the Colts opening last year, for not wanting to work with a person that he didn’t feel comfortable with. The Jets made suggestions other than Monken, but the point is that they did not want Rhule’s choice.
It’s a fair position for the team too.
Know this: The Jets absolutely loved Rhule during this process, but the current state of their quarterback position made it way too risky to bring in a first-time NFL play-caller.
Could the Jets really have a first-time NFL head coach AND first-time NFL play-caller for Darnold?
That would not have been smart.
It would have been much easier for Rhule and a first-time offensive coordinator to join a team with an established signal caller. But the Jets believed it would not have made sense to pair two inexperienced coaches with Darnold.
Rhule’s and the team’s positions were understandable.
The Jets just weren’t the right team at the right time for Rhule, who is highly respected in NFL circles and will almost certainly be in the coaching mix next year. He’s a program builder (Temple and Baylor) with leadership traits that will serve him well at the next level.
He’s going to be a coveted NFL head coaching candidate next year too.
“I told (my team) this should be something that happens every year,” Rhule said. “If our players continue to do the job they’re doing, of getting better, of improving the program, of taking steps, of getting to the next level, of representing Baylor the right way. If our coaches continue to do the job they do. Then teams should come and call year after year.