by Rich Cimini
New York Daily News
Continuing their “Kids R Us” approach to assembling a coaching staff, the Jets hired Chargers quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer, 32, yesterday as their offensive coordinator.
Schottenheimer, the son of Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, will join Eric Mangini, 35, the youngest head coach in the NFL.
Mangini’s choice raised eyebrows around the NFL, considering Schottenheimer has no experience as a coordinator at any level. Because Mangini is a defensive-minded coach, the offensive coordinator is the most critical member of his staff.
That Mangini hired a coach with whom he’s had no prior experience also seemed curious, fueling speculation that GM Terry Bradway was behind the move. Bradway and Marty Schottenheimer became friends when they worked together in Kansas City. Mangini is supposed to have the final say on hiring assistants, but sources say that friction is developing between him and Bradway.
It was assistant GM Mike Tannenbaum, not Bradway, who was the driving force behind the Jets’ decision to hire Mangini. Tannenbaum and Mangini are close friends. Starting to get the picture?
Schottenheimer got the nod over Eagles QB coach Pat Shurmur and former Texans coordinator Chris Palmer, who was hired yesterday to coach the Cowboys’ quarterbacks.
Schottenheimer will replace Mike Heimerdinger, who was named yesterday as the Broncos’ assistant head coach. Heimerdinger was released last week from his contract with the Jets.
The arrival of Schottenheimer could signal a major youth movement on offense, which could spell trouble for aging veterans such as Kevin Mawae, Curtis Martin and Pete Kendall. In fact, Schottenheimer is younger than Mawae and Martin.
The organization sees Schottenheimer as a coach who can grow with the offense, also raising the question of whether the Jets might use their first pick (fourth overall) on a quarterback. Before the coaching change, Bradway said it was unlikely they would draft a quarterback that high, but Mangini may have a different opinion. Unlike his predecessor, Herm Edwards, Mangini has no allegiance to Chad Pennington, who is recovering from his second shoulder operation.
Schottenheimer received praise for the development of Drew Brees the last two seasons. No doubt, the hiring of Schottenheimer will spark speculation about a possible trade for Chargers backup Philip Rivers.