New York Jets: Joey Clinkscales
This is what happens when a team misses the playoffs two years in a row, when a team loses 12 of its last 18 games.
Jobs are on the line.
Rex Ryan, who has two years and about $6 million remaining on his contract, appears safe. Owner Woody Johnson is fond of Ryan and apparently wants to give him another chance to right the franchise, which reached the cusp of the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2010.
One possibility is Joey Clinkscales, the Oakland Raiders' director of player personnel. Obviously, Clinkscales is familiar with Ryan. He's a former longtime Jets scout who spent five seasons as the vice president of college scouting, leaving last May to join the Raiders' front office.
The Jets tried to retain Clinkscales, but he opted to let his contract expire, becoming a free agent. It would be unusual, returning only eight months later, but perhaps the lure being the top football man in the organization would sway Clinkscales.
Tannenbaum could be re-assigned to another job in the front office. It's unconventional, but the Jets have done this before. In 2006, Tannenbaum replaced Terry Bradway as the GM, with Bradway remaining in the personnel department.
The Jets are sending feelers around the league, researching potential GM candidates, a source said. Another name that popped up is Baltimore Ravens senior personnel assistant George Kokinis -- another person with past ties to Ryan, a former Ravens assistant. Kokinis also served as the Cleveland Browns' GM.
“Ryan needs to just coach the players and let someone help him build a roster, not just a defense,” one league source said.
Ryan also could be looking for an offensive coordinator to replace Tony Sparano, whose days appear numbered. At least two names are on the radar -- San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner and former Ravens coordinator Cam Cameron, according to sources.
Turner, who beat Ryan last Sunday, is expected to be fired. During the run-up to last week's game, he told reporters he wants to stay in coaching and would be interested in coordinator positions. Cameron was fired recently by the Ravens; he and Ryan worked on the Baltimore staff in 2008.
In one year under Sparano, the Jets have plummeted to 30th in total offense. The Tim Tebow debacle -- the failure to find a consistent role for him -- will go on Sparano's record. He also was undermined by injuries to starting wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill and tight end Dustin Keller.
Sparano has declined to comment on his job security, but he believes the offense has potential in 2013 with a healthy cast.
"What I am as a coach ... is for somebody else to evaluate -- and, obviously, there are a lot of people evaluating me," he said, alluding to critics. "All that being said, I think when we had those pieces, which wasn't very long, I thought we were getting really close to where we needed to be."
In fact, the three players played only two quarters together -- in Week 1.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine also has an uncertain future, with reports surfacing last week that he rejected a contract extension early in the season. He declined to discuss his contract, but he said he hopes to remain with the Jets.
One coach who won't be back is special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, 64, who is retiring after three decades in the NFL.
"I've been here 12 years, that's a long time,” Westhoff said. "It's time for me to go. Every coach has a shelf life. Sometimes change is a good thing."
Make no mistake, there will be a lot of changes around the Jets.
Mike Tannenbaum was asked yesterday if he would be trading up this year, and he didn't even try to be cagey about it.
"I told these guys we are not trading up this year," said Tannenbaum, flanked by head scout Joey Clinkscales and Terry Bradway. "No matter what happens, grab the phones! I don't want to trade up, but we'll see what happens. I think we're happy with where we are, but we'll let the board dictate what we do. I like where we are. I want to keep our first two picks where we are.
"We should get two good football players that can help us. We know what their salaries reasonably should be. We try to put that into the budget the next two or three years. As we make these other acquisitions, those picks are going to be important for us for strategic planning purposes moving forward."
But can Tannenbaum help himself? For the right pass rusher? For the right safety?
There are certain players we identify as guys that within reason if they got to a certain point we'd consider to try to go up and get," Bradway said. "So you play that out in the first round, because you don't know who is going to be there in the second or third round. It's interesting. We have some good conversations. Mike's done a great job in being aggressive and getting players. I think at one point he was a quantity versus quality guy, now he's come around to the other side."
In other news, The Smoking Gun documents from the Ben Roethlisberger investigation are disturbing. If Pittsburgh dropped WR Santonio Holmes for his substance and other off-the-field issues, it's hard to think they keep their QB given what's in there.
Fans can be pretty tolerant regarding the misbehavior of their own players (see Barry Bonds), but Roethlisberger may have crossed even that line.