- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Rex Ryan filled out his coaching staff Thursday, hiring former Auburn defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder as the linebackers coach. Now, at last, the rumors about Rob Ryan reuniting with his twin brother can be put to rest. Besides, Rob reportedly will be hired as the Saints' defensive coordinator.
VanGorder replaces Bob Sutton, who left to become the Chiefs' defensive coordinator. VanGorder was fired after only one season with Auburn. Before that, he was the Falcons' defensive coordinator from 2008 to 2011. He could be a key hire because, with the ninth overall pick in the draft, the Jets could pick a linebacker, perhaps Jarvis Jones (Georgia). Interestingly, VanGorder was the Georgia coordinator from 2001 to 2004.
The Jets also announced the hiring of Bobby April III, a quality-control coach for defense.
This marked the most staff upheaval in Ryan's four seasons as the Jets' coach. He has eight new coaches, counting coordinators, position coaches and assistant position coaches. The newcomers:
Marty Mornhinweg (offensive coordinator), Steve Hagen (tight ends), David Lee (quarterbacks), Tim McDonald (secondary), VanGorder, Louie Aguiar (assistant special teams), Ron Heller (assistant offensive line), and Jeff Weeks (assistant defensive line/linebackers). This is Weeks' second stint under Ryan.
Here are the holdover coaches in new positions: Dennis Thurman (defensive coordinator), Ben Kotwica (special teams coordinator), Mike Devlin (offensive line) and Brian Smith (assistant secondary).
Here are the holdover coaches that remained in their positions: Karl Dunbar (defensive line), Sanjay Lal (wide receivers) and Anthony Lynn (running backs).
Here's an interesting nugget: Tony Sparano, Jr., whose father was fired as offensive coordinator, remains with the team. He's listed as an offensive intern. Awkward?