Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Jets fire loose-cannon line coach
By Rich Cimini
Dave DeGuglielmo, whose abrasive personality irked members of the organization and made him an easy target for the media, was fired Tuesday after one season as the Jets' offensive-line coach.
Mike Devlin, who assisted DeGuglielmo in addition to coaching the tight ends, will take over the offensive line -- the most noteworthy change among several staff moves announced by the team.
Well-traveled Steve Hagen, who spent the last four seasons as the Browns' tight-ends coach, was hired for the same position. Former Jets P Louie Aguiar, who played with the team from 1991 to 1993, was named assistant special-teams coach. He has no previous coaching experience; after football, he started the Aguiar Kicking Academy.
Jeff Weeks, an assistant on Rex Ryan's staff in 2009 and 2010, returns as an assistant position coach for the linebackers and defensive line. The Jets have yet to hire a linebackers coach to replace Bob Sutton, who left to become the Chiefs' defensive coordinator.
Other hirings: Ron Heller, a Farmingdale, L.I., product, is the new assistant offensive-line coach. Pierre Ngo will be the assistant strength-and-conditioning coach.
DeGuglielmo's ouster came as no surprise. He was closely aligned with coordinator Tony Sparano, who was fired after the season, so it was only a matter of time before he received a pink slip.
He'll be remembered for his almost comical, ill-fated vote of confidence for Wayne Hunter. Defending the embattled lineman last spring, DeGuglielmo said, "Until they ship him out of this building or until they shoot me dead in my office, that son-of-a-gun is going to be the starting right tackle. And he's going to play well."
Hunter was shipped out a few months later.
DeGuglielmo is a tightly-wound coach who sparked a brushfire in November, when, in a heated interview session with reporters, suggested the front office was pulling the strings with regard to playing time. He made it clear he wasn't in favor of the Matt Slauson-Vladimir Ducasse platoon at left guard, saying the decision came from "high above me." That comment didn't sit well with the people high above him.
He did only three interviews during the year, each one more contentious than the last. In training camp, he warned a handful of reporters to take a step back from him, saying he needed room to spit tobacco juice. In November, he practically walked into the interview room kicking and screaming, making it clear he was there only because he had to fulfill the NFL media obligation.
By league rule, position coaches are required to speak to the media at least once during the regular season -- the bye week. The Jets closed their offices during the bye week because of Superstorm Sandy. DeGuglielmo, seemingly oblivious toward the devastating impact of the storm on the region, snapped at reporters, claiming he was available during the bye week. Team officials cringed.
DeGuglielmo was ultra-defensive, claiming no one in the media was qualified to criticize the performance of the offensive line. Truth be told, he didn't do a bad job, but he may have sabotaged his employment by speaking out.
"If you think this line stinks and I'm a terrible coach, so be it," he said at the time. "I disagree and I think my bosses would say the same thing."
He spoke too soon.