Jets keep Matt Cavanaugh

Updated: February 13, 2012, 6:32 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

Quarterback Mark Sanchez regressed in 2011, but the New York Jets apparently don't blame his position coach, Matt Cavanaugh.

In a move that surely will cause their fans to groan, the Jets announced Monday that Cavanaugh will be retained as their quarterbacks coach. After a curious delay, the team finally released its full coaching staff roster, including Karl Dunbar, whose hiring as defensive-line coach was reported two weeks ago.

The decision to keep Cavanaugh came as a surprise, considering the overhaul on the offensive staff. Rex Ryan parted ways with his two most influential assistants, coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and line coach Bill Callahan. It was widely assumed that Cavanaugh, who worked side-by-side with Schottenheimer for three years, would be gone, too.

Former Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano replaced Schottenheimer, and his preference was to bring in his own quarterbacks coach, according to a league source. The Jets interviewed Todd Haley, a former Sparano colleague, and also expressed interest in Sparano's former coordinator in Miami, Brian Daboll. Haley and Daboll wound up accepting coordinator positions with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.

They ended up sticking with Cavanaugh, perhaps because they didn't want to eat the remaining year on his contract.

Under Cavanaugh and Schottenheimer, Sanchez made strides in his first two seasons, but he committed a career-high 26 turnovers last season, got sloppy with his mechanics and played poorly down the stretch. He set career highs in touchdowns (26) and passing yards (3,474 yards), but even team officials publicly acknowledged after the season that Sanchez didn't play well.

Perhaps they retained Cavanaugh because they wanted to maintain some stability for Sanchez, who will have to learn a new offense. Cavanaugh has been his position coach since Day 1. This shows they want to continue to build around Sanchez, perhaps an indication their rumored interest in Peyton Manning isn't as strong as some believe.

Dunbar comes to the Jets after six seasons as the Minnesota Vikings' defensive-line coach. He replaces Mark Carrier, who was hired Monday by the Cincinnati Bengals to coach the secondary.

In other staff changes, linebackers coach Bob Sutton was given the title of assistant head coach, replacing Callahan in that role. Coaching intern Mike Smith was promoted to outside-linebackers coach and Lance Taylor was elevated to assistant tight ends coach/quality.

The Jets also hired two assistants for strength and conditioning, Justus Galac and Paul Ricci.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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