One day after the Jets essentially whacked offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, they brought in a new boss to run the offense in Tony Sparano.
The former Dolphins head coach takes over an offense that was in the bottom third of the league in total offense, but has no shortage of talent.
“I’m very proud to be part of such an outstanding organization and to have an opportunity to work with these players,” Sparano said in a statement issued by the team. “I know this division very well and I’m looking forward to that challenge. I’d like to thank Mr. Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum and coach Ryan for giving me the opportunity.”
Prior to joining the Dolphins, his first head coaching position, he served as offensive line coach of the Cowboys where in 2006 he oversaw the league’s fifth-best total offense. In 2008, as head coach in Miami, he turned around a team that a season before had a 1-15 record, taking them to the postseason with an 11-5 mark. All told, he compiled a 29-32 record as head coach with just that lone playoff appearance.
Sparano will be called on to guide a Jets offense that struggled mightily this season as quarterback Mark Sanchez’s development tapered off and perhaps even regressed. Schottenheimer became the poster child for a discontent fan base upset at a star-laden unit that failed to produce results.
The Jets issued a statement late Wednesday saying Schottenheimer “inform[ed the] Jets he will not return for the 2012 season.” The timing of the Sparano announcement, within 24 hours of Schottenheimer’s departure, perhaps indicates this move was in the making for a while.
“When we sat down with Tony, I knew that he was the right person at the right time for our offense,” head coach Rex Ryan said in a statement. “I’ve admired his work as a competitor in the division for the past three seasons. His teams were always physical, tough and hard-nosed.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.