The New York Jets might have a bit of a conundrum on their hands when it comes to their search for a new head coach.
After reports on Tuesday indicated that Baylor University head coach Matt Rhule was the team’s top choice to succeed Todd Bowles, former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is only focusing on the Jets’ job, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
If the Jets are, in fact, considering both candidates, they come from opposite ends of the coaching spectrum.
Rhule has never held a head-coaching job in the NFL and has only spent a year coaching in the pros as an offensive line coach for the Giants in 2012. At Temple University and Baylor, the 43-year-old has built the reputation of being a fixer.
He transformed a two-win Temple team to a 10-win powerhouse in the American Athletic Conference before taking Baylor, a program demolished by a sexual assault scandal, and helping them move back toward respectability in the Big 12.
The Jets would call for every ounce of his handyman abilities seeing as this is a franchise that has gone a combined 14-35 over the past three seasons.
However, Rhule can’t just recruit the players he wants to or utilize an annual roster turnover to help implement change. That’s not how it works in the NFL.
With a young core of quarterback Sam Darnold and safety Jamal Adams, this is a fairly young team that knows nothing but losing. It makes the hiring of Rhule, who has never led a pro franchise before, somewhat of a risky pick.
Especially when you compare him to McCarthy.
The 55-year-old coached the Packers for 13 years — delivering the franchise’s first Super Bowl since 1997 back eight years ago — where he ranks second in franchise history behind Curly Lambeau with 125 career victories.
While he’s been accused of being conservative, which his offenses have been at times despite possessing Aaron Rodgers under center, McCarthy has been a consistent contender. Under his direction, the Packers reached the playoffs in nine of his 12 full seasons.
His presence would provide some stability to a franchise that has had anything but for almost a decade. Since 2011, the Jets have had just one winning season, an unacceptable reality for a big-market franchise.