Calling all Florham Park Jets fans! Are you still watching the NFL? Here’s a big reason to keep an eye on the Seattle-Carolina NFC divisional playoff tonight. You may be watching your next head coach.
The Jets interviewed Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn last week, when his team had a bye. Multiple published reports say Jets owner Woody Johnson and his consultants, Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf are leaning toward Quinn, though they reportedly also met with Seahawks director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner and offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable.
Quinn, meanwhile, has talked to five of the six teams with head coaching vacancies: the Jets, Chicago, Atlanta, Buffalo and San Francisco. He has also said he’d like to bring Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan — who was released on Thursday — along with him.
Quinn is simple and straightforward, as is the aggressive, man-to-man Cover 3 scheme he likes to play. He focuses on player development, and has proven adept at keeping the Seahawks’ locker room balanced.
“The thing I like about him is the realness,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas told me before the Super Bowl at the Meadowlands back in February. “He doesn’t sugarcoat anything.” He keeps us in the loop, and that builds the respect factor, that uncle or brother type. … It’s not just a business. It’s a family atmosphere.”
If Quinn is hired by the Jets, he’d be coming back home. A former offensive and defensive tackle at Morristown, Quinn began the football coaching career which has taken him across the country and back again because he couldn’t find a teaching job close by after graduating from Salisbury (Md.) University.
But why should Jets fans root against the guy who might be their next head coach? It’s about patience — and NFL rules. The league doesn’t permit a team to officially hire a new coach until after his team has been eliminated from the postseason. If all you Jets fans want Quinn now, Seattle has to lose.
That’s not an easy task for Carolina. Seattle’s last six opponents have scored three touchdowns and 39 points, none in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks are the first team to lead the NFL in fewest points allowed for three straight years since the 1969-71 Vikings.
“All year long, we’re fast, we’re physical,” Quinn said shortly after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, chuckling at the idea he made defense “cool” again. “We have a real style about how we play, and I thought that came out tonight. … We wanted to win it with fundamentals. We talk tackling. We talk turnovers every day that we practice. That’s what came through.”