NEW YORK — Chan Gailey will be running the New York Jets’ offense under new coach Todd Bowles.
The Jets hired Gailey as their offensive coordinator on Jan. 20, a move that had been expected since Bowles became head coach On Jan. 14.
The 63-year-old Gailey was out of football the last two seasons after being fired as Buffalo’s coach following the 2012 season. But Bowles targeted Gailey early to be a part of his staff, which is beginning to take shape.
Both Bowles and new General Manager Mike Maccagnan were scheduled to be introduced at a news conference at the team’s facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, on Jan. 21.
There appeared to be a holdup in Gailey joining the Jets as the sides worked out a contract the last few days, casting the hiring in some doubt. But the team announced the move and posted a picture of Gailey signing his deal on the Jets’ website.
Gailey, who replaces Marty Mornhinweg, has previously served as the offensive coordinator under Dan Reeves in Denver, Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh, Dave Wannstedt in Miami and Herm Edwards in Kansas City.
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press last week, Cowher said Gailey would provide Bowles with an experienced former NFL head coach he can lean on and a versatile offensive mind who isn’t “married” to a system.
“What I like about Chan,” Cowher said, “is his ability to be flexible and get the players to understand and, at the same time, believe in what they’re doing.”
One of Gailey’s primary tasks will be to try to upgrade the offense — which finished 22nd overall — and help determine whether Geno Smith can be the team’s starting quarterback.
Smith struggled throughout his second season, but Gailey has had success over the years getting production out of his quarterbacks, including Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh, Jay Fiedler in Miami and Ryan Fitzpatrick in Buffalo.
With the No. 6 pick in the draft, they Jets could also be in the running for one of the top available quarterbacks, such as Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota — the last two Heisman Trophy winners.
“When you look at the quarterbacks Chan has had, he’s had all styles and a lot of different types of quarterbacks,” said Cowher, a studio analyst for CBS. “The one thing that he’s very good at is putting guys in position where he utilizes guys’ skillsets. He’ll be diverse enough to give different looks, but he’ll play to the strengths of his football team.”
Gailey, who was 34-46 in the regular season as an NFL head coach, has also served as head coach at Troy State, Samford and Georgia Tech.
A former quarterback for the University of Florida, Gailey was a graduate assistant for the Gators in 1974 before beginning his coaching career as Troy State’s defensive backs coach in 1976.
(DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer)