The future of Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets’ offense is now in Tony Sparano’s hands.
The Jets hired the former Miami Dolphins head coach as their offensive coordinator Wednesday to replace Brian Schottenheimer and take over an offense that struggled mightily this season as New York failed to make the playoffs.
“When we sat down with Tony, I knew that he was the right person at the right time for our offense,” 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.”
Schottenheimer, the son of former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer, was highly criticized for the Jets’ inconsistencies as they ranked 25th overall in offense. He also took a lot of the blame for Sanchez, a former USC quarterback, not progressing as expected in his third year.
Sparano, 50, now will try to get the franchise quarterback back on track, and he could get some help. Former Kansas City coach Todd Haley, known for his work with developing passing games, was scheduled to interview with the Jets today for a position on Ryan’s staff.
NEW AWARD NAMED AFTER TAGLIABUE
The Fritz Pollard Alliance has created the Paul J. Tagliabue Award of Excellence in honor of the former NFL commissioner.
The award goes to a league or team executive who demonstrates integrity and leadership in career development opportunities for minority candidates and advocacy for diversity on the league and club level.
The presentation will take place Feb. 2 in Indianapolis, during Super Bowl week. Pollard was the league’s first black head coach, coaching two teams during the 1920s.
The Colts hired Ryan Grigson , the Eagles’ director of player personnel, as their general manager. Colts owner Jim Irsay said he wants Grigson to make a decision on coach Jim Caldwell by the middle of next week. … The Bears received permission to interview four candidates for their GM opening: Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery, Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht, Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye and Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross. … Cowboys offensive line coach Hudson Houck is retiring after 29 years in the NFL. Former Raiders and University of Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan will replace him. … Officials from Shakopee, Minn., a city about 20 miles south of Minneapolis, threw themselves into the Vikings’ stadium sweepstakes one day before officials from Minneapolis and from Ramsey County were expected to submit their final stadium pitches. … Redskins linebacker London Fletcher is the recipient of the Bart Starr Award, which honors outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. … Falcons receiver Roddy White was added to the NFC Pro Bowl team as a replacement for the Lions’ Calvin Johnson, who has an Achilles’ tendon injury. … A preliminary autopsy showed that Michael Philbin, the son of Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, drowned. The 21-year-old’s body was recovered from an icy Wisconsin river on Monday. No evidence suggesting foul play was found during the examination.