Rhule’s rule: no ‘ar­ranged mar­riage’

Dis­pute over staff was stick­ing point with Gang, Bay­lor coach


Bay­lor head coach Matt Rhule’s first pub­lic re­marks since en­gag­ing in dis­cus­sions with the Jets for their va­cancy that was filled by Adam Gase were crys­tal clear: He will not make the jump to the NFL with­out con­trol over his staff.

The Daily News re­ported Wed­nes­day that staffing is­sues were the stick­ing point be­tween the Jets and Rhule. Specif­i­cally, team de­ci­sion mak­ers were not sat­is­fied with Rhule’s choice to be his of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor.

The Jets wanted Rhule to have a more ex­pe­ri­enced as­sis­tant with NFL play-call­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to help cul­ti­vate Sam Darnold’s tal­ents, ac­cord­ing to sources. They sug­gested for­mer Buc­ca­neers of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Todd Monken, who in­ter­viewed for the head coach- ing job, but Rhule un­der­stand­ably wanted to bring his hand­picked play-caller. That coach is a cur­rent NFL as­sis­tant with no prior NFL play-call­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, ac­cord­ing to sources. “At the end of the day, I’m never go­ing to be in an ar­ranged mar­riage,” Rhule told KRZIAM 1660 Waco Thurs­day when asked if he would ever take an NFL job with­out con­trol over his full staff. “I’m never go­ing to sub­con­tract jobs to the of­fense

and de­fense. I al­ways want to hire peo­ple that be­lieve in what I be­lieve, that are go­ing to do things our way, that are go­ing to be­lieve in process, that are go­ing to be part of a pro­gram. I truly be­lieve that pro­grams win.”

The Jets should ap­pre­ci­ate that ar­ranged mar­riages typ­i­cally fail. The John Idzik-Rex Ryan combo plat­ter was an unadul­ter­ated mess. Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles’ re­la­tion­ship that was set up by consultant Charley Casserly didn’t work, ei­ther.

So, it’s hard to fault Rhule, who in­ter­viewed for the Colts open­ing last year, for not want­ing to work with a per­son he didn’t feel com­fort­able with. The Jets made sug­ges­tions other than Monken, but the point is that they did not want Rhule’s choice.

It’s a fair po­si­tion for the team, too.

Know this: The Jets ab­so­lutely loved Rhule dur­ing this process, but the cur­rent state of their quar­ter­back po­si­tion made it way too risky to bring in a first-time NFL play-caller.

Could the Jets re­ally have a first-time NFL head coach AND first-time NFL play-caller for Darnold?

That would not have been smart.

It would have been much eas­ier for Rhule and a first-time of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor to join a team with an es­tab­lished sig­nal caller. But the Jets be­lieved it would not have made sense to pair two in­ex­pe­ri­enced coaches with Darnold.

Rhule’s and the team’s po­si­tions were un­der­stand­able.

The Jets just weren’t the right team at the right time for Rhule, who is highly re­spected in NFL cir­cles and will al­most cer­tainly be in the coach­ing mix next year. He’s a pro­gram builder (Tem­ple and Bay­lor) with lead­er­ship traits that will serve him well at the next level.

He’s go­ing to be a cov­eted NFL head coach­ing can­di­date in the near fu­ture.

“I told (my team) this should be some­thing that hap­pens ev­ery year,” Rhule said. “If our play­ers con­tinue to do the job they’re do­ing, of get­ting bet­ter, of im­prov­ing the pro­gram, of tak­ing steps, of get­ting to the next level, of rep­re­sent­ing Bay­lor the right way. If our coaches con­tinue to do the job they do. Then teams should come and call year af­ter year.

“It’s noth­ing about me, it’s a credit to them and it’s a credit to the job they do. I hope our play­ers al­most ex­pect it af­ter a while.”

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