Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jets Pull Trigger on Sparano

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jets Pull Trigger on Sparano

Article excerpt

Rex Ryan was puzzled after the Jets attempted 59 passes against the Giants on Christmas Eve. Based on what he and the Jets did Wednesday, he likely will not have that perplexed feeling again.

Acting extremely quickly after the departure Tuesday of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, the Jets turned to the run- oriented Tony Sparano to be their new offensive coordinator. The Jets are quite familiar with Sparano, who coached the Miami Dolphins for the past three-plus seasons and was 4-3 coaching against Ryan.

Sparano, who was fired in December, compiled a record of 29-32, with his best season his first. In 2008, he led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and the AFC East title, only one year after they had gone 1-15 under Cam Cameron. Sparano's Dolphins clinched that title by beating the Jets at Giants Stadium in the regular-season finale, which also turned out to be the last game for coach Eric Mangini. He was fired the next day and replaced by Ryan several weeks later.

That was Sparano's high-water mark in South Florida. Miami lost to Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs, then posted consecutive 7-9 records before Sparano was canned with the Dolphins languishing at 4-9 last month. The Dolphins began 0-7 in 2011, and finished 6-10.

Still, he was an inviting target for the Jets because of his experience in coaching offensive lines and running games, something Ryan seemed to allude to in a statement released by the Jets.

"When we sat down with Tony, I knew that he was the right person at the right time for our offense," Ryan said. "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."

"I'm very proud to be part of such an outstanding organization and to have an opportunity to work with these players," Sparano said in the same statement. "I know this division very well and I'm looking forward to that challenge. I'd like to thank Mr. [owner Woody] Johnson, [general manager] Mike Tannenbaum and Coach Ryan for giving me the opportunity."

Sparano's hiring likely will not be the only move the Jets make with their offensive coaching staff. Fired Kansas City coach Todd Haley, a former Jets assistant, will interview today. …

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