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Jets turn to Mike McCarthy as intriguing coaching names rise

It looks like the Jets will get their crack at the biggest name on the coaching market.

The Jets are expected to interview former Packers coach Mike McCarthy for their head coaching opening, according to a report from the NFL Network. It is unclear if the interview has actually been scheduled and, if it has, when it would be.

McCarthy, 55, has been expected to draw interest from many teams with openings, but this is the first report of a possible interview. There have been reports of the Cardinals and Browns also showing interest in McCarthy.

The Jets fired Todd Bowles on Sunday night after four seasons with the team. Bowles failed to lead the team to the playoffs and the team’s postseason drought has now reached eight years.

In a pool filled with first-time head-coach candidates, McCarthy stands out because of his résumé. He went 125-77-2 in the regular season with the Packers before getting fired last month. He won the Super Bowl in 2010 and led the Packers to the playoffs nine times.

McCarthy would check some boxes the Jets deem critical and buck some trends in their recent hiring practices. He is an offensive coach who could theoretically help the development of quarterback Sam Darnold.

The Jets are not solely looking at offensive coaches, but the presence of Darnold hovers over this entire search.

“The person doesn’t necessarily have to be an offensive- or defensive-minded head coach, per se, but we definitely want to make sure they have a plan in place to develop our young quarterback in Sam Darnold,” general manager Mike Maccagnan said on Monday.

McCarthy would also end the run of first-time head coaches for the Jets. The last time they hired a coach with previous head-coaching experience in the NFL was 1997 when they hired Bill Parcells. Al Groh, Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan and Bowles were all first-time head coaches.

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson was asked Monday if previous experience as a head coach was a must.

“Look, it can’t hurt,” he said. “But that is not the be-all and end-all of this search.”

McCarthy does not come without questions, though. He needs to explain what happened in Green Bay. The Packers fired him on Dec. 2 after an upset loss to the Cardinals dropped their record to 4-7-1. There were reports of him clashing with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, which led to his firing.

Some have also questioned whether McCarthy should have won more in Green Bay with Rodgers and Brett Favre as his quarterbacks. He reached the Super Bowl once, losing in the NFC Championship game three times. His game-management has also been a point of debate.

Another interesting name that emerged on Tuesday is former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. A source confirmed the Jets have interest in Kingsbury, who is currently the offensive coordinator at USC, but it sounds like no interview has been set up yet. Yahoo reported Kingsbury is expected to interview with the Jets and Cardinals.

Kingsbury, 39, is considered a bright, young offensive mind. He oversaw an explosive offense with the Red Raiders from 2013-18. He was fired in November and was named offensive coordinator at USC a few weeks later. Kingsbury actually played for the Jets in 2005, playing quarterback in one game.

The Jets will also interview former Lions and Colts coach Jim Caldwell, according to a source. Caldwell, who turns 64 in two weeks, is 62-50 in the regular season. He took the Colts to the playoffs twice, making it to the Super Bowl in 2009. He led the Lions to the playoffs twice before getting fired after last season, when Detroit went 9-7 for the second straight season.

The other known candidates are: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieneimy, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken and Cowboys passing game coordinator/DBs coach Kris Richard.

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