Last week the New York Jets moved on from offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. Head coach Robert Saleh is now tasked with finding an offensive play caller to develop former first-round pick quarterback Zach Wilson and lead an offense that did not produce a touchdown on the final 33 drives of the season. Gang Green will likely bring in a veteran signal-caller as Jets owner Woody Johnson called the position the “missing piece” to ending the second-longest playoff drought in the four major sports.
Today we look at New England Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley. Caley, 39, spent ten years as a college coach with stops at John Carroll, Akron, Auburn, Iowa State, Eastern Illinois, Arkansas, and Florida Atlantic in various roles, mainly on the defensive side of the ball. He joined New England in 2015 as an offensive assistant before becoming the tight ends coach in 2017.
The Jets interviewed Caley on Tuesday. According to ESPN, this is the coach’s first interview for a coordinator job. Caley is respected around the league, twice making it on NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero’s list of young NFL coaches to watch. Last year when Patriots OC Josh McDaniels took the head coaching job for the Las Vegas Raiders, New England head coach Bill Belichick blocked Caley from going to Sin City. When asked about making Pelissero’s list, Caley had this to say to Masslive.com:
“Obviously, you want to aspire and you want to grow and I have aspirations to do those things the right way through growth and trying to serve the best I can here. I’ve got a big job to do here. I’m hoping I can continue to help our team here in any way that I can. I don’t put a whole lot of stock into that stuff. There’s too many things going on and too many important opportunities for us here down the stretch right now.”Nick Caley, Patriots tight end coach
It is a bit curious that last offseason, while Caley had been mentioned to replace McDaniels as the Patriots OC, Belichek went with some weird combination for former Detriot Lions head coach Matt Patricia and former New York Giants head coach Joe Judge.
Caley, while sort of an unknown candidate, certainly does have respect within the Patriots organization. In an interview with The Athletic, New England’s long-time offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia explained why he believed Caley should take over for McDaniels.
“When you coach the tight ends, you’re coaching a position that transcends the entire offense. He’s involved in the passing game, so Nick has been in every passing-game meeting. And the run game, so he’s been in every run-game meeting. Nick has been in a lot of meetings, as has (offensive assistant) Joe Judge. They’ve got to get somebody who can mentor the quarterback. Somebody has to oversee the offense.”Dante Scarnecchia to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe
Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith spoke glowing about his coach:
“Nick is a hell of a coach and even a better person. There’s not too many guys like Nick in this league. I’ve been around quite a few good ones, but he’s as hard of a worker as you’re gonna get. He’s gonna come, he’s gonna have his guys prepared every day, every game. And, you know, he just expects the best and demands the best out of his guys. It’s a blessing to be in the same room with the man. Nick — I’m sure great things will happen for him in the future.”Jonnu Smith
Caley is an interesting candidate as the Jets cast a wide net to find LaFleur’s replacement. The Canton, Ohio native has never called plays at any level of his coaching journey. If New York decides to go again with a young inexperienced OC, the thought is they would bring in a veteran offensive line coach or assistant to help with game playing and play calling.