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It Looks Like the Jets Won’t Fire Brian Schottenheimer

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 13:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets talks with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer at Reliant Stadium on September 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

So here's what we know about Brian Schottenheimer's status, two days after the Jets finished out a terribly disappointing 8-8 season: GM Mike Tannenbaum says that the Jets "expect" him to return next season. As the Post points out, that's technically not the same thing as saying he'll definitely be back; but even working on the assumption that the Jets won't fire Schottenheimer, it doesn't necessarily mean he'll still serve as the offensive coordinator next year. And considering Schottenheimer is interviewing for the Jaguars' head coaching position, it's also possible he could go elsewhere even without the Jets firing him. Got all that?

ESPN reported over the weekend that the Jets "traditionally structure assistant coaches' contracts to allow the team to reassign duties," meaning Schottenheimer could face a demotion if the Jets can find a capable replacement. (That ESPN article cites a source who says the team would consider Norv Turner and Josh McDaniels, if either is available.) And Rex Ryan didn't necessarily clarify the Jets' plans when he spoke yesterday. Via the Post:

When Ryan was asked if Schottenheimer would be the offensive coordinator if he came back, the coach initially seemed hesitant to answer. He then said: “That’s what I’m saying. He would have the coordinator — that’s what his job title is, guys. He’s under contract to be the offensive coordinator. That’s what I’m saying.”

Ryan then added: “To say that you’re considering making a change, that’s not helpful for Brian. He’s under contract as the offensive coordinator. It’s certainly going to help his chances of being a head coach.”

With that choice of words, Ryan sounded as if he did not want to say the Jets were considering demoting Schottenheimer simply because it could harm his head coaching prospects.

Speaking of his head coaching prospects, both Ryan and Tannenbaum talked up Schottenheimer, who's in the unique position of getting blame for his offense's performance in one city while simultaneously interviewing for a better job in another. (One imagines Schottenheimer will attach this Times post — which argues that the Jets' problems have more to do with player personnel than coaching — to his résumé.) But assuming Schottenheimer doesn't land a head coaching job elsewhere, it appears for now that he'll be back with the Jets next season — in some capacity, at least.

Photo: Bob Levey/2009 Getty Images