Jets promote QB coach Jeremy Bates to offensive coordinator
Jeremy Bates is getting another chance at running an NFL offense.
The New York Jets promoted the quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator Wednesday, replacing the fired John Morton.
The team also hired Rick Dennison as offensive line coach/run game coordinator and Steve Jackson as assistant defensive backs coach. Bates also will continue his duties as quarterbacks coach.
Bates takes over an offense that ranked 28th overall and struggled with consistency — resulting in Morton’s dismissal last month after just one season.
Bates was hired last offseason by coach Todd Bowles to work with the Jets’ quarterbacks after being out of football from 2013-16. The 41-year-old Bates has previous experience as an offensive coordinator, serving in that role for Seattle in 2010 under Pete Carroll.
“Jeremy is a talented coach who has a sound understanding of what it takes to build a successful offense,” Bowles said in a statement issued by the team. “Having spent last season with us, he offers continuity and has a good sense of what we need to do to improve. I look forward to him working together with our offensive coaches.”
He has also worked as an assistant under Mike Shanahan in Denver and Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay during his coaching career.
The former college quarterback at Tennessee and Rice is the son of former college and NFL defensive coordinator Jim Bates.
The key question facing Jeremy Bates — as well as the entire franchise — is who the Jets’ quarterback will be next season. He helped Josh McCown have the best season of his lengthy NFL career, but the 38-year-old quarterback is scheduled to be a free agent and uncertain to return. New York also has Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg on the roster, but neither is considered the quarterback of the future.
The Jets could also be interested in Washington’s Kirk Cousins if he becomes available with the Redskins trading for Kansas City’s Alex Smith. New York holds the No. 6 overall pick in the NFL draft in April, and could target a quarterback with that selection.
Running back Matt Forte is uncertain to return, and a few other players on offense are potential free agents, including tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, center Wesley Johnson, backup linemen Dakota Dozier and Jonotthan Harrison.
Bates got his coaching career started in 2002 on Gruden’s staff in Tampa Bay, working in offensive quality control before becoming the assistant quarterbacks coach in 2004. He went to the Jets the following season as Herman Edwards’ quarterbacks coach. In 2006, Bates joined Shanahan’s staff in Denver as an offensive assistant before becoming the Broncos’ quarterbacks coach the next year.
He went to USC in 2009 to be the Trojans’ assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach under Carroll, who brought Bates with him to Seattle in 2010 to be the offensive coordinator. But he lasted just one year after the Seahawks ranked among the NFL’s worst offenses.
After a year out of football, Bates was hired by Chicago as the Bears’ quarterbacks coach, a stint that again lasted just one season when coach Lovie Smith was fired.
Bates spent the next four seasons away from football, including solo hiking the 2,900-mile Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada in 2014 — a soul-searching journey that took him about 5 1/2 months to complete.
“I think at the time it was the right time for me to step aside, find out some things about myself, and have the opportunity to do some other things outside of football,” Bates said last June. “I did a lot of hiking, a lot of traveling. I stayed involved with the game. I’m not going to really focus on my last four years. At the end of the day, I think it made me a better person, and I think it made me a better teacher.”
Dennison most recently served as Buffalo’s offensive coordinator, and served in the same role with Denver from 2015-16, and with Houston from 2010-13. He was a long-time assistant for the Broncos, where he coached from 1995-2009 and worked with Bates on the staff from 2006-08.
Jackson has spent 14 years as an assistant, including the last two as Tennessee’s assistant secondary coach. He has also worked for Detroit, Washington and Buffalo.