Jets fire offensive coordinator John Morton after 1 season
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By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Jets are looking for someone to lead their offense - again.
The Jets announced Wednesday night that they fired offensive coordinator John Morton after just one season. His departure means the franchise will have its sixth offensive coordinator in eight years next season.
Morton replaced the retired Chan Gailey last year after two seasons in New Orleans as the Saints' wide receivers coach. Quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates is a candidate to be promoted by head coach Todd Bowles. Bates served as Seattle's offensive coordinator in 2010.
"We appreciate John's contributions and wish him the best moving forward," coach Todd Bowles said in a statement posted on the team's website.
The New York Daily News first reported the decision by the Jets to part ways with Morton, whose offense finished ranked No. 28 overall.
Morton's play-calling came into question at times during an up-and-down season with the Jets, particularly when running back Matt Forte publicly criticized the game plan against Atlanta in Week 10 because New York got away from the run.
Both Morton and Forte said they spoke, and that the offensive coordinator was always open to discussions with his players and tweaking things.
"I've learned a lot," Morton said in his last meeting with reporters on Dec. 28. "As far as my personality, being more vocal with the offense, with the team. Listening. We had a period there where some players said some certain things and I listened. I think you should listen to the players and if it's good for the team, then we'll do it. So I'm kind of happy with myself that I listened because, listen, I didn't do this by myself. It's all with the coaches, it's all with the players. They make it all work."
Morton added that there were several things he wished he had done differently, but insisted that he would get better over time.
"I've had a blast," he said. "It's been fun. There's been ups and downs, but I've always stuck with my preparation. That's the way I was taught. Stick with your preparation and trust it. I think I've done that. I'll learn as I go as long as I do this job, but it's been fun."
Under Morton and Bates, quarterback Josh McCown had the best season of his career, throwing for a career-high 2,926 yards and 18 touchdowns before being lost for the final three games with a broken left hand.
The Jets had a better-than-expected passing game with McCown leading the way with wide receivers Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson having career seasons. But New York's inconsistency was glaring on that side of the ball, and with Bryce Petty at quarterback, the Jets couldn't manage much on offense while ending the season 5-11.
Offensive coordinator has been a revolving door for New York in recent years. Brian Schottenheimer served in the role for six years from 2006-11, but there's been little continuity since with Tony Sparano (2012), Marty Mornhinweg (2013-14), Gailey (2015-16) and Morton (2017) all lasting two years or less.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Updated January 17, 2018