Ron Middleton, NY Jets, Senior Bowl
Ron Middleton, New York Jets, Getty Images

Ron Middleton will lead the New York Jets’ coaching staff in Mobile

The New York Jets announced on Friday that tight ends coach Ron Middleton will assume head coaching duties when the team’s staff leads the National team at the 2022 Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile on Feb. 5 (2:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network).

Quarterbacks coach Rob Calabrese has been temporarily promoted to offensive coordinator while linebacker coach Mike Rutenberg will serve as the defensive overseer.

This year’s Senior Bowl has made adjustments to the coaching situation for the annual collegiate showcase where the regular head coaches will serve in more of an advisory role. In addition to the elevation of assistants, the game has also started a Minority Fellowship program that will afford coaches at Historically Black Colleges and Universities to assist NFL squads.

The Jets’ staff will be joined by Morgan State head coach Tyrone Wheatley (an NFL running back for 10 seasons) and South Carolina State defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Jonathan Saxon.

Middleton previously served as the Jets’ acting head coach when full-time boss Robert Saleh was placed in COVID-19 protocols prior to the team’s Dec. 26 game, a 26-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I also can’t say enough about Robert Saleh for the opportunity to serve as an acting head coach during the season and certainly for this chance now,” Middleton said in a statement on the Jets’ site. “Our staff is full of deserving candidates, and I am proud to experience this week alongside them. Working with this group of extremely talented young men as they begin their professional careers is something we are all grateful to be a part of and our staff is excited to work with them for the week.”

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The coming Senior Bowl will be the first to feature a Jets staff since 1979, when Walt Michaels’ group represented the North side against a South group headed by Dick Nolan and the New Orleans Saints.

Middleton and the Jets will be opposed by the Detroit Lions’ staff normally headed by Dan Campbell on the American side. NFL running back-turned-Lions rushing coach Duce Staley will head up the group, assisted by tight ends coach Ben Johnson (offensive coordinator) and defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant (defensive coordinator).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email:
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8 months ago

Only HC besides Al Groh and Parcells that has a winning HC record with the Jets… Legend Goat status

8 months ago

Great way to motivate coaches after a long frustrating season. HC & OC’s concentrate on scouting , building relationships, and seeing the big picture