The New York Jets have an up-and-coming assistant on their coaching staff
The NFL will host its second coach accelerator program on May 21-23 at the Spring League Meeting in Minneapolis. This program invites 40 participants with diverse backgrounds who are “attending based on their high potential to be considered for a head coach position in the future,” per the NFL’s official website.
All participants are listed below.
NFL coaching accelerator program returns next week, with the following 40 coaches of diverse backgrounds whom league considers “high potential to be considered for a head coach position in the future.”
Deep list: pic.twitter.com/Y9ztUvh9Ap
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) May 17, 2023
The coach accelerator program is part of the NFL’s commitment to promoting greater diversity across the league. As described by the league’s official website, “The Coach Accelerator aims to increase exposure between owners, executives, and diverse coaching talent, providing ample opportunity to develop and build upon their relationships.”
It’s no surprise that Oden, 49, is viewed as a potential future head coach. The Cleveland native has one of the most impressive resumes of any assistant coach in the NFL.
Oden is entering his third season with the Jets after coming to the team in 2021 as part of Robert Saleh’s initial staff. After helping an exceedingly young cornerback unit look surprisingly respectable in 2021, Oden did a phenomenal job with the cornerback unit in 2022, most notably overseeing the rapid development of Sauce Gardner. Oden also helped facilitate excellent seasons by cornerbacks D.J. Reed and Michael Carter II, forming arguably the best cornerback trio in the NFL.
Gardner praised Oden in a tweet posted shortly after the conclusion of his rookie year, writing, “None of my individual accolades & success would be possible without my CB coach Tony Oden. He never let me relent and stayed on me 24/7. I’m very appreciative of what he’s done for me and want him to be a Jet as long as I am”.
I’m just sitting here looking back at my Rookie season… None of my individual accolades & success would be possible without my CB coach Tony Oden. He never let me relent & stayed on me 24/7💯 I’m very appreciative of what he’s done for me and want him to be a Jet as long as I am
— D’ROY GARDNER (@iamSauceGardner) January 14, 2023
Prior to joining the Jets, Oden already had a long-standing track record as a DBs coach in the NFL. He coached for seven different NFL teams from 2004 to 2020, including stints as a cornerbacks coach, safeties coach, and defensive backs coach.
At most of his stops, Oden oversaw tremendous success and development from his players. Most notably, Oden assisted in the breakouts of Pro Bowl cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Darius Slay in Miami and Detroit, respectively. Slay has been quoted as saying, “T.O. [Tony Oden] taught me how to play corner”.
In his final season prior to joining the Jets, Oden helped an undermanned 49ers secondary shatter expectations by performing at an elite level, highlighted by a resurgent season from cornerback Jason Verrett after he had played six games in the previous four years.
Despite Gardner’s wishes, Oden might not be a Jet for much longer. If NFL teams are smart, they will be calling him for head coaching interviews (or at the very least, defensive coordinator) once next year’s coaching cycle arrives.
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