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Jets' new coordinator has distant 'cousin' who can help rebuild offense

From ESPN - February 15, 2018

Jeremy Bates is not afraid of challenges and long journeys. We know this because he once hiked the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail -- alone.

That mentality should serve him well in his new job as New York Jets offensive coordinator because he has no starting quarterback and he inherits the 28th-ranked offense. This could make the CDT seem like a walk in Central Park.

Bates, whose anticipated promotion became official on Wednesday, has one of the toughest jobs in the NFL. He's working for a franchise that changes offensive coordinators almost as frequently as people file tax returns (six in the past eight years), and his depth chart does not include a single Pro Bowl player.

This daunting gig will be more manageable if he can help lure quarterback Kirk Cousins to New York, which would be the recruiting coup of the offseason. They have met only once, a pre-draft encounter in 2012, but they have a mutual acquaintance -- Mike Shanahan -- and that seems to have piqued Cousins' curiosity about the Jets.

In an interview at the Super Bowl, the soon-to-be-former Washington Redskins quarterback said the prospect of playing for Bates is "exciting." Was he blowing smoke, as pending free agents tend to do? It sounded sincere. You see, Cousins played for Shanahan (2012-13), who happens to be Bates' former boss and mentor. You might say they are from the same football family, with one degree of separation.

From a playbook standpoint, it would be an easy transition for Cousins because Bates' offense will be similar to the Shanahan system, a version of the West Coast.

No matter where he signs, Cousins will be the league's highest-paid player. Ultimately, he will base his decision on several factors, but relationships are important to him. He got burned in Washington by an organization that never placed its faith in him, and he's looking for a new team where he feels the love. There is a thought among NFL types that Cousins and Bates, who will remain the Jets' quarterbacks coach, would be a good fit because they are detail-obsessed workaholics. In NFL parlance, they are known as grinders.

"Jeremy Bates is not a laid-back dude," said former NFL player Matt Hasselbeck, who was Bates' quarterback in 2010 with the Seattle Seahawks. "Jeremy Bates is fiery, aggressive and allergic to the media. He makes Todd Bowles look like Bob Costas; he's not comfortable in front of the cameras.

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