We'll be profiling in the coming weeks the several new members that head coach Rex Ryan and the Jets have added to the coaching staff for the 2012 season. Today's first profile: offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo:
It almost seems like destiny that Dave DeGuglielmo has wound up in the OL coach's office on the first floor of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Right off the bat there was his situation with the Dolphins as they began to transition to a new coaching staff after their regular-season finale against the Jets back on New Year's Day.
"I'm happy to be up here," Dave D said this week. "At the end of the season, what were my options? A number of line jobs had not been filled. Clearly the Jets had the most desirable job — three Pro Bowlers and a track record of winning.
"Being in the division, you learn a little bit about teams from the opposing sideline. You know which team you respect. You prepare a little harder, put in a little extra energy for them. For me, this was that team."
Connections don't hurt, of course. And who had preceded DeGuglielmo up I-95 from Florida to New Jersey? None other than the head coach who brought him to Miami back in 2009 — Tony Sparano, now the Jets' offensive coordinator.
"With Tony being here," he said, "the transition was almost seamless."
Going to the Dolphins to work under Sparano the first time was also a no-brainer for DeGuglielmo. After all, he was a four-year letterman and All-New England first-team lineman at Boston University from 1987-90. For his last three seasons at BU, his coordinator was none other than ... Tony Sparano.
Green and White Ties in His Closet
Coincidentally, there were a number of former Jets coaches on Sparano's staffs. When he arrived, Dan Henning (Jets QBs coach and coordinator, 1998-2000) was there and this past season he was on a staff with other ex-Jets: Todd Bowles, Bryan Cox, Brian Daboll and Mike Nolan.
Then there's the matter of how DeGuglielmo got to Miami. That leads to his ties to the Giants and coach Tom Coughlin.
"You find out it's a small world," he said. "My head coach at BU at that time was Chris Palmer. I graduated and needed a job. Chris called Tom, who had just started at Boston College and so I got a job as a graduate assistant at BC."
From BC DeGuglielmo worked his way back to BU, then to UConn, then to South Carolina, where his head coach was the legendary Lou Holtz — who, Jets fans all remember, had a forgettable 13-game tenure as the Jets' head coach in 1976.
"There I was at 30 years old, coaching offensive line in the SEC," DeGuglielmo recalled. "I spent five years with Lou, and I'll tell you, more people ask me about my time with Lou Holtz than about the Super Bowl or Tom Coughlin."
Those last two topics moved front and center on the DD résumé when he rejoined Coughlin as the assistant offensive line coach for the Giants from 2004-08. Shortly after the '07 season he was fitted for his Super Bowl ring.
With this background, DeGuglielmo brings a lot to the green and white table in terms of not only some familiarity with the new line he's going to coach but also in terms of the system and style of line play he's going to teach — which, not surprisingly, also has Jets tie-ins.
"I've watched all the tape on the linemen, and the things we can do are limitless with the talent we have," he said. "Before the Jets led the league in rushing in 2009, I went through that in 2008 with the Giants when they were No. 1 in the league. I know what that kind of offense feels like, what it looks like. This group has the ability to do those things."
This Scheme's Family Tree
DeGuglielmo's part of the offensive scheme will be unveiled over the coming weeks and months, having been handed down on stone tablets from another blast from the past. It's descended from Ron Erhardt, who fashioned his offensive approach as the coordinator under Bill Parcells and the Giants, then under Bill Cowher and the Steelers, and finally with the Jets in the transition from Rich Kotite to Parcells. Henning, and most recently Sparano, continued it.
"People say this is Parcells' system, but really, it's Ron's," DeGuglielmo said. "Every offensive system has a way of calling things, identifying players and routes, things like that. This system has a very distinct way of calling plays and formations. It's a traditional, professional, two-back, play-action type of offense, but it easily adapts to more open offenses. If you can use the term old-school, this system has old-school qualities with the flexibility to be new-school. The way we call it, you can go from traditional to spread out with ease."
Which factors into the "chunk yardage" approach we heard about when Sparano first arrived in Florham Park.
With all the Jets ties DeGuglielmo has, it's entirely appropriate that he also has strong links to another Jets nemeses in red, white and blue, more to the northeast than the Giants. After all, he was born in Cambridge, Mass., and grew up in nearby Lexington, Mass., before playing and coaching across New England.
"When I came into this league as a Boston kid with the Giants, then the Dolphins and now the Jets, it didn't go well with my family," he said. "I've had more unpleasant text messages from my own flesh and blood. They're homegrown Patriots people up there and the last thing they want to see is me wearing green.
"But when push comes to shove, they love me and hope I do well."
And when push comes to shove among the linemen at the Jets' complex, at training camp in Cortland, N.Y., and on the NFL's playing fields, Jets fans will join in wishing DeGuglielmo and his new position group all the best for the 2012 season.