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By: Rivka Boord
The New York Jets lost their analytics coordinator to the New Orleans Saints. What does it mean?
In the past, when the New York Jets made a hire, it was a sign to other teams that they should never employ that individual again. Todd Bowles demonstrated that in his first season as head coach of the Buccaneers, while Adam Gase has rightfully never worked in the NFL since.
However, another team has now decided to hire away a coordinator from the Jets, and the situation seems different. The coordinator has been employed with the Jets since 2020 and is now getting a promotion.
According to ESPN’s Seth Walder, the Jets’ former football analytics coordinator, Zach Stuart, has been hired as the Saints’ director of analytics.
The Saints are hiring Zach Stuart from the Jets as Director of Analytics, per sources.
Stuart was Coordinator, Football Analytics with the Jets and had been with the team since 2020.
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) July 10, 2023
Stuart was not the Jets’ director of analytics; Brian Shields currently holds that role. Now, his understudy gained a promotion to the same position on another team.
What does that mean about the Jets’ analytics department?
A good thing?
If the Saints decided to go within the Jets’ organization for an analytics coordinator, that likely means that they think the team was doing something right analytically. However much Michael Nania and I may criticize the Jets for certain decisions, it seems that the Saints, at least, hold Stuart in high regard.
It’s worth noting that the Jets hired Stuart after he was a finalist in the 2020 NFL Big Data Bowl. His name circulated in NFL circles that way.
When Seth Walder of ESPN surveyed NFL front offices regarding analytics in 2022, the Jets did not rank in the top echelon of the league in any category, but nor were they in the bottom tier. The Saints, on the other hand, came out in the bottom group. Perhaps this is their attempt to beef up their analytics department.
Then again, the Jets’ analytics department is not that large. On the team’s website, their front office lists three analytics staffers: Shields, Stuart, and Manager of Football Analytics Jeremiah Whitmire.
It will be interesting to see if the Jets replace Stuart, and if so, who the replacement is. Robert Saleh certainly coaches in a more old-school manner. The Jets’ recent interest in Dalvin Cook also seems to indicate a disregard for analytics.
On an analytically-inclined site such as Jets X-Factor, we could not fail to note the loss of an analytics staffer. Perhaps that means the Jets are hiring smarter. Or maybe it’s just another situation of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) when hiring away from the Jets.
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Originally posted on Jets X-Factor