The Jets plan to hire Saints wide receivers coach John Morton as their new offensive coordinator, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday.
John Morton, a 13-year NFL veteran who also coached at the collegiate level for five years, brings his expertise to tutor the Saints wideouts for a second season.
Morton rejoined the Saints in 2015, after serving as the club’s offensive assistant/passing game coach in 2006, when they advanced to the NFC Championship Game. His efforts with a youthful group that included Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman resulted in significant development for the trio. Cooks led the team in most major receiving categories, making 84 grabs for 1,138 yards and nine touchdowns, as he reached the 1,000 yard mark for the first time. Through Morton’s help, the undrafted Snead made his NFL playing debut and recorded 69 receptions for 984 yards (14.3 avg.) with three touchdowns. The 6-6, 225-pound Coleman made significant strides in his first full NFL season, finishing with 30 catches for 454 yards (15.1 avg.) with two scoring grabs.
Morton was a part of a staff as wide receivers coach in San Francisco from 2011-14 that helped lead the 49ers to three appearances in the NFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLVII. During his 49ers tenure, Morton’s top pupils were Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.
The wide receiver corps continued to make strides under Morton’s supervision in 2014. Boldin led the 49ers in receptions (83) and receiving yards (1,062) and became just the fourth player in club history to have multiple 1,000-yard seasons with the 49ers and the first player to do so in his first two campaigns with the team. Crabtree finished second on the team with 68 receptions.
In 2013, Boldin set the franchise record for most receiving yards in a season-opener in his first game with the team after recording 208 yards vs. Green Bay. Boldin went on to register his sixth-career 1,000 yard season, his first since 2009. It marked the first time since 2002-03 that the 49ers had a 1,000 yard receiver in consecutive seasons.
In 2012, Crabtree became the first 49ers wide receiver to surpass the 1,000-yard mark since 2003, notching career highs in receptions (85), receiving yards (1,105) and touchdowns (nine). Under Morton’s direction in 2011, Crabtree led the team with then career-highs in both receptions (72) and receiving yards (874), while adding four touchdowns.
Morton spent the previous four years at the University of Southern California as the school’s wide receivers coach. He also held the position of the Trojans passing game coordinator from 2007-08 and 2010, while serving as the school’s offensive coordinator in 2009. Under Morton’s tutelage, WR Damien Williams earned All-Pac-10 first-team honors and along with WR Patrick Turner, was a third round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Morton first worked under Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego as the passing game/wide receivers coach in 2005. That year, QB Josh Johnson set school records in completions (260), completion percentage (70.1) and passing yards (3,256), while WR Adam Hannula set a school record with 73 receptions.
From 1997-2004, Morton worked for the Oakland Raiders in several capacities. He began in the Raiders personnel department and then worked as an offensive assistant, coaching the wide receivers for two years (1998-99). Morton then became the offensive quality control coach in 2000 and again worked with the wide receivers until 2001. He was then elevated to senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach in 2002, where he tutored a pair of Pro Football Hall of Fame wideouts – Jerry Rice, who earned Pro Bowl honors, and Tim Brown, on a team that earned a trip to the Super Bowl. Morton was later named the team’s tight ends coach in 2004.
Morton originally signed with the Raiders as an undrafted rookie wideout in 1993, and spent part of the next two seasons on their practice squad. He also spent time with the Green Bay Packers in 1993 and was in training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. Morton returned to training camp with the Raiders again in 1996. He played for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts in 1995 and 1996, and later with the World League’s Frankfurt Galaxy in the spring of 1997.
Morton played at Western Michigan for two seasons (1991-92), where he left in 10th place on the school’s all-time receiving list (78 receptions) and eighth in receiving yards (1,278), earning All-Mid-American Conference honors as a senior in 1992. He later received a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Western Michigan in 1997. Morton came to Western Michigan after two years (1989-90) at Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College, where he received his associate’s degree in 1990.
PLAYING CAREER: Grand Rapids (Mich.) CC, 1989-90; Western Michigan, 1991-92; Toronto Argonauts (CFL), 1995-96; Frankfurt Galaxy (World League), 1997.
COACHING CAREER: Oakland Raiders, 1998-04; University of San Diego, 2005; New Orleans Saints, 2006; Southern California, 2007-10; San Francisco 49ers, 2011-14; New Orleans Saints, 2015-.
SOURCE: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS