4 things to know about new Jets cornerbacks coach Tony Oden

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Sam Neumann
·3 min read
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Robert Saleh continued to add to his first Jets coaching staff this week, hiring three defensive assistant coaches. That includes Tony Oden, who will serve as a senior defensive assistant and the team’s cornerbacks coach.

Oden has a great deal of coaching experience, spending significant time in the collegiate ranks before moving to the NFL in 2004. Oden is the latest former 49ers defensive assistant to follow Saleh to New York.

Let’s get to know a little bit more about New York’s newest cornerbacks coach.

Familiar feel

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Oden recently served as San Francisco's defensive backs/cornerbacks coach under Saleh in 2020. Oden will serve in a similar capacity with his new team after doing a stand-up job with a position group that was decimated by injuries this past season. Under Oden's guidance, Jason Verrett was able to have a significant bounce-back year. The oft-injured veteran cornerback was Pro Football Focus' eighth-highest graded cornerback, while PFF ranked San Francisco's secondary as the 11th-best in the NFL.

Extensive coaching experience

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Oden has been around the block and back. He began his coaching career at the Millersville University of Pennsylvania in 1996. From there he continued to make his way through the college ranks with stops at Boston College, Army West Point, East Carolina and Eastern Michigan. Oden was finally promoted to the big leagues in 2004 when he was hired to be the Texans' assistant defensive backs coach. After a short stint in Houston, Oden became Sean Payton's assistant secondary coach in New Orleans from 2006-10, while later serving as just the secondary coach in 2011. Oden would then coach the Jaguars' defensive backs in 2012 before moving onto Tampa Bay to be the Buccaneers' defensive backs and cornerbacks coach. From 2014-17, Oden was the Lions' defensive backs and cornerbacks coach. After Jim Caldwell was let go, Oden headed to Miami, where he coached the defensive backs under ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase. After Gase was fired by the Dolphins, Oden was retained by Brian Flores as Miami's safeties coach for a season before departing for San Francisco for the 2020 season.

College linebacker

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Although he's coached in the secondary for the majority of his career, Oden played as a linebacker for Baldwin-Wallace College, a Division III program in Berea, Ohio. Oden earned First-Team Ohio-Atheltic Conference honors twice in addition to being named a 1994 Division III All-American. He recorded 160 total tackles across his time with the Yellow Jackets.

Work with cornerbacks

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Oden has worked with some of the game's biggest players on the NFL's biggest stage. Dating back to 2010 when he was with the Saints, Oden's secondary aided New Orleans defense to finish fourth in the league in total defense, allowing under 200 passing yards per game. The Saints would go on to defeat the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, giving Oden his only championship. Staying in the NFC South, Oden led a Tampa Bay cornerbacks room headlined by former Jets great Darrelle Revis back in 2013. Revis earned Pro Bowl honors while the Buccaneers ranked third in the league in interceptions with 21. Throughout his time with the Lions, Oden helped turn Darius Slay into one of the better players at his position. Slay had a breakout season in 2017, recording a career-high eight interceptions while leading the NFL with 26 passes defended. Slay was named a First-Team All-Pro while being the first Lions cornerback to be selected to the Pro Bowl since 2004. From 2014-17, the Lions recorded 58 interceptions, good enough for the ninth-most in the league over that span. Working for Gase in Miami, Oden led a Dolphins secondary that recorded 17 of the team's 21 interceptions in 2018. Xavien Howard registered seven of those 17, beginning to blossom into one of the better young cornerbacks in the league with Oden's assistance.