Better Late Than Never?
This time around, Johnson may have finally gotten it
Whether it was the bravado of Rex Ryan or the awkwardness of John Idzik’s press conference, the Jets had no idea what direction they were going in, while becoming a laughing stock among the media. That all changed when the Jets introduced new head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan. Not only did Bowles and Maccagnan win the press conference (a vital first step), but they shared their goals and vision to improve this franchise, which has not made in the playoffs since the 2010 season.
It took longer than expected, but owner Woody Johnson had finally woken up and seen the mess that was known as the New York Jets. Ryan’s act had gotten old with the team and fan base, while Idzik’s was being specifically targeted by the public in ad campaigns. Moreover, they lacked a single cohesive vision, due to having completely different personalities, which caused the team to be going in two different directions. Knowing that Ryan and Idzik would be fired at the end of the season, Johnson had hired two of the brightest and proven minds in football, Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf, to help him search and make a decision on a new coach and GM.
Casserly and Wolf put together a list of candidates that they and Johnson should interview for both positions. While they did interview coaches, the goal was to have a GM in place first, which would also help build organizational unity. Johnson’s first move was naming Mike Maccagnan, who was with the Houston Texans working as a college scout the past five years, as GM. Maccagnan came with a ringing endorsement from Casserly, whom he scouted for at the Washington Redskins.
Once Maccagnan was onboard, the Jets attention turned to a head coach. Knowing that the defense was still the strength of the team, they focused themselves on Dan Quinn (Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator) and Todd Bowles. While he was not a part of the first interview, Maccagnan lead the second Bowles’ interview to ensure he was finding a likeminded individual. After hearing Bowles’ ideas for the direction of the team, Maccagnan knew he had his head coach.
I give Woody Johnson a ton of credit for what he did through this whole process. He basically took a step back and told us “I need help” which was the reason he brought in Casserly and Wolf, the old Woody would have went out on his own and made the decision himself with no help, basically using his ego to make the decision.
He didn’t make the sexy pick when it came to a head coach, didn’t just blindly open his checkbook to a guy like Saban or Harbaugh or even succumb to the pressure to hire Doug Marrone after he used his out clause in his contract with Buffalo. Woody went out and hired the men he felt were the best suited to take the Jets to the next level. Hiring a guy like Bowles ensures Woody his teams will be much more disciplined than years past and he will have a players coach but one who’s not afraid to get after them either.
Bowles is not anything like Rex when it comes to the media either which is another good thing for Woody not having to deal with a coach who craves being in the spotlight. This is also a coach who’s come highly recommended and received high praised from past employers from his previous boss Bruce Arians to the man who gave him his first coaching job Hall of Famer Bill Parcells. They all said the same thing about Bowles, he gets the most out of his players and his players will listen and they’ll learn something every time he speaks.
As far as Maccagnan the jury is still out but he’s also received some pretty high praise. In Maccagnan though Woody finally has something that he hasn’t had in years, a GM who actually knows what a talented football player is, he’s a personnel guy who’s been scouting his whole football life. With $40 million in cap room and the sixth pick in the draft Maccagnan will get to be creative with what he does and Jets fans can all have faith that he will spend this offseason and he will not be as frugal as Idzik was.
As most Jets fans know Woody Johnson has been known to go with his ego on some of the decisions he’s made since becoming the Jets owner. He’s also been criticized for not being that sharp of a football mind so the fact that he had the awareness to hire Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf to help him out shows everyone that he’s learning to let some of his power go for the sake of his franchise. I’m not saying the Jets are going to be an instant Super Bowl contender but I think they’ve taken the first few steps in the right direction and this fanbase who’ve been suffering for so long should start gaining a bit of confidence in this team and owner.