New York Jets Fans Need To Be Patient with Woody Johnson and Company


Dec 29, 2014; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets chairman and chief executive officer Woody Johnson addresses the media regarding the dismissal of general manager John Idzik (not pictured) and head coach Rex Ryan (not pictured) at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Black Monday has stirred a lot of emotions in the Jets fan base. It was inevitable that the firings wouldn’t sit well with some of the fan base. The fan base has been split widely on many issues for at least the better part of a decade. We’ve had the lengthy debate on former GM Mike Tannenbaum, only to have it replaced with the divide over his replacement John Idzik. The QB debate has been going on for as long as I can remember. Mark Sanchez was debated to the point of nausea, dividing the fan base with every turnover. Of course his replacement has  likely caused even more division in his two-year as the Jet starter.

Combine that with the polarizing figure that Rex Ryan presented, and you have a fan base where one section “hates” the other portions opinions, to the point of turning on each other. My last piece at the Jet Press proposed that we as fans had an opportunity here to reunite, but it seems to have grown worse. The media in NY hasn’t helped; some of the headlines have been down right outrageous, and seemingly have been written to increase the divide!

The ongoing process of finding replacements for the firings has recently brought the fan base to a boil. Every one seemingly has their guy for the job and wants him hired now! There is also the group of fans that would rather lament the losses than look a head at replacements. Of course there is the group of fans that would put all the blame for this situation squarely at the feet of owner Woody Johnson. I’m a realist, I understand that no matter what is done to put management back together, it will never please the masses. As fans though, I believe we need to put aside the frustrations of this past year and display some patience. I believe we are heading in the right direction and I’ll tell you why.

Charley Casserly is on board ot help the Jets move into the future.

Owner Woody Johnson has been at work trying to fix the issues concerning his franchise. This past year was a public embarrassment for the Jets owner. We all know what went down, so I won’t rehash it. Johnson was proactive this year, even before the final game was played, Woody Johnson reached out for help.

The fact is Johnson doesn’t come from a football background, and he doesn’t fully understand the intricacies of the workings of the NFL. It may be unfortunate, but he surely can’t be blamed for not coming from that sort of background. He is a successful business man however, and as such, he’s learned that if you don’t have the expertise to succeed, then you go out and find the people who do. Johnson has done exactly that this time around.

His first move was to reach out to Charley Casserly, a long time league guy, who is highly respected. Casserly is the former GM and front office executive of the Houston Texans (2002 -2006). He also held that position and others with the Washington Redskins (1977-1999). Many will know him his work with the NFL Network as well as his coverage with CBS Sports.

His 23 year career with the Washington Redskins alone makes him a qualified candidate to consult for our owner in the search.  He started his career as an unpaid intern under George Allen and was hired the following year as a scout for the team. He’s widely credited with putting together the famous “Hogs”, finding both Jacoby Ford and Jeff Bostic. In his years with Washington, they went to 4 Super Bowls, winning three of those championships.

In 1982 the Redskins promoted him to assistant general manager. At that position Mr. Casserly is credited with spear heading the Redskins Intern Program, which has resulted in the development of 23 NFL executives over the years. He’s also worked for the league, being hired twice by then Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as a member of the NFL’s Competition Committee. He served in that position from 1996 -1999, and again in 2003- 2006.

In his years in Houston as the GM of the Texans he took  on the challenge of running an “expansion team” His drafts included Andre Johnson, Jerome Mathis, DeMeco Ryans, Mario Williams and Owen Daniels. There were criticism a plenty for some of his personnel moves while with the Texans, but it has to be noted that it is not easy to bring a new team into the league and bring it up to speed with established franchises.

My point here is Woody Johnson turned to a guy who does know the intricacies of the workings of the NFL. He started at the bottom and has worked his way up through the ranks, earning the respect of his colleagues along the way. Johnson doesn’t have that experience behind him, so he reached out to someone who does. As fans we need to be patient and allow Mr. Casserly to do due diligence in his search.

Dec 29, 2014; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets chairman and chief executive officer Woody Johnson addresses the media regarding the dismissal of general manager John Idzik (not pictured) and head coach Rex Ryan (not pictured) at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Woody Johnson isn’t putting all his “apples” in one barrel either. He also went out and brought in Ron Wolf to consult alongside Charley Casserly. In Wolf, he’s brought in another highly respected and long time employee in the league. Mr. Wolf started his career in 1963 with the  Oakland Raiders, serving in the personnel department. He worked for both the Oakland Raiders, and the Los Angeles Raiders. The list of names he is associated with during his two stints with the with the Raiders is impressive. Among them are; Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Ken Stabler, and Jack Tatum, all of which played together to win the 1976 Super Bowl IX. Later on he was credited with finding the likes of Howie Long, Marcus Allen and Matt Millen, which combined to win Super Bowl XVIII in 1983.

He worked in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise from 1975 until he resigned his job as Vice President of Operations in 1979, before returning to the Raiders. In 1979 the team he helped to build in Tampa Bay surprised many by going to the 1979 NFC championship game. Mr. Wolf is not afraid of challenges either, as he took on an expansion team and leading it to respectability in a short order.

Most recently he served in the Green Bay Packers organization as its GM from 1991 until he retired in 2001. Under Mr. Wolf went to 2 Super bowls, winning one against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. His teams while with the Packers went to the playoffs six years running and amassed a 92-52 record.

This is the second time an NFL owner has reached out to Mr Wolf to consult on replacing a General Manager and a Head Coach. In 2012 San Diego Chargers President hired Mr. Wolf for the same exact task. Mr Wolf has a long history of success in the NFL, and his experience speaks for itself.

Jan 29, 2014; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and New York Giants co-owner Jonathan Tisch and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and New York Giants former receiver

David Tyree

and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and New York governor Andrew Cuomo are joined by entertainers from the Rockettes and the Boys Choir of Harlem at ceremony to unveil the Roman numerals of Super Bowl XLVIII at Super Bowl Boulevard on Broadway. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Woody Johnson has reached out and put together a team of highly respected individuals who have proven success in the NFL. Both men are highly regarded around the league, and have proven they are not afraid of taking on challenges. Johnson has repeatedly said that he wants to put together a Super Bowl championship for Jets fans. On Black Monday he said he wants to put together a general manager/head coach team that can work together towards building a consistent winner. He learned from his mistakes of two years ago.  The decisions on Black Monday couldn’t have been easy for him to make, yet he took full responsibility for them, and is looking forward.

I’ve been highly critical of Mr. Johnson over the years. I’ve proposed many times that the Jets might be better off without him as owner. The fact is he remains our owner, and I think he’s taken some bold moves to try to return his franchise to success in the past several years. How it works out is anyone’s guess! Johnson and his consultants have come up with a long list of candidates for both jobs. This is not an overnight fix, there is a process that must be undertaken.

Aug 7, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets fans cheer during the second quarter of a preseason game against Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As fans, I believe we need to be patient. We need these highly experienced guys to do their job! We need to trust Jets ownership and stop the ridiculous attacks on each every name that comes up! As fans we also need to rally behind whom ever the Jets finally decide on. We need to give them a chance to succeed! We as fans have to power to change the perceptions put out by our often over critical media. Most importantly, we have the power to change our own”negative perceptions” of our franchise. This is a new beginning, not the end of the world! I’m trying to change those things in my writings, and I’d invite you to join me by changing them in your comments. Let’s rally together, set aside our differences and support our team whether “your guy” gets hired or not.

Well that’s where I stand. I’m one of those lucky fans that was around to witness the New York Jets win Super Bowl III. Its’ been many, many years since that day. I’m hoping to witness it once again before I’m gone. I believe Woody Johnson wants that as well. At least for now I’m willing to trust Mr. Johnson and his consultants. I’m willing to be patient and allow it to play out. How about my readers? Let’s talk Jets football!