NY Jets: Mike Maccagnan must save their season
If the NY Jets are going to survive a disastrous trip to the West Coast that cost them their starting quarterback, Mike Maccagnan will have to have one last trick up his sleeve
Leading up to their Week 8 matchup against the Oakland Raiders, the NY Jets had a chance to pave an easy road to the NFL Playoffs. A win in Oakland would have left the Jets with an impressive 5-2 record. Equally important, the Jets would have held the tiebreaker over the Raiders, a team competing with the Jets for AFC Wild Card spots.
Unfortunately for their fans, the Jets once again failed to rise to the occasion. On an torturous day that saw multiple starters on offense miss playing time due to injuries (QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Geno Smith, WR Brandon Marshall), the Jets fell to the Raiders 34-20.
After the smoke has cleared from this dumpster fire, however, the Jets still have a winning record (4-3), a favorable schedule down the stretch, and the chance to make noise in a weak AFC.
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And there are still reasons to think the Jets are capable of making noise. Most of the concerning elements from the loss to the Raiders can be corrected.
The Jets’ defense – particularly their defensive secondary – was torched by Derek Carr, but appropriate coaching changes (replacing Marcus Williams with Dion Bailey at safety) and better preparation should enable the Jets defense’ to succeed going forward. And as more players make their way back from injuries (Nick Mangold, Calvin Pryor), the team’s overall performance should improve.
Unfortunately, not all of the Jets’ problems can be solved by better coaching or simply waiting for players to get healthy. The injury to Fitzpatrick threatens to end a season that was so promising a mere week ago.
The early prognosis (torn ligaments in thumb) for Fitzpatrick is not positive. If he has to miss multiple games, the Jets have to find a viable solution for the quarterback position.
Despite a respectable performance today (27/42 for 265 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception), Geno Smith is not the long term answer. Even if Smith shows miraculous improvement this season, the Jets still need an insurance option to back him up.
Enter Maccagnan. He has done a remarkable job of building a competent roster and bringing the Jets back to respectability. But he now faces his greatest challenge: finding a capable starting quarterback in a barren market.
For what its worth, Maccagnan is already on the job.
Per source, Jets already are making calls about potential quarterbacks who may be available to be signed or traded.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 1, 2015
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Short of pulling off a blockbuster trade, Maccagnan does not have any great options. Current free agent quarterback options are extremely limited, with names like Ryan Mallet finding themselves at the top of the list. And while there may be some backup quarterbacks worth trading for (Zach Mettenberger, Mike Glennon), it is difficult to pull off trades in the NFL.
This past off-season, Maccagnan was able to find a diamond in the rough quarterback in Fitzpatrick. If the Jets are going to remain in contention this season, its imperative that their general manager make one more clutch acquisition.