Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new general manager Mike Maccagnan (left), owner Woody Johnson (center), and new head coach Todd Bowles (right) pose for a photo during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets recently held their annual Town Hall event with many fans in attendance for the chance to understand the mindset of the organization. Here are the three biggest takeaways.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the town hall event hosted by the New York Jets at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury. This event provides Jets fans a unique opportunity to have a face to face encounter with head coach Todd Bowles, general manager Mike Maccagnan, team president Neil Glat, and owner/chairman Woody Johnson.
The fans in attendance were also given an opportunity to ask the brass about this past offseason and plans for the remainder of 2016 and beyond. Here are three of the biggest takeaways.
Without further ado, here are the top three takeaways from the event.
Next: 3. Addressing special teams
Jan 1, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Jalin Marshall (7) fields a punt against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half of the 2016 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
3. Addressing special teams
It’s no secret the Jets struggled mightily on special teams. Not only in terms of receiving kickoffs and punts but defending them as well. Bowles and Maccagnan understood this which is why the Jets hired new special teams coordinator Brant Boyer and acquired a few players to compete to be their return man.
Free agent acquisitions Chandler Worthy and Jeremy Ross and undrafted free agents Jalin Marshall and Robby Anderson will all get opportunities to compete for kick return and punt return reps according to Bowles.
The Jets also signed two punters after the 2016 NFL Draft, Lachlan Edwards and Tom Hackett. The Jets need an overhaul on special teams and Bowles and Maccagnan appear to have tackled this problem head on.
Special teams has been infused with new talent as Boyer will surely get this unit back to being able to contribute from that aspect of the team unlike last year. It’s expected they should be much improved heading into the regular season.
Next: 2. Darron Lee was target all along
2. Darron Lee was target all along
Darron Lee was the Jets’ first round pick in this year’s draft. Many wondered if the Jets would opt to draft a quarterback such as Paxton Lynch with the 20th pick but ultimately they decided to pick the explosive Buckeye. When asked by a young kid why they passed on Paxton Lynch, Maccagnan simply said, “we liked Darron more than Paxton…”
Bowles also seemed very excited about Lee. When going over highlight film, Bowles talked about his amazing explosiveness and his ability to track the ball. He also said he sees Lee as more of an inside linebacker.
When asked if Lee could cover a certain tight end from New England, Bowles felt that wasn’t really the reason he was brought in and he sees Lee as more of a pass rusher and run defender first and foremost.
Lee is for sure an exciting talent and there is a good chance he can be an instant impact on the Jets defense and perhaps a candidate for defensive rookie of the year.
Next: 1. No official answer at quarterback
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass during the third quarter of game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. New York Jets defeat the New England Patriots 26-20 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
1. No official answer at quarterback
Unsurprisingly, the Ryan Fitzpatrick situation was the first question asked by host Bob Wischusen and it was a question that was asked multiple times. One child asked Maccagnan, “when will you stop the garbage and re-sign Fitzpatrick?”
In perhaps not those words, many if not all Jets fans have had that question in their heads for practically the entire offseason.
When one fan asked if he should keep the Ryan Fitzpatrick jersey he was wearing that evening, Bowles responded with the line of the night, “I think you hold onto the jersey, if we sign him back, you have a good one. If not, you have a collector’s item.”
Other than the witty response, Bowles and Maccagnan remained mum on the situation. When asked about reports surfacing that Fitzpatrick was offered a three-year deal, Maccagnan declined to comment directly but did say, “it’s a process”.
As for who is the starter right now, Bowles proclaimed that quarterback Geno Smith is the starter going into training camp and although he wasn’t asked explicitly, he didn’t seem to indicate that there was a competition or that the Jets were looking for alternative options such as a trade.
Second round draft pick quarterback Christian Hackenberg is seen as a project at this point. Bowles pointed out his high IQ and great arm strength as reasons for the Jets drafting him with the 51st pick but said there were things he needed work on such as decision making and going through progressions.
One of the more intriguing questions of the night was a question about virtual reality and how it helps the quarterbacks. Bowles believes it’s more of a benefit for younger quarterbacks and backups because they don’t get as many reps as the starter.