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Are fans of the Jets losing trust in Maccagnan and Bowles?

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
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
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The New York Jets are in the middle of an early season meltdown as fans might very well start to lose their trust in general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles.

Looking at the history of the New York Jets, one doesn’t have to look far to see the historical failings of the general managers and head coaches. Only one Jets coach who was around for more than one season finished with a career record above .500 in his tenure (Bill Parcells – 29-19.) If you really want a good belly laugh, take a look at the general managers that have walked the halls of Hofstra and Florham Park.  Perhaps then you will see why Jets fans trust is so fickle.

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When John Idzik revealed himself to be a total incompetent at his historic press conference during the middle of the 2014 season, the rest of the NFL world got to see exactly what Jets fans had to endure. Going all the way back to when Weeb Ewbank retired after the 1974 season, Jets fans have been forced to trust “executives” that have had little or no success before or after being hired by the Jets.

How could this happen? Certainly, the head coaches these gentlemen have hired must be different. There is no doubt that in order to show how grateful these “executives” are that an organization has hired them that they will hire “can’t miss” head coaches with resumes glowing with playoff appearances, division titles, and Super Bowl championships. Certainly.

Uh…no. Outside of Parcells, none of the head coaches the Jets have hired since Weeb Ewbank had ever won a division title. Only one of those hires had posted a winning record for a season (Rich Kotite who posted two winning seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles). Perhaps even more alarming than that was that only one of the 13 head coaches (not counting Parcells) hired by the Jets in that span has gone on to lead another team to a playoff win (Pete Carroll). Only Herm Edwards with the Chiefs in 2006 took another team to the playoffs.

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The best thing about the John Idzik press conference and fans begging owner Woody Johnson to relieve him of his responsibilities was that finally, he understood that the fans demanded action.

They demanded a competent “executive” be hired to right the ship. Finally, the Jets would have the fans trust.

So knowing that Johnson went right out and locked down an interview with recently dismissed Jim Harbaugh, right? No.

Well then, he most certainly cornered Bill Cowher and found out what exactly it would take to get him to take over the Jets, right? Nope.

I know what he did! He then inquired with the Ravens about speaking to Ozzie Newsome! Wrong again? What about the Packers Ted Thompson? Still no?! Then he definitely asked the Steelers for permission to talk to Kevin Colbert! No?! Well then…What did he do?

Johnson then made a bold move.  Perhaps not trusting himself anymore to hire the right person, he hired former general managers Ron Wolf and Charley Casserly as consultants to find the next Jets head coach and general manager.

Doing their due diligence, Casserly and Wolf made the rounds and came up with Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles.

Once again, the Jets went with the “next guy” alternative that has been good enough so far to warrant an NFL-low two division titles. The Jets only have one season of more than 11 wins (12 in 1998) and have never hosted an AFC Championship Game. Heck, they’ve never even secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs and zero Super Bowl appearances.

Year one of the Maccagnan/Bowles regime that saw the Jets finish 10-6 and re-sign fan favorite Darrelle Revis away from the New England Patriots. They also brought back Antonio Cromartie, traded for Brandon Marshall and had the incredible luck of having Leonard Williams fall to them in the 2015 NFL Draft. Maccagnan then had an impressive 2016 offseason where he re-signed franchise player Muhammad Wilkerson to a long-term deal. He managed to negotiate a one-year contract for Ryan Fitzpatrick and not give in to his shockingly delusional requests for a long-term contract.

Meanwhile, Bowles demeanor and confidence was one that had the players respect and attention.

His careful breakdown of game film and the best way to prepare for opponents was incredibly specific. One thing was for sure and that was the Jets would not be unprepared.

However, so far through four games – four very tough games against very good competition – Bowles and his coaching staff have been anything but. The darling of New York, Revis, has suddenly – shockingly – lost it and is getting beat like a drum. Cromartie can’t even stick with the defensively deficient Indianapolis Colts.

However, the most disturbing trend is that the Jets vaunted defense – that features six No. 1 draft selections – has absolutely no idea what they are doing. Each week hopeless Jets fans watch as their defensive line filled with Pro Bowl players and future superstars helplessly try to adjust to opposing offenses instead of forcing their will on them.

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Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles on the sideline during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

While we now know that perhaps Bowles is overwhelmed and utterly confused by the fast pace of coaching in the NFL, we also know that his coaching staff is equally confused. We also know that the players are quickly losing confidence in a staff that admits they have been unprepared. Looking at the depth on this roster, we also see that since 2007 the Jets have spent all but two of their 12 first round selections on defensive players, yet their defensive secondary is one of the weakest units in the NFL.

Speaking of the draft, what can we decipher from Maccagnan’s first two drafts as general manager? While all but one of the 13 picks remain on the active roster, IR or practice squad, only Williams so far has shown dominating qualities. Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins were drafted to produce immediately, but while showing flashes, are far from being considered consistent contributors.

Lorenzo Mauldin, Deon Simon, Charone Peake, Bryce Petty and Devin Smith have shown promise, but due to injury, lack of opportunity or inexperience deserve more time before the verdict is out. The rest of the group are considered “projects” and time will determine whether Brandon Shell, Juston Burris and Christian Hackenberg can warrant their draft status, especially Hackenberg who could ultimately play a big roll in whether Maccagnan keeps his job.

Despite a general good feeling toward both Maccagnan and Bowles, the confusion, unpreparedness and disturbing lack of understanding on how to use their supposedly “dominant” defense, has fans very nervous. This along with incredibly questionable offensive play calling, especially in the red zone, will continue to grow the fans impatience at light speed if things don’t change very quickly. Already fans are beginning to whisper about being “conned” by the search committee and once again sold a bag of lies when it came to experience and understanding of what it takes to win at this level.

While there is still plenty of time for this regime to restore the confidence that they have lost in the first four weeks of the 2016 season, it is very important to understand the fragile nature of what Jets fans can take. If things continue to go downhill and the Jets finish with double-digit losses, fans will demand answers. If they continue to fail to  compete against the best teams, like they have the last two weeks, fans will want accountability.

Even in that worst case, non-competitive, double-digit loss scenario, most fans would probably agree to give this regime more time. However, the Maccagnan/Bowles regime would have lost all confidence from fans who no longer will possess any “benefit of the doubt” feelings.

Looking at 2017, the Jets face another potentially very difficult schedule outside of their division games. They play road games at the Broncos, Raiders, Saints, Buccaneers and AFC North. Their home schedule features the Falcons, Panthers, Chargers, Chiefs and AFC South.  For those who aren’t intimidated by those opponents, consider the fact that the Jets are already over the cap for next season. They will be facing a fire sale of talent in a make or break season for the current regime.

Judging by those factors, the 2017 Jets will be almost certainly be looking at another season of double-digit losses.  Unless the 2017 NFL Draft brings riches unequaled in the pathetic draft history of this franchise, they risk their first last-place finish since 2014 and just their second since 2005.

That would certainly be the end of the Maccagnan/Bowles era. After being brought in with the highest of promise and hired after a thorough search, they would have produced the same exact disasters, broken promises, lies and overwhelming failures.

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That worst case scenario has not happened yet and there is still time for this regime to justify all of the promise and praise they were brought here under. However, the clock has officially begun to tick and fans that have seen nothing but failure, misery, and unbridled ignorance are running out of patience. So far a regime that came with a lot of promise has delivered nothing but same old Jets!

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