General manager Mike Maccagnan has received a mulligan while being given free reign to re-make the New York Jets. After four seasons, every Gang Green roster weakness can be traced back to misfires by the first-time General Manager.
Six years ago, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson hired an outside sports consultancy, who convinced him to hire as general manager, John Idzik. But that guy got run out of town after less than two calendar years.
Then, NFL insiders Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf convinced ownership to employ “tape-room whiz” Mike Maccagnan as the King of Florham Park. Maccagnan was a better decision — but not by leaps and bounds. What exactly did he show ’em in Houston to merit such recommendation?
Few Jets writers have been more supportive of Trader Mike. But results matter and the Jersey boy’s roster revamp is at best a blip above awful Idzik’s efforts. It is beyond sad that after recent offseasons viewing pre-draft Youtube highlight reels, even my mock drafts would’ve upgraded this team’s talent pool.
It’s difficult to imagine 2019 being that projected breakthrough season — because other than the promise of Sam Darnold, the Jets have offered their fanbase little to believe in. Here are a few Crüe song titles that relate to this roster, and to possible future moves, that may or may not involve Maccagnan.
4. Same Ol’ Situation
Maccagnan’s job gets tougher to defend by the week. In 2017, he pitched ownership a three-year plan, and Florham Park clearly wants to give him that opportunity. But his roster overhaul — going from old and slow to young and quasi-clueless — has played terribly. Following game after game of mounting losses, it now may be time to clean house and start anew.
Todd Bowles will go down with Lou Holtz and Rich Kotite among the Jets’ worst-ever coaches. Not sure why it took until the Buffalo fiasco to seal Bowles’ fate, but even he realizes he’s a goner. Coach hasn’t “lost the locker room” but his players do seem numb to all the losing (31 times over Bowles’ last 44 games).
Bowles’ Jets have been a strange brew of overconfidence and underperformance; undisciplined, unprepared, and weak at “Xs and Os.” Another Tuesday, another WFAN interview with an exasperated Avery Williamson, mentioning “dumb plays,” “not being in the right position” and “lack of communication.” In other words, Gang Green don’t play as a team.
So yes, the GM’s young talent has not been maximized under Bowles’ guidance. But where’s that handful of budding young superstars to build upon? Such answers only come from front office moves.
Next: 3. Don't Go Away Mad
3. Don’t Go Away Mad
Then he poured salt on the wound, first by awkwardly hiring John Idzik, and then by making perfect strangers Maccagnan and Bowles equally empowered with no hierarchy. It’s a dysfunctional arrangement that has yet to be rectified.
Many of the problems being addressed with this team, in terms of the lack of roster talent drop squarely on the shoulders of this GM in his fourth season at the helm. So it’s a sticky situation for ownership to hitch their wagons to Maccagnan for a few more years. Letting someone hire the next coach — which in essence is a promotion — who hasn’t really earned it, ain’t smart business.
Acting owner Chris Johnson has provided a saner face to this franchise than his brother but Maccagnan has to go for the benefit of fans that deserve better. More and more seats are either empty or filled with fans of opposing teams at MetLife Stadium as that should provide more than enough intel that this roster stinks. All of which makes Maccagnan accountable for an overall lack of talent over the years.
Next: 2. Take Me To The Top
2. Take Me To The Top
Let’s start with the good news: Of this 53-man roster, the MVP is Jason Myers the former Marist placekicker brought in before final cuts. Aussie punter Lach Edwards may be this GM’s lower-round draft selection. Long-snapper Thomas Hennessy quietly gets the job done, and Andre Roberts is this team’s best return-man since the late Joe McKnight way back in 2012.
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Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Avery Williamson, Henry Anderson, and Darryl Roberts may be the only NFL -quality defenders on this roster. Youngsters Marcus Maye, Jordan Jenkins, Nathan Shepherd, Frankie Luvu, and Parry Nickerson show some promise. Is Darron Lee poorly coached, playing out of position, weak in football acumen and/or just not a first-round talent?
It’s scary to think that the Jets offensive line is ranked No. 25 in the league, meaning that there are actually seven lines worse than this one. Injuries or not, Spencer Long‘s pricey free agency signing at center has been a disaster and will end after the season. Maccagnan extolled new O-line coach hiring Rick Dennison, whose schemes haven’t exactly thrived in Green and White. This team’s best young tackle is brutal tight end Eric Tomlinson. Needless to say, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to this part of the team that can’t be trusted to Maccagnan ever again.
Next: 1. All Bad Things Must End
1. All Bad Things Must End
Of the 511 players currently signed to the new Alliance of American Football, four flash Gang Geen pedigree. It will be interesting to see if Maccagnan’s greatest-whiff Christian Hackenberg can even outplay dreamers from Bucknell, Fordham, Catawba, and Dartmouth.
What does it say about the new league’s talent level when Kacy Rodgers II, Zac Stacy, and even woebegone Tannenbaum-ee Stephen Hill are in the mix? And just how many more Gang Green washouts should we expect for the launch of XFL 2020?
As for playing out the string, everything points back to Darnold. If the kid’s close to feeling well, he must play right away. And if he cannot play, why not give a chance to Davis Webb? What does winning a game or two with a 39-year-old Josh McCown even do for the franchise? Is this another instance of Hackenberg/Petty total ineptitude redux?
The Browns recently said that new coach Gregg Williams has brought stability to that Cleveland locker room. The fact that Hue Jackson‘s name even gets mentioned in the mix of possible Jets replacement is positively frightening. Ditto disappointing Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.
Whoever makes the hiring call, the Jets need to find that next great young offensive mind and give them the keys with Darnold. Forget about the New England Patriots or the New Orleans Saints for a moment, just look at the Los Angeles Rams or the Kansas City Chiefs — they are all playing a different sport than these Jets.