New York Jets Owner Woody Johnson decided to part ways with Rex Ryan and maligned GM John Izdik after a dismal 4-12 season. Izdik was stingy with the Jets salary cap and made no significant moves last off-season outside of Eric Decker, which didn’t help the problems in the Jets anemic secondary. Rex Ryan was the New York Jets head coach for five seasons and although the team did make two AFC championship games, Ryan never showed that he was able to put together a modern offense. The Jets have chosen their replacements in general manager Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles.
Mike Maccagnan is a polar opposite of former GM John Izdik. He has many years of experience in actually evaluating talent and is a ‘football guy’. Izdik was known as a ‘cap guy’ mare concerned with saving money than filling holes on the team. Maccagnan has over 20 years of experience in the NFL and was a part of the Houston Texans drafting multiple impact players including DeAndre Hopkins, DJ Swearinger and Alfred Blue. Even though Jets fans would like to hear that he was responsible for drafting J.J. Watt, he was the assistant director during this pick as well as the pick of cornerback Kareem Jackson who is a free agent the Jets should be targeting this upcoming off-season.
Maccagnan is the right man for this job. The New York Jets are going from a guy who has been called a ‘pencil pusher’ to a guy with real football acumen, who will probably bring in someone to do the cap crunching job that John Izdik did with the team. Maccagnan will be heading into a disgruntled fan base with high hopes, however he will have nearly $50 million dollars in cap space to work with a fill a roster with gaping holes everywhere. He will be heavily scrutinized in his first draft come May and will need to draft quality talent early, something the Jets have been hit or miss with in recent seasons.
Much to the chagrin of many Jets fans, Woody Johnson also decided to hire a new head coach no named Dan Quinn. Former NFL safety and longtime defensive coach Todd Bowles will lead the team out of the Rex Ryan era. Bowles has been the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator for two seasons and did a solid job especially given the cards he was dealt this past season. The Cardinals lost a bunch of key defensive players including run-stuffer Darnell Docket, tackling machine Daryl Washington, pass-rushing specialist John Abraham. Factor all those losses in with Tyrann Mathieu returning from a torn ACL in the previous season and one would figure a major downfall for the defense, but that just wasn’t the case.
Bowles showed how great of a coach he is by being the main reason the Cardinals won 11 games this past season, consider that accomplishment with a second and third string quarterback playing. The numbers might not back up how good Bowles is because the Cardinals did give up a lot of yards, however as previously stated they played with two backup quarterbacks for a majority of the season, meaning this defense was daunted with the task of having to win games by themselves. Also the Cardinals were top five in takeaways on defense, something the Jets defense, even under Rex Ryan’s defensive watch, just couldn’t do.
This is the right direction for the Jets franchise to go in considering the other candidates that were out there. Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would have been another solid choice, but in picking Bowles the team won’t have to undergo a complete scheme change as the new head coach runs an attacking 3-4 scheme a la Rex Ryan, but will also run the wide-nine technique in pass-rushing situations. Bowles biggest issues will be fixing the offensive side of the ball where the Jets need new offensive lineman, at least one speed receiver outside of Eric Decker and to figure out the direction at quarterback where currently Geno Smith seems like the only option. New York Jets fans won’t be excited about it, but rumors are already swirling that Bowles will hire former NFL head coach Chan Gailey as the offensive coordinator. These moves are all a step in the right direction for a team and fan base that desperately needed a culture change in the worst way.