The Jets


Head Coach Todd Bowles has, unsurprisingly, been fired and the replacement rumor mill is already starting.

I am really surprised that General Manager Mike Maccagnan sounds pretty secure. Maccagnan’s draft whiffs are legendary–only 10 of 28 of his picks are on the roster. The consensus in New York sports media is he is getting another chance solely because he drafted Sam Darnold, but why? Maccagnan wanted Kirk Cousins, an overpaid veteran who only beat one team with a winning record this year. Darnold was his second choice and even Darnold was not a particularly inspired pick–if you had to go for a quarterback in the draft because you lost out on free agency, Darnold was the clear safe choice relative to Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson. It is not even obvious that Darnold was the right choice, in retrospect, given Mayfield’s hot start for Cleveland (Cleveland drafted first, but Darnold was higher on the Jets draft board). And while free-agent decisions always look bad in retrospect, the biggest misses were ill-advised at the time (Darrelle Revis, Trumaine Johnson).

At the same time, the piece that most pundits miss is that GMs can grow. It is easy for us to think of GMs as springing fully-formed from Athena’s head, but you expect growing pains the first few years. There is a reason we promote our analysts after three years–analysts get better over time. There is a limit to this (I suspect personnel search may be the next target for NFL analytics, if in fact it is not already), but remember that Maccagnan’s last job was director of college scouting.

Separately, I do not really understand what the Jets beat writers think should happen next. The consensus is they should hire “the next Sean McVay,” a coach generally described as young, fresh, exciting, and innovative on offense. And then we hear the Jets should hire… 26-year-veteran Mike McCarthy? 21-year-veteran John Harbaugh? McVay was a surprise–if you want another McVay, you need to swing for the fences and go with someone unproven.

Finally, I wonder how Christopher Johnson impacts the search. Woody Johnson was reputed as one of the worst owners in the league (the Tim Tebow debacle was one of the clearest illustrations) and insiders seem to really like Christopher. Does he bring a more level-headed decision-making process?

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