They are still left with Rex's mess, Tuesday's news about 'Jaw-mageddon' just the latest gut punch to their former head coach's legacy.
It might take longer than the New York Jets thought to clean up the burning trash can that former head coach Rex Ryan left behind. This was a team that for six years carried Ryan's unabashed personality and swagger, something that reshaped a franchise seemingly forever stuck in the doldrums. But it also was a temperament, a personality that let the inmates run the asylum.
Now a new head coach in Todd Bowles is in town, preaching accountability and trying to sweep out the trash.
There's no denying that with a veteran team he inherited in 2009 that Ryan was the right man for the job. He let the players go about and do their jobs and it worked with two magical runs in the playoffs bringing the team to a game within the Super Bowl. But his style didn't adjust to a younger team, a team that needed strong leadership atop the organization.
And the news of the past few weeks, including Sheldon Richardson's arrest (as well as a league suspension for violating the substance abuse policy) and then Tuesday's news about IK Enempkpali's punch that broke quarterback Geno Smith's jaw is just another indictment on the old regime. This one isn't a blight on Bowles or a first-year general manager in Mike Maccagnan.
It just underscores exactly why the time was right to see 'Rex' go.
No one wanted him to really go, in fact, Ryan was handed some bad rosters his final two years with the team and didn't do a bad job of keeping these Jets competitive. But in terms of character and integrity he showed some serious misjudgments when it came to his own locker room.
A player on the Jets told Metro last week that Bowles uses the word “Accountability more than any other his vocabulary.” Players are fined for being late to meetings, not doing the right thing. In other words, the kind of petty things such as last year when Smith was late to a team meeting in San Diego.
Don't pin this one on the new regime, not yet. Neither Enempkpali or Smith or Richardson for that matter were brought in by Bowles or Maccagnan – all three were draft picks of the old order. No NFL locker room is perfect, not when athletes get paid millions to play a violent sport and are fawned over, treated like royalty and given preferential treatment that breeds an air of entitlement. But it is fast becoming clear that how 'Rex' ran things only made this a petri dish for a spoiled attitude to take root.
It is just more evidence that Jets owner Woody Johnson was right, that the old way of doings things was wrong and that the Jets needed more accountability in that locker room.
They got that in Bowles who apparently has plenty of work to do to get this thing right.