Great job by Jets owner Woody Johnson as he made the right call earlier this week when he decided that GM Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles would be coming back and running the Jets in 2017. It was the correct call and it was the only call. Two years is just not enough time to correctly judge whether or not Bowles and Maccagnan are the right men for the jobs. Johnson made the bold statement, “they will get this done, in my opinion.”
He did add that he is “in the game of winning” as all owners in the NFL should be and he believes that his decision to stay the course will bring about winning days ahead. He also knows that his team will have to build through the draft and free agency and it will take some time in order to do so.
When Johnson makes the comment that he is the game of winning while the Jets are fresh off a season in which they went 5-11 and they have not made the playoffs since 2010, it is tough to take. I get that, but Johnson does not pretend to be a football man and trusts the football men he put in place to do their job and he feels two years is just not enough time to properly judge them.
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Johnson did not listen to public pressure or fan outrage and stood by what he believes was right for his football team in order to bring about long-term success. I said it a few weeks back in this very column that Bowles should be back because consistency in message helps to bring about success in the NFL. Now, there are a lot of things that go into winning NFL games and the talent of the roster tops the list. You certainly need a QB to win consistently, but you also need a message and a vision and being in a constant state of change and turnover does not help the cause. In fact it hurts it and makes a difficult job that much more difficult.
As he addressed the media, Johnson added, "I have confidence in Todd Bowles. I'm still very much in his corner. I think he's going to get better. I'm happy to have him and Mike. They have a plan to make the team better. They have a way to judge accountability and judge performance." Instead of embracing change, Johnson embraced being stable and sticking to the vision that excited him as an owner two years ago.
Johnson said there will be no playoff mandate for 2017 because he does not feel that type of declarative statement are ultimately successful. The decision makers will be judged by how the team is improving, especially their young players. Smart move by Woody Johnson because it takes a potential distraction and removes it as a talking point. Imagine if the Jets started next season 0-4, all the talk would be about the job security of Bowles. Those questions and that conversation will now not dominate the headlines or sports talk radio because Johnson stated the team will not be judged by wins and losses but by the growth of their young players.
Both Maccagnan and Bowles have been here two seasons and had one good year and one brutal season. It is just not enough time to properly judge them. I don’t know how much time they will be given moving forward, but I do know 24 months was not enough. We have already seen there are changes to the coaching staff of Bowles and there will be wholesale personnel changes as well. A lot needs to change for the Jets, but what didn’t need to change were those making those decisions. Good job, Woody, good job.