CHAPPAQUA, NY – In upstate NY for a leadership conference. This means that your good Deacon Blaber hasn’t had a lot of time to focus on sports. The one thing that did get my attention this week is my beloved, NY Jets. The beleaguered team’s owner, Robert “Woody” Johnson, introduced new general manager, Mike Maccagnan, and new head coach, Todd Bowles. So, this other NY “triangle” will be our focus.
Woody Johnson: It was a bit of a gamble hiring two guys that have no history as a head coach or GM. The bigger issue, though, is you have guys with no history of working together. Normally, you hire your GM and have him help you select your head coach. However, Woody went and chose both at relatively the same time. Johnson selected these guys with the help of his advisers, so that was bold. The fact that he chose guys that had little hype and were 2nd lieutenants looking to move up in the ranks, is a good thing, too. Woody showed he willing to take a chance on new guys and not recycle, a la Angry Ward’s article last weeek. It is a bold move for both positions so, love him or hate him, at least he took a chance and took the unbeaten path.
Mike Maccagan: Johnson’s new GM is Mike MacCagan. Mike is a a guy born in Jersey and has traveled the world due to football. The main thing that impresses me is that Maccagan spent the last 10 years heading up college scouting for the Houston Texans. The Texans have made some really good picks over the years, including JJ Watt, who was picked on Maccagan’s watch. (Watt could play some offense in the Pro Bowl, by the way). Anyway, the Jets have a horrible history of draft picks. Either they pick a can’t-miss guy that misses – Blair Thomas, Browning Nagle, Johnny Mitchell, Mark Sanchise – or a guy with high upside that fails… Vernon Gholston.
It is is interesting to note that jettisoned former GM, and now director of scouting Terry Bradway, was huge on selecting Russell Wilson… and the Jets didn’t draft him with the 1st or 2nd pick and hoped he would fall to the 3rd round. But Seattle took him 2 picks earlier.
For a team still searching for a franchise QB, this is tough to forget. Maccagan, who DOESN’T CAPITALIZE any “C” in his name, appears to be guy that has paid his dues and is looking for his chance to be captain of the ship. Will shall see how he goes but for all those guys trying to work their way to the top, he provides a real life example of doing a good job, being patient and waiting for the right opportunity.
Todd Bowles: Johnson’s new head coach is Todd Bowles. Bowles is guy that somehow made it from being a [another] New Jersey kid, who played college football at Temple, to undrafted rookie free agent, to Super Bowl starting safety. That list obviously shows he has a strong work ethic and dedicated approach.
Beyond being black, which immediately gets my support, Bowles brought up a good point about taking the job and how he would handle the lack of a franchise quaterback under Gang Green’s center. He pointed to his previous tenures at Miami, Philadelphia and Arizona, where he didn’t have a franchise QB, so he is not intimidated by the challenge. Sounds good – but only time will tell how prepared he is for this challenge.
That’s it for now. Comeback tomorrow for Cheesy Bruin.