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Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Dust Never Settles In Jet Land!

  Years ago on the old television Lucy show there was an episode where Lucy and her best friend Ethel, try to prove that a job is easier than housework. They get a job in a chocolate factory packing candy on a conveyor belt. But mayhem ensues as the conveyor belt speeds up and both women cannot keep up with wrapping the candy. They stuff the candy in their mouths, blouses and hats. The whole scene reminds me of the Jets front office. Total chaos and the fans cannot keep up with the mess! The events the past week frustrated and embarrassed Jet fans. I couldn’t help but picture the Patriots coaching staff gathered in BB’s office smoking cigars, drinking champagne and watching the NFL Network. When will this fiasco end? I always refer to the “curse of Bachelor’s 3.” This is in reference to when Pete Rozelle made Joe Namath sell his interest in a New York bar/restaurant because of undesirable patrons of the underworld were supposedly frequenting this establishment. Since that incident, everything has gone south without a few teasers along the way. Right in the middle of the draft, the Athletics' Mike Lombardi reported that Mike Maccagnan was on the hot seat and could lose his job after the draft. Rumors were rampant. Lombardi’s brother was on the Jets coaching staff last year and lost his job and this was revenge. Up I-95 BB wanted one of the players the Jets drafted and was said to be close to Mike Lombardi and had him plant the story. Everyone in Florham Park was on board that the story was 100% false. As we know Lombardi was right and the Jets lied including Adam Gase who won a power struggle with Maccagnan. When it happened, my phone was ringing off the hook and the text messages were in triple digits. Why in the name of Blair Thomas would the Jets give the keys to Adam Gase after free agency and the draft? I had said it before the situation would never work out and they should have fired Mike Maccagnan when they fired Todd Bowles. I was not a Maccagnan fan and felt he worked too slowly getting players. His greatest achievement was pulling off the trade last year with the Colts to move up to get Sam Darnold. He was also effective working the phones after the draft signing undrafted free agents and getting some talent such as Robby Anderson and Frankie Luvu. Unfortunately his positives will be outweighed by the drafting of Chistian Hackenberg and this will probably be his legacy. I was like every other Jet fan thinking what has Adam Gase ever won to get all this power? His lifetime NFL coaching record is 23-26 (0-1 in playoffs). Apparently Jet owner Chris Johnson had been in the building a lot the last few weeks. More than normal and observed how Maccagnan and Gase worked together and preferred Gase. 

                                          Lucy in the chocolate factory. Like the Jets front office.

Was It A Positive Move? 
When it first happened, I was flabbergasted and figured the Jets’ April Fools' joke was just 6 weeks late. But within 48 I was on board with the move and I’ll tell you why. When Gase traded away Darron Lee, I loved it! I could not wait to get rid of this underachieving first round pick. He had his best year last year but there were too many times when he was pushed downfield like a tackling dummy on roller skates. Maccagnan was trying to trade him and couldn’t do it whether it was pulling the trigger or overrating his value. Gase and probably Greg Williams saw all his game film and decided any draft pick was worth it to get rid of him. Great move. Then it came out that Gase did not want to tie up all that money in a running back when they signed Le'Veon Bell. I agree with him! He wanted to get a free agent center. I agree with him. If you take away the Colts trade and the undrafted free agent signings, what brilliant moves did Mike Maccagnan make? Sure he drafted Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold. But a quality General Manager/talent evaluator makes his bones in rounds 3-5. Yes he got Chris Herndon in the 4th round. But there were too many picks like ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Dylan Donahue and Bryce Petty that left the Jets void in talent depth. Maccagnan treated the offensive line like an afterthought in the draft which in my book is a cardinal sin. If somehow Adam Gase turns this thing around, it will be a positive move. So if Jet fans overreacted like I did, take a deep breath and lets see what happens. One concern of mine is that if the Jets go 3-13 and at his year end meeting with Chris Johnson, Gase blames it on the personnel saying it wasn’t his picks then the Jets will be mired in no man’s land for a while.

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  • What’s Next In The Front Office
    Joe Douglas, Eagles VP of player personnel is the name that is at the top of everyone’s list. Douglas has a rock solid reputation around the NFL and has been Eagle’s GM Howie Roseman’s right hand man. He has a reputation as being a gym rat when it comes to scouting. So valuable is Joe Douglas is to the Eagles that they denied him from speaking to the Houston Texans who wanted to interview him for their GM vacancy per Albert Breer of The MMQB.  Gase has a great relationship with Douglas from their days working in the Bears organization.

    Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network analyst
    Yes, that Daniel Jeremiah. The guy we all see on the NFL Network. Just as the Oakland Raiders went for Mike Mayock who also worked at the NFL Network, the Jets may be following the same plan. Jeremiah, is a former scout for the Ravens and the Eagles. ESPN's Adam Schefter first mentioned Jeremiah on Wednesday as someone in consideration for a front office position, quite possibly as a package deal with Joe Douglas.

    Champ Kelly, Bears assistant director of player personnel
    Both Kelly and Gase were together with the Bears and the Broncos and have a good relationship. Kelly is in his second season as Assistant Director of Player Personnel after spending two seasons as the Bears Director of Pro Scouting. Kelly previously spent time in the Denver organization before moving to Chicago. 

    Lance Newmark, Detroit Lions,Director of Player Personnel 
    Newmark, 43, helps oversees college and pro scouting operations, while evaluating prospects in both areas, and assisting in the day to day management of the Lions roster. Newmark has spent over two decades in the Lions’ front office. He is thought of very highly in the league.

    Peyton Manning,
    Pro-Football Talk is reporting: “Rumors are flying within league circles that the Jets may make a run at the future Hall of Fame quarterback who has periodically been linked to NFL management possibilities. And Gase, who worked with Manning in Denver, possibly would be one of the few guys who could draw Manning back into football.” Say it ain’t so Chris? Do the Jets really want to revert back to the Brett Favre, Tim Tebow days of being the biggest circus in town?

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    My Take
    The best scenario would be a Joe Douglas-Daniel Jeremiah package deal as Adam Schefter reported. Douglas would run the show (wink wink with Gase really calling the shots) and Jeremiah would run the scouting department. The better scenario would have been if Chris Johnson fired Maccagnan with Bowles and had hired Joe Douglas first. Whatever happens, the only bit of good news I heard was from former Jet Bart Scott on WFAN. He said when it comes down to playing, the players don’t care what is going on in the front office and they just want their playbook and to play.

    Green Tidbits
    …..Is there a coach with any more pressure to produce than Adam Gase? I still will not accept anything less than 9-7……I’m told Jets undrafted free agent Jalin Moore 5’ 10” 212 lbs RB from Appalachian State is a keeper…..According to Pro Football Reference, Maccagnan-led Jets were arguably the worst drafting team in the NFL beyond the first round the years he was the Jets GM……Wide receiver Robby Anderson has signed the one year contract offer the Jets made him as a restricted free agent. I know I’m in the minority but I believe if he wants to, Anderson can be an All-Pro receiver….CB Kyron Brown is another undrafted free agent who has a very good chance of making the 53-man roster…..Morris Claiborne has an undisclosed injury. What is going on?….The over/under for Jachai Polite’s sack total in 2019 is 4. I’m taking the over…..I know it was a voluntary mini-camp but Le'Veon Bell should have showed up…..Earth to Josh McCown. Come in. Let us know your status…..Former Jet Ryan Fitzpatrick blew our last chance to make the playoffs but something about that guy makes me root for him….In response to rumors out that Peyton Manning is up for the Jets GM position, the "GREAT" Charley Casserly said of Manning as a candidate," “he would not be one of them”
    That's good enough for me! Peyton has got my vote!.....I yearn for the days when my life was simple and I didn’t have the pressure of remembering usernames, passwords and pin numbers.

                                                     Jalin Moore highlights.

    What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
    Rich Cimini, ESPN
    Gase needed about eight hours as the interim GM to make a fairly significant trade, dealing linebacker Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2020 sixth-round pick. It seemed to be a case of Gase flaunting his newfound power, but the reality is that offer was sitting on the table for some time, a source said. Maccagnan's critics say he was indecisive at times when making personnel decisions. Maybe this was an example of that; or maybe he was just waiting for the Chiefs to sweeten the offer. The advantage of having Gase in the coach/interim GM role is that it streamlines the process. He knows what he wants and he acts quickly. The downside? There is no checks-and-balances system. There's nothing wrong with a one-man show if the one man is Bill Belichick or, back in the day, Bill Parcells -- both experienced team-builders. Gase is not that right now, and he needs a savvy GM who has final say on personnel….. I don't think the Jets are going to rush into a GM decision, nor should they, but the word around the league is that Joe Douglas is the odds-on favorite. Checking in with different factions in the industry -- scouts and agents -- I've heard nothing but good things about Douglas, the Philadelphia Eagles' vice president of player personnel. He spent 16 years in the Baltimore Ravens' personnel department, working alongside the well-respected Ozzie Newsome, who just retired as GM. Douglas' résumé is impressive, but he has never run an organization. Until a person is in the big chair, you never really know for sure how they will handle the pressure. Don't buy the Peyton Manning rumors; it's intriguing, but not on the current radar.

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    Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
    Gase wanted to wash his hands of the draft before it even began, according to sources. Eyewitnesses told the Daily News that he was oddly detached for all three days. This was a Maccagnan Production through and through. Gase stayed out of the way, rarely giving input on trade possibilities or prospects when the Jets were on the clock. There was no point that Gase ever fought for or objected to any of Maccagnan’s picks. The sentiment among people in the room: This was awkward.Johnson, meanwhile, had viewed his two years in charge through an idyllic prism. He had good intentions and a glass-half-full mindset. Truth be told, he wanted Maccagnan to succeed even if he had serious concerns about his general manager’s communication deficiencies at the end of the season.Some of the brain trust, including owner Woody Johnson, would have signed off on firing Maccagnan in January if that’s what Christopher wanted.But Christopher Johnson was concerned about his ability to lead both a general manager and coaching search alone. The support staff in the building, frankly, wasn’t qualified. Johnson liked Maccagnan on a personal level and felt comfortable that the GM and his top lieutenant would be the best people in-house to lead a coaching search. Johnson kept Maccagnan and Heimerdinger, and kept his fingers crossed that it would all work in the end with a new head coach.People in the organization truly believe that Johnson wants the Jets to succeed, but there’s a strong sentiment among those that I’ve spoken to in the past 48 hours that he simply doesn’t have the experience, football savvy and support structure right now to make sound choices. Sources agree with moving on from Maccagnan, but some vehemently objected with the timing of the decision. “It didn’t make sense,” one team source said. People on One Jets Drive believe that Johnson means well, but they have little confidence that they can actually trust his decision-making to reverse the perception of the Jets as a laughingstock. Jets employees aren’t alone. Seventy-two percent of the more than 10,000 people who participated in an online Daily News Poll this week do not trust that Johnson knows what he’s doing.

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    Brian Costello, NY Post
    Now that the partnership between Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan has ended, the focus of the Jets world shifts to another relationship: Gase and star running back Le’Veon Bell.One area of fallout from Wednesday’s news that the Jets may have not anticipated was the reporting that emerged about coach Gase not being fully on board with the signing of Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million deal in March. A source said Gase and Bell have been in constant contact since the offseason program began last month despite Bell not being in Florham Park for most of the workouts. The two communicated after the Maccagnan firing both on Wednesday and Thursday, and the conversations have been positive, according to the source.
    Bell took to Twitter on Wednesday to say he was not worried about the reports.

    “There’s been a BUNCH of false reports and speculation about me in the past about things I’ve said and done, so I’m used to this,” Bell tweeted. “I don’t jump to conclusions when I hear or see a story that may affect me. “Even if reports are true, that won’t stop me from doing what I came here to do…everyone has a job to do, and I’m gonna do mine whether people “like” me or not. I’m here to win football games.”

    …..If Bell thrives with the Jets under Gase and the team wins, none of this talk in May will matter, including Bell’s absence from voluntary workouts. Gase certainly would love to have all of his players participating in the offseason program, but he also understands that players prepare in different ways. Bell has been up front with Gase about his plan and has kept him posted with updates on his workouts in Florida. All anyone has to do is check out Bell’s Instagram page to see his workout videos there. The Jets have their mandatory minicamp on June 4-6, and Bell is expected to be there.

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