A collection of rambling first person thoughts on covering the New York Jets en route to vacation…
The two things I disliked the most about the Jets 2019 offseason was the decision to keep Mike Maccagnan and hire Adam Gase. Maccagnan had long been terrible at his job but had tucked himself safely into a cocoon of friendly media coverage and a subsection of fans who adamantly defended him, despite having literally the worst record of any General Manager who had been employed by the organization for more than two years.
Twitter and this website had felt like pushing a rock of logic up a hill, only to watch it repeatedly roll back down as the front office escaped criticism, avoided playoff mandates and got a promotion to pick the Head Coach. I am aware that is an annoying comment because I have certainly been wrong about plenty related to the Jets and many other things but that is what the past two years have felt like.
As for Gase, 95% of Jets fans had no interest in him as a Head Coach option and he was the team’s third choice for the job. NFL Head Coaches generally don’t get fired after back to back losing seasons, including a season where their team is obliterated in three straight games by non-playoff teams to end the year…and then immediately get another Head Coaching job. Regardless, fans will be fans and find ways to rationalize any and all decisions, so Gase’s popularity has gradually risen.
I am a Jets fan. I cover the team as a side hustle because I’ve been doing it for awhile (a long while) and I seem to be good enough at it. I don’t use this site (or my ranting on Twitter) as a fan. The Jets have been bad. I say they’ve been bad, how I think they can stop being bad and hope to be wrong when I say what they are doing is dumb. I am not a reporter. I have no consistent sources. I have no personal relationships with anybody on the football side of the organization. The team treats our website well and offers us credentialed access if we ask and has been kind enough to host me on their podcast/website before for #content.
I don’t doubt I could more consistently go to practices and games in a more traditional reporter role but I don’t want to. I can’t. I have a full time job, which I very much enjoy. The content I produce for the Jets is often written on the bus or train rides to work, in the crevices of my day (either early in the morning or late at night) while I record podcasts in whatever free 30-45 minutes I can find during the week. I tweet like you probably text in your various group chats, except my group chat has a bunch of Jets fans agreeing with or yelling at me.
I also want to keep the ability to be critical of the team without it being hindered by personal feelings from being there day to day. Maybe that is a naive way to look at it but I don’t really crave access. I just want to fire off takes backed up by either data or film as a hobby and chop it up about football.
Personal tangent aside – I think it is a good thing the Jets fired their General Manager. They were never going to be a consistently competitive team with him leading the way. It removed one of the two things I disliked the most about this Jets offseason. Unfortunately, the other thing I disliked the most (hiring Adam Gase) is only becoming more problematic because he has usurped his way to being the unquestioned Monarch of the organization and candidly, I don’t think he is a good Head Coach, nevermind a good General Manager.
Regardless, if the Jets use this opportunity to add a potentially good General Manager (COME ON DOWN JOEY DOUGLAS), the short term chaos will serve a long term gain.
I would bet that Gase is not the team’s Head Coach by the time the 2021 season rolls around. I’m not sure I see the Jets as anything but a 7 or 8 win team this year, although I think they will be substantially more entertaining than they were in recent years thanks to an intriguing young quarterback who just may be “THE GUY,” Le’Veon Bell and a few other pieces who are #good and enjoyable to root for (Robby Anderson, Jamal Adams, Quinnen Williams, etc). Maybe things break right and they over come offensive line and cornerback concerns to finally break through to make the playoffs. Lord knows they are due in a league filled with so much parity. I wouldn’t bet on it but at least they have a puncher’s chance unlike most recent seasons.
It isn’t dysfunctional that the Jets fired Mike Maccagnan, although it is funny watching people who defended him acting like this team magically became bad over night when they fired him. They were dysfunctional/bad with him and they are still dysfunctional/bad with Gase leading the way until they prove otherwise. Nobody cares about the culture change talk. Nobody takes anything Gase says seriously at his press conferences.
Go finish with a winning record in the AFC East for the first time in 8 years and we can talk about this not being a dumpster fire. Go avoid being swept by New England for the first time since 2015 and avoid the yearly 30 point loss at Gillette and we can talk about this not being a dumpster fire. Play meaningful games in the final few weeks of the year and we can talk about this not being a dumpster fire. End the playoff drought, the 8th longest of any big four professional American sports team and we can talk about this not being a dumpster fire.
The media isn’t why your team is bad, Jets fans. The team is bad because they have been poorly run for almost a decade. 50-78 over 8 seasons happens from poor drafting, poor free agent signings, poor coaching and general organizational incompetence, not because of #LOLJets social media posts.
…And with that, I leave hoping to come back to a competent General Manager hire. Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend, all!