New York Jets – A Letter to the Johnsons

Stephen Russo vents it out to New York Jets ownership…

Dear Chris & Woody,

Congratulations. You’ve done it. You have beaten us. You’ve taken a fanbase that, despite all it has been through, would still remain hopeful through every year, every game, every training camp, and every offseason. We have waited patiently, we have continued to try to see the positive and clung to it with all we could, and you have successfully defeated us. Through years of missteps and bad management, mistakes and poor judgment, and an awful product on Sundays more often than not, and we still stayed by your side in hopes that this would turn around. We’ve been through it all.

Every year, March and April are more exciting than the fall because at least then we aren’t disappointed by the games, we’re actually excited about the potential for success. Yet somehow, every year, our hopes are ruined before Thanksgiving as the Jets continue to be out of the playoff conversation well before then. We have given you an insanely low bar to clear – just play competitive football. And somehow you have managed to fall incredibly short.

The missteps along the way have been plentiful. People quickly forget how good the start of your ownership actually was, because in all honesty, that’s how bad the last ten years have been. When you took over this organization in 2000, the first decade was impressive! In those 11 seasons, the Jets had 8 winning records, 6 playoff berths, and 6 playoff wins… what we could give to bring that back! Fans actually almost forgot about the “Same Ol Jets” mantra, it was damn near history. But since, boy have you guys botched it. You have managed to bring that mantra back with a vengeance.

Keeping Rex was your first mistake. Tannenbaum was let go and you knew that Rex had run his course. But you kept him, and completely limited your GM candidate pool because no one wanted to have their name tied to a lame duck Head Coach. So, you hire John Idzik, and it was a dumpster fire from the start.

Two years into that mistake, and the decision was made to clean house. In come Bowles and Maccagnan, who were off to a good start with a bunch of band-aids in 2015. Clearly, the promising year gave the false hope that lightning could strike twice, so that Bowles-Macc duo doubled down in 2016 and tried to run it back with Fitz & Co. And now we’ve poured gasoline on the aforementioned dumpster fire. 2017 rolls around and the legitimate tank is in full effect, and the somewhat unexpected (and slightly impressive) 5-11 season with Josh McCown leads to an extension (!!) for Bowles and Maccagnan, for reasons unknown to anyone with a brain. Maccagnan gets shifty to move up to the 3rd pick in the draft to grab Sam Darnold, Quarterback of the future. However, it can’t be said without also noting that he had to move up to guarantee the QB because he passed on DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes the prior year because of the belief in Christian Hackenberg… yikes.

So, in 2018, even after a huge opening night win, the dumpster fire trend continues as the Jets go 4-12 but the young gunslinger shows serious flash down the stretch to let you know that “hey, we have something here.” You decide that Bowles isn’t the guy to lead this team and young QB (good decision!) but you do somehow decide that Maccagnan, despite consistently drafting 40-year-old rookies that can’t play in the league, deserves to stay. You let Maccagnan run your coaching search – where you let the likes of Kliff Kingsbury walk out your door and Matt Rhule slip through your fingers because you couldn’t pick his coaching staff (what?!?!?) – and quickly pivot and land on…. Adam Gase???

That was a lot of ground to cover… I hope I haven’t lost you.

The decision to hire Gase was certainly questionable, as he is clearly an offensive minded coach but just how strong that offensive mind is, well, debatable. But he himself is familiar with dumpster fires as he had just left one that he ignited in Miami. But you did receive that call from Peyton Manning, so all is good. You decide to profess that Gase is “coaching football to where it’s going” and that Adam Gase is the perfect guy to lead this franchise, and specifically our golden boy in Sammy Darnold and the only hope this organization has had since Namath (and maybe Pennington). However, it wouldn’t be a Jets story without another plot twist. Now, even though you let Matt Rhule walk out of your offices over his offensive coaching staff, you decide that Gase and his pal Dowell and no quarterbacks coach is the perfect combination for your young franchise QB. You let Maccagnan run your entire offseason, from coaching search to free agency to the draft, only to let Gase usurp him in May of that same year. Now, for this, I can give you some credit.

Although timing is not ideal, in my humble opinion, it’s never the wrong time to make the right decision (keep this in your head for future reference). So Maccagnan’s gone and you bring in Joe Douglas at the recommendation of Gase – good for you! But now, Gase has to actually coach football. So, he does, and the Jets manage to go 7-9. Yay! But within that 7-9 are a bunch of double-digit losses in non-competitive games, and some wins at the end of the year against backups and bottom feeding teams to again give false confidence that we are on the verge of something great! You choose to ignore the fact that this brilliant offensive mind actually led the team to 7-9 despite having the league’s worst offense – coaching! You also chose to ignore the fact that Gase, following Peyton Manning’s retirement, has perpetually had a basement dwelling offense… but hey, glad you still have that call from Manning himself in your back pocket.

So now we’re into the 2020 season. It’s different, it’s weird, we get it. But, the continuity of Gase and Loggains was really important for Darnold’s development, so we should be ok. Au contraire, my friends. The Jets are 0-4, and Darnold looks worse than he ever has – he’s skittish, missing throws, making poor decisions, and his footwork is a mess. Oh, and by the way, his brilliant offensive minded coach has constructed an offense that has scored 5 offensive touchdowns through 4 games – and one of them (a garbage time 1-yard rush) was by design! Just like he planned! Injuries continue to be a huge problem, the Jets are an undisciplined mess and lead the league in personal foul penalties, and have only been competitive (loosely defined) in one game.

The one game in which you were competitive was against another 0-3 team who happened to have their 3rd string quarterback in who has never started a game. But, the Jets managed to make him look like Tom Brady for 57 minutes and even though he had a few brain farts to keep the Jets in the game, they still managed to lose by 9 points. Congrats!

Through all these mistakes, time and time again, we have stuck by your side. We have waited patiently thinking that this whole time maybe you would prove us wrong. Maybe you knew something that we didn’t. I can tell you, with certainty, that isn’t true. This latest mistake has been the worst. Despite your willingness to make a change at an unpopular time with Maccagnan (I reminded you earlier), you apparently refuse make the right decision twice. This coach is ruining your franchise, he is ruining your young quarterback, and he is ruining your fanbase. You have alienated every single one of us. You have insulted our intelligence. We’ve been through it: Kotite, Lou Holtz, Korn Ferry, the Belichick napkin, you name it. We’re strong. We can take it. You, sirs, are pushing the envelope. Don’t feed us BS that letting Gase go would hinder Darnold’s development. Everything we’ve seen, and everyone who’s watching, knows that the opposite is true.

This coach is as bad as we’ve seen. He’s ruining it all. And you’re choosing to keep him. With this, you have made us as downtrodden, dejected, and depressed about this team as we have all been in the many years that we have been fans. And because of that, you’ve managed to make history and you’ve actually united the fanbase. We have collectively lost all hope, and we’re barely into October.

The next hire you make is a big one (and I have to admit, I’m not 100% certain you will get rid of the current coach to be able to make this hire). It’s probably the most important decision you’ve made. Learn from your mistakes, and do us all a favor, recuse yourself from the decision altogether.

It’s time you let the football guy make the call. Sit this one out. It’s for the best.

Sincerely,

Jets Fans