For the New York Jets, change is good. The winds of change are all over the team that finished last in the AFC East last season. Last year presented nothing worth savoring for Jets fans. Will this season be different?
From the dismal play at quarterback to the disappointing secondary, the New York Jets struggled to do anything positive. Not even their embattled coach Rex Ryan managed to have anything good happen. The Jets’ 4-12 finish meant no playoff appearance for a fourth consecutive season. With so much parity in the NFL, that is a no-no, especially for a big market team. Swift decisions were made regarding the coaching staff and front office. For the New York Jets it was “everything must go” time.
Rex Ryan was fired. So was General Manager John Idzik. They were replaced by the rookie head coach and GM combination of Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan.
Bowles was the NFL’s annual hot available assistant during the offseason. His defensive background was the reason his name was mentioned in every job opening except for the Denver Broncos position. He was brought on to oversee change and restore much of the discipline lost during the Rex Ryan tenure. Todd Bowles’ primary task though is to coax improvement from quarterback Geno Smith.
Guiding Smith to greener pastures was Ryan’s greatest failing as coach of the New York Jets. Smith did not have a stellar supporting cast to help him, but as the team’s quarterback, it is on him to elevate the talent that he leads in the huddle.
Geno Smith’s struggles last season were evident. Throwing for just over 2,500 yards, with 13 touchdowns, matched by 13 interceptions,Smith was benched for poor play. His replacement, Michael Vick fared no better. The receivers did neither quarterback any favors with their uninspiring play, and the running backs did not do anything to distinguish themselves.
It was the mission of Bowles and Maccagnan to retool the Jets on the fly. They brought in a bevy of veteran players to help usher in change.
The New York Jets went out and acquired wide receiver Brandon Marshall, cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie and a slew of running backs in Daryl Richardson, Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy. All of the additions were made for the purposes of providing leadership and creating competition.
Brandon Marshall is the alpha receiver that the Jets sorely needed. He can go and get the football wherever it is thrown and will provide a safety valve for Smith. Marshall alone will make Geno Smith a better play-caller.
As for Revis and Cromartie, both cornerbacks come full circle with their careers. They began their careers with the Jets, and they hope to finish what they originally started. It is their intentions to help the New York Jets celebrate winning the Lombardi Trophy. They are closer to having a six win season than they are the Super Bowl at this stage but at least an idea is planted.
With every training camp there is always something to talk about, a possible distraction if you will. What’s going on with the Sheldon Richardson story is worth paying attention to. It could galvanize the New York Jets or tear them apart. How General Manager Mike Maccagnan has handled the Richardson situation is masterful.
Will this season be different for the New York Jets? There are some different faces and voices in the chain of command. That goes for the field and extends to the sidelines and front office. There is change for the Jets. And sometimes change is good.
[Photo via ESPN.]