FIRST IMPRESSIONS: MIKE MACCAGNAN

Florham Park, NJ - It’s true what they say about never getting a second chance at a first impression but more often than not first impressions don’t give you enough information to definitively make up your mind on a person. This is of course the case for Mike Maccagnan the new general manager of the New York Jets.

Our first impressions here are all judging a press conference, what was said and do these people sound like they have a solid plan they believe in and will make sure to execute, but no team has ever won a game based on a press conference. Both the new coach and general manager are getting their first cracks at their respective jobs so, while they may instill confidence or doubt with how they approach their first press conference no one really has any clue if either of these guys are future Hall-of-Famers, complete bums or somewhere in between. Ultimately the only impressions that will matter for Maccagnan will be filed under the win/loss columns.

Maccagnan spent the past 20 years as a scout/talent evaluator with the Houston Texans, which stands in stark contrast to former GM John Idzik who was always considered “just a cap guy,” and his hire proves that Johnson understands that it takes football people to build winning football organizations.

“We interviewed a lot of general manager (candidates), I think Mike has the experience, 20 years as a college evaluator (and) professional evaluator,” Johnson said. “We were very impressed with his intelligence, his differentiation of players and how he goes about the detail and the way he goes about that process. He’s looking for the correct analysis of each player because you have to stack the board and searching for players is both, you look at the numbers and the intangibles and we felt that Mike had both of those skills well honed and is ready to make the jump to this position.”

After thanking Johnson, Wolf, Casserly and everyone in the Jets organization Maccagnan started things off by talking about how impressed he was with Johnson’s desire to win and the way the entire organization is run.

“First and foremost I thought it was a first-class operation all the way through which made me believe this is the place I want to be. I’ve also seen Woody first hand how much he cares about the Jets organization, it’s very clear to me that he will do whatever it takes to give us the opportunity to be successful.

“Even though It’s my first week on the job one of the things I kind of felt just being around the office is that most the people in the Jets organization that I’ve met have not only been really helpful and supportive and welcoming but there is definitely a sense that the people in this organization have a commitment and passion for winning and wanting to do things the right way. That’s very important to me in terms of how I do things because we need to build a championship organization and franchise and this will definitely be a true team effort it’s going to take all of us working together to achieve this goal no matter what the role anybody has to play in it.”

His new coach, and new best friend, Bowles was extremely complimentary of Maccagnan and expressed all the confidence that the two will work smoothly to attain one goal.

“Meeting with Mike, just getting to know him as a GM, I knew he was a great personnel guy. He’s a great evaluator of talent, that’s what he does that’s what he is,” Bowles said. “He’s a masterful operator in terms of people, we hit it off when we came in about a week ago the two days we were here we hit it off pretty well. Going forward it’s just going to be a dream working with this guy.”

Maccagnan will have to get to work fast as he will have to first evaluate the current roster, decide who to keep and who to move on from while also keeping an eye on the draft and preparing to spend a lot of the $40 million plus they will have to spend in free agency, and he will have to spend a lot of that thanks to the new CBA the players and league agreed to a few years ago.

Under the new CBA teams are required to spend at least 89 percent of the total cap every four years. The new CBA went into effect during the 2013 season so the Jets have to spend 89 percent of the cap by the 2016 season. With the Jets spending so little during the Idzik era Maccagnan will have to go on a bit of a shopping spree. Which could certainly help turn this team around quick but he has to be careful to spend the money on the right pieces.

Maccagnan comes across as a subdued personality, highly intelligent and comes with a clear plan in mind. From that stand point he doesn’t appear that much different from Idzik, a bit more engaging though, but the huge difference is in his background of scouting and player personnel. Maccagnan even said he expects “to build through the draft” but that should be no surprise because that’s how smart men run football teams he just happens to have a bit more expertise in finding the right players to achieve that goal.

For Maccagnan this job represents his dream and now he can set his sights of a bigger dream of being the general manager of a Super Bowl winning team.

“From a personal standpoint people in my profession work their entire career to get an opportunity like this,” Maccagnan said. “This is my life’s passion, my dream. To actually have this opportunity basically 50 miles from where I grew up is truly a dream come true.”



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