With Maccagnan and Bowles here to take over it the onus falls on them to build on the foundation and reshape the roster into a playoff caliber team, the ultimate goal of course will be to win a Super Bowl but let’s start with baby steps and getting back to the playoffs.
“I think anytime you take over a team, or go to a different place there has to be a culture change. Obviously, or there wouldn’t be change,” Bowles said. “We have to get to some of the players and we have to teach them our culture. Not that the other culture was bad, but it didn’t win, so our culture is going to be try to instill different things in them from a winning organization, from a different point of view to make us go forward and get to the playoffs.”
While Maccagnan and Bowles are getting started on changing the culture and instilling their philosophies within the building they will also have to decide which players they feel fit within their culture and which players to move on from before they can really start digging into free agency and the draft.
“Obviously, Todd is still finalizing our coaching staff. Todd and I have to sit down and kind of review the roster ourselves and get an idea of how we see it and how we see it going forward,” Maccagnan said. “I wouldn’t necessarily put a timetable on everything, I do think there is a good foundation of players in place. We obviously have to go forward and try to improve the overall talent.”
Since Maccagnan was hired there has been a lot of talk about him being aggressive in free agency and with somewhere between $40-50 million in cap money to spend this offseason that seems like a fairly safe assumption to make.
The bigger question is, how will he be aggressive? Will he go after a handful of big money players or jettison half the current roster and bring in a bunch of lower priced players? Basically will he go for quality or quantity or some blend of both?
We will have to wait until after free agency starts to get our answer on that because, understandably so, Maccagnan wasn’t ready to lay out his exact game plan.
“Well first, obviously we do have a lot of cap space, so that is a very positive aspect going into free agency. I don’t want to get to far ahead, Todd and I, this is going to be a decision we work on together. Obviously, we will look at all avenues to acquire players,” Maccagnan said. “The pro free agency is a very important part of that. But I don’t want to dictate what our strategy is at this point in time because we are still kind of early in the process.
“We will work together on that when we go through the pro evaluations. In terms of the college side, with our draft picks, we will kind of review all options. I do believe philosophically you have to build through the draft for long term success, but again I wouldn’t necessarily say we are going to move up or move down, we will view all options. The draft itself is kind of a fluid thing.”
Even though Maccagnan wouldn’t get into specifics with his free agency plan there are a couple positions we can safely assume the Jets will be targeting. Obviously they will look into a veteran free agent quarterback to compete with Geno Smith and they will almost certainly look to bring in an upgrade at guard.
On the defensive side of the ball they will have to take a hard look at their linebackers and of course the secondary especially cornerbacks. Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle will both return from injury and have a ton of potential but the Jets can’t just bank on them being healthy and good. Marcus Williams played very well for the Jets this season and you would think the Jets would want him back but no matter how you slice it the Jets could use a top of the line starter at corner, or two, and really need some depth.
The cornerback situation hurt the Jets last year as much as anything because Ryan’s defense is predicated on having excellent cover corners and Bowles’ defense is only different in that it’s even more important to have good cover corners. Ryan is known for his exotic blitz schemes but Bowles’ blitz rate dwarfs Ryan’s.
“Corners are big for me, being a former defensive back. Going forward, I have to get in and look at the film and see what the problems were, whether they were schematically or physically. So we will watch the film and do that,” Bowles said. “The corners in this league are at a premium, especially with the wide outs and tight ends getting bigger. For what we do, it is going to be a premium for us to have decent corners.”