And now the last question for Sunday seems to be answered for the New York Jets.
First came the Rex Ryan news, where the embattled Buffalo Bills coach was let go on Tuesday.
Then coach Todd Bowles announced he is starting Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday and keeping rookie Christian Hackenberg in the bubble wrap, especially after losing Bryce Petty to surgery last week.
And now comes the word from Gary Myers of the NY Daily News, who was told by a Jets source that Woody Johnson will keep Bowles as his head coach for the 2017 season.
So unless you are a huge Jet fan and can’t wait nine months to watch your team again, there’s little reason to watch this game.
Talk about New Year’s hangover.
All kidding aside, keeping Bowles seems to be the right move for the Jets. Of all the teams in the New York area, Johnson seems to preside over the one with the least stability with a new head coach and/or general manager every two to three years. There’s never any time for the Jets to grow a philosophy or learn about how to do it the Jet way.
We have seen it before. George Steinbrenner did it with the Yankees all the time, but in baseball the manager tends to be less important than the head coach in the NFL.
Like him or not, at least Bowles has a system in place. Replacing him means a new coach with a new system and a new learning curve. It’s one reason why the Giants chose Ben McAdoo to replace Tom Coughlin, because there would be continuity. Obviously that has paid off.
Now that Bowles is staying in Florham Park, he needs to work with general manager Mike Maccagnan to build a team on their own terms. Remember, many of the current players were inherited from the last regime and now need to go. It’s time to break it down and build it back up. That’s what a team with four or five win seasons need to do.
Otherwise the Jets will become another version of the Cleveland Browns or Jacksonville Jaguars, which keep making changes with the same results.
Although both Bowles and Maccagnan answer independently to Johnson, they need to work as a team to fix this. They need to compromise between Bowles coaching philosophy and Maccagnan’s drafting skills.
They first need to pick a quarterback and live with him. The Jets have too many holes to move up in the draft and will be better served anointing Hackenberg and building an offensive line either through free agency or on draft day. There will be growing pains, but they burnt a second round choice on the guy, so you have to play him.
That said, the team needs to get younger and hungrier. That means veterans like Darrelle Revis and Muhammad Wilkerson need to go on the defense and the Jets should look to see what they can get for Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall.
It’s time to build up the picks and have a solid core for the future.
Another season like this and Johnson will probably bring down the ax on both Bowles and Maccagnan with the Jets going back to square one.
So if that’s the case they need to go out on their own terms.
Right now, both men are reportedly back for 2017. It’s the right move. Let’s see what they will do with it.