Gase is Gone, Time to Move On
Take a moment to do what you must (sigh, cheer, toast, etc.). I certainly appreciated the right thing finally being done.
Now let's move on.
The Jets have a LOT to do to make this all right.
Two years have been wasted on the Gase (and Maccagnan) Error. Two seasons of meaningless games, of inconsistent roster construction, of excuses and bad culture in the organization. Two seasons more on the cycle of coaches and executives not being aligned.
But no longer, as CEO Chris Johnson announced today, finally restoring sanity to the governance of the New York Jets.
Finally, for the first time in nearly a decade, a football employee of the football team will be in charge of setting the course for the next several seasons, as Joe Douglas will lead the search for the next Head Coach.
That's not to say that Douglas will automatically succeed; his first actual offseason showed some encouraging signs, but he's been far from perfect. I believe in Douglas, a football lifer who's studied under Ozzie Newsome, a HOF executive, for 15 years, as well as serving as the right hand to Super Bowl winning GM Howie Roseman. He has the pedigree, the experience, the reputation and respect around the league, and the work ethic.
But now he has to do the thing. Several things, if we're being honest, and they're all inextricably linked.
He has to find a coach, find a quarterback, and find a winning roster construction.
The first part both informs and is informed by the the other two; he can't settle on a quarterback or roster philosophy without consulting with prospective coaches. While I think it is time to move on from Sam Darnold, for reasons both financial as well as football, his perfect future football partner may truly believe Darnold can be rebuilt. Trading Darnold and drafting his successor is the easy financial decision, and certainly the "easy" football decision, but it may not be the correct one. Retaining Darnold and trading the 2nd overall pick may alluring, but it may be overly optimistic, and could poison the well of coaching prospects if they're forced to that decision.
Strap in for a potentially long coaching search, as Douglas (correctly) casts a wide net, not just among his "friends" , as many lazy pundits expect, but across the league and college ranks, to hear a variety of opinions and perspectives on the Jets current roster, future prospects, and the direction the league at large is trending towards the next 5 years.
The GM and prospective coach must align on organizational philosophy, reporting structure (Chris Johnson finally, mercifully seems opening to changing this), and the fate of Sam Darnold, before consummating this football marriage, and deciding on the direction in the draft.
While the Trevor Lawrence dream is dead, the choice between Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance is hardly a consolation; talent abounds. For the first time since Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum took the Jets to back-to-back AFCCG's, there must be harmony and partnership between the front office and coaching staff in setting the direction of this team, on and off the field.
A note on the coaches: I don't have all the answers. There's guys I like, don't like, and don't know enough about being formally requested and quietly rumored. Thankfully, so far in this early process, there's no one in the formal request list that I object to, in the way I did Gase and McCarthy at the time. As of now, that list is OCs Arthur Smith (TEN), Eric Bienemy (KC), & Brian Daboll (BUF) and DCs Matt Eberflus (IND), Patrick Graham (NYG), & Brandon Staley (LAR). This is a sensible jumping off point, as those coaches have varied backgrounds and experiences, but they won't (and shouldn't) be the only ones. Expect requests to OC Joe Brady (CAR), DC Wink Martindale (BAL), and more at the pro level, as well as ISU HC Matt Campbell, and potentially guys like UF's Dan Mullen, NW's Pat Fitzgerald, Minnesota HC PJ Fleck, and others.
These are all options that range from exciting to at bare minimum (hopefully) competent. None are as objectively laughable as recently ousted Adam Gase was in 2019.
So let's all take a breath and watch what happens. I'm but saying things will definitely be better, but they almost can't be worse. And at bare minimum, they should be respectable.