FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets’ general manager and coach are doing just fine.
Mike Maccagnan said Wednesday that his relationship with Todd Bowles is good. The GM added that although he would like a better record than 4-5, he believes the man running the on-field operation has the team headed in the right direction.
“Todd and I are on the same level,” Maccagnan said in a nearly 30-minute chat with Jets beat writers. “We don’t report to each other. That’s how it was set up, we both report to ownership along with (team president) Neil Glat. I think the world of Todd.”
Maccagnan, 50, and Bowles, 53, grew up in New Jersey. Their paths first crossed in 1990 with the Redskins, when Bowles was a safety and Maccagnan an intern for football operations.
“It hasn’t changed much. It’s been great,” Bowles said. “We get along great. We talk about everything. We see things the same way, for the most part. I have no complaints at all. We’re married, but we’re not married.”
Of course, that doesn’t guarantee an extension for either man. Their contracts run through the 2018 season, and CEO/chairman Christopher Johnson has said repeatedly that he wants to see progress on the field. Johnson said although he hates to lose, wins and losses don’t matter in this case. The Jets have surprised many with their four victories, but they blew two-touchdown leads to the Patriots and Dolphins during a three-game losing streak. Nobody on the Jets is satisfied with the record, despite what outsiders projected it should be.
“We did a lot of things this offseason, some tough decisions I felt like we had to make, and we’re sad to part ways with some players,” Maccagnan said. “The thing we felt good about, not only some of the pieces we brought in, we made some trades and some waiver wire claims. The coaching staff has done an outstanding job starting with the spring — some of the new coaches we brought in but also the coaches we retained. We had good coaches in place already.”
At 4-5, Bowles won’t discuss making a playoff push, but the roster formed by Maccagnan is to his liking and gives him a chance to progress with a good mixture of young players and veterans.
“He’s done a good job,” Bowles said. “We’ve been filling holes and putting pieces in, especially with guys having to play on short notice, so he’s done a good job. We’re working with the pieces we have that he gave us.”
This is a critical stretch for the Jets. Following Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay, they have a bye before facing two quality opponents at home, Nov. 26 against Carolina and Dec. 3 against Kansas City. If the Jets reach .500 before the bye, it gives them some momentum going into those difficult games and maybe it keeps their playoff hopes alive. It’s better than talking about tanking, at least.
“A lot of positives,” Maccagnan said of the season. “Still some areas we need to improve on. We’re still only 4-5 but we feel good about some of the young players that have stepped up and done a good job. We feel good about some of the veterans we’ve brought in that have done a good job in terms of bringing leadership in the locker room. It’s not ideally where we want to be, but we feel with some of the moves we’ve made this offseason, that the team has transitioned well to what our vision for it was.”