FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Woody Johnson feels your pain, Jets fans.
Though admittedly “disappointed” in the team’s 5-11 finish, the owner reiterated his confidence in his coach and general manager and cautioned Jets faithful to trust the process.
Johnson said there is no playoff mandate for Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan in 2017. Instead, there is patience for a plan that is in the process of taking shape.
“I don’t really like mandates because they normally don’t work; lines in the sand or whatever,” Johnson said Thursday, speaking for the first time to beat writers since Sept. 7. “You don’t want to judge it that way. The way we’ll judge it is getting better each and every year and seeing it in our players, our young players. Are they getting better or are they going the other way?”
The Jets haven’t made the playoffs in six seasons, their longest drought since 1992-97, and they regressed in 2016 under Bowles, who is 15-17 over two seasons. But Johnson, who has owned the team since 2000, insisted he’s as committed to Bowles as he was when he hired him in January 2015 after a “pretty exhaustive” 10-day search.
“I have confidence in Todd Bowles,” he said. “Have the same feeling about him. Very, very smart. Has played the game, understands it from the players’ standpoint and from a coaching standpoint.
“I’m still very, very in his corner. He’s very talented. I think he’s going to get better, as we all are — including me — at what they do. I’m just so happy to have him. Both he and Mike.”
Plenty of fans, however, were hoping the Jets would part ways with Bowles. But Johnson said “changing a lot of moving pieces makes it a lot more difficult” to achieve long-term success. “I think that over time, their plan is going to yield.”
Even so, Johnson stressed that he understands the frustration of his fans.
“I’m in the game of winning, so anytime I don’t win, I’m disappointed,” said the owner, who also called reports that President-elect Donald Trump is considering him for the United Kingdom ambassadorship “speculation.”
“We do this for our fans. Our fans want us to win, this is their team. And when they don’t win, they’re disappointed. I don’t blame them. I’m disappointed.”
But he is so confident in Bowles and Maccagnan that he said he believes they are capable of winning a Super Bowl together. “I’m not in this to come in second place,” Johnson said.
While confident in Bowles’ and Maccagnan’s plan — building through the draft — Johnson couldn’t say how long the process will take to turn the Jets into a winner.
“A lot of change is not the answer,’’ he said. “That’s not the way to do it, in our opinion. You’ll get to where you want to go sooner if you go down the path we’re going to go.”
Said Maccagnan, in a separate sitdown interview: “We know where we want to get to and we can’t get there fast enough, in our minds. But we also want to make sure we build this the right way so we don’t have a situation where it’s up and down, up and down, every year.”
Eagles block Jets’ interview request. The Eagles denied the Jets’ request to interview quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, a source confirmed to Newsday. DeFilippo, 38, spent the past season working with rookie Carson Wentz, and was the Browns’ offensive coordinator in 2015. DeFilippo also was Rex Ryan’s quarterbacks coach in 2009, when the Jets drafted Mark Sanchez fifth overall. The Jets are in the market for an offensive coordinator after Chan Gailey announced his retirement, as well as for five other assistant positions, including quarterbacks coach.