Do the Jets need to make the Playoffs in 2015 for the season to be considered a success? A few weeks ago, their general manager and their head coach disagreed.
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan believes success doesn't hinge on making playoffs That's like saying it was a good race without crossing finish line— Andy Adler (@Andy_Adler) November 19, 2015
Bowles asked if season is a failure if they don't make the playoffs: "For me, yes." #NYJ— Chris Lopresti (@CLoprestiWFAN) November 18, 2015
I think it is in many ways natural for a general manager to take Maccagnan's position and for a head coach to take Bowles'. A general manager has to focus on the big picture and think years ahead. The head coach focuses on today and how to prepare his team to beat the next opponent.
Does success in 2015 hinge on making the Playoffs? I say no. Year one of a new regime to me is about establishing an identity and creating a foundation for future success. The Jets team these guys inherited was a mess. They have already improved it by three games with a quarter of the season left to play.
For me, this season is not about wins and losses as much as it is about creating a new culture and building for the future. If this team wins nine or ten games, I think this year was a big step in the right direction even if the team misses the postseason. That is especially true if young talent like Leonard Williams, Calvin Pryor, Lorenzo Mauldin, Marcus Williams, Rontez Miles, etc. continues to improve and helps the team win games down the stretch. All of these guys are not going to be starters, but having some cheap, young depth guys who can provide the team with a handful of quality snaps can be valuable.
I know there is a temptation to declare this a win now team because of the age of the roster and the amount of money spent over the offseason, but you have to look at the structure of the contracts. Within a year or two, the Jets will be able to get out of just about every contract they signed over the last offseason. The guys who are still productive will stay. Those who aren't will be released and replaced. Hopefully by that point a lot more young talent will be developed and able to take this team to the top of the league.
This year is about building for that time. The Playoffs would be nice. I don't think that is the only way we can define success or failure for the 2015 Jets.