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Jets Brass Report: How Were Bowles, Maccagnan in Buffalo?

Hint: Not too good.

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

When your starting quarterback is Josh McCown, a player now 2-21 in his last 23 starts after losing in Buffalo, you can’t go too hard on a coach for losing games.

When a GM gets the nod of approval to start over and rid his roster of nearly every accomplished player he had, you can’t get on him too much for losing in the short term either.

Regardless, there are football games to be played and for each and every play made by a player there is something to be said about the men who put him in position to make that play as well.

I wrote earlier that Bowles and Maccagnan’s jobs should not rest on the number below the “W” in the standings, but that they still have a lot to prove to show they deserve to be around past 2017. Buffalo was not a good start.


A lot of game management issues that have plagued Bowles in the past continued to show up. While he’s not as in control of the offense as he is the defense (enough of a problem for a head coach already), the ball distribution was questionable. Josh McCown passed for 4.8 yards per attempt in this game. Why did they have to lean on him so much in a close game? The holes in the run game were sparse, but a ratio of 39 passes by McCown to just 13 running back carries, including only 7 to Bilal Powell, is really head-scratching.

Think this sounds familiar?

Week 1 @ Bills, 2017: Josh McCown - 39 passes, 56.2 rating. 13 RB rushes

Week 17 @ Bills, 2015: Ryan Fitzpatrick - 37 passes, 42.7 rating. 15 RB rushes

Your best players need to touch the ball. Bilal Powell is clearly one of, if not the best playmaker on the team. The aging Matt Forte and Josh McCown are not. This is an issue that needs to be cleaned up, and clearly there’s not much progressing going on here.

In terms of his management decisions, there was more from Bowles that made you scratch your head. With 4 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, down by nine on 4th & 8 from his own 35, Bowles decided to punt. This means he hoped to get two stops and two scores (at least one needing to be a touchdown) in 4 minutes. Huh?

His motion to go for two on the third quarter touchdown is also questionable. While is there some sense to wanting to tie the game up when you have a shot, it might not have been the smartest move. Even if you tie the game, you have to score again to win. Down by one with an extra point, any score puts you in the lead. Then, if the opponent scores a 7-point touchdown (which the Bills did) you remain down 8 points, thus only one score. Instead, the Jets wound up going down 9 points, which is two scores, changing the complexity of the game.

On gameday, the coach is not there to put the team on his back and carry them to a win. He’s there to make the most of what he has by making smart decisions in player and game management. Bowles has struggled to do this for a while and did so yet again to start year three.


Maccagnan’s “Executive of the Year” award in 2015 has given him a lot of slack from the fanbase, but it’s time to look around and see what he’s put together.

Offensively, there’s a unit on the field that even when executing decently can only score 12 points and struggles to make a play longer than 15 yards. The inability of either of his two quarterbacks to develop forced one of the worst players of this era into the starting role. The team’s two leading receivers, Jermaine Kearse and Will Tye, weren’t even on the team two weeks ago and weren’t good enough to make their respective former teams, yet come right in and all but carry the offense.

Defensively, Maccagnan’s 2016 first round pick is one of the worst inside linebackers in the league. He cut a solid player and a potential positive influence in David Harris, and with no viable alternative turns to another one of the worst ILBs in the league to put beside Lee, Demario Davis.

Mac’s biggest money signing, the retained Muhammad Wilkerson, was absent yet again. Injuries were a somewhat reasonable excuse last year. They’re not anymore, and he’s starting to look like wasted money and space on the defensive line.

It should also be noted that, similarly to the offense, arguably the defense’s best player was just picked up as well. Kony Ealy had a productive day as a pass rusher.

There was some to like from Maccagnan, though. While a very poor reflection on his roster and drafting, he deserves some credit for getting upgrades like Kearse, Tye, and Ealy in the building. Leonard Williams continues to star, while Jamal Adams had a solid debut. Fellow Maccagnan picks Jordan Jenkins and Brandon Shell also had solid starts, while Juston Burris had a promising game as well.

However, for the GM who could be tasked with picking the team’s next franchise savior from a wide selection at the top of the 2018 draft, his key decision making is becoming worrying. Yes, he’s made some decent trades, some nice UDFA signings, and solid waiver wire pickups. Those moves don’t make a franchise though. Look where the team is despite the Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick trades or the Robby Anderson signing or any of his recent waiver pickups. You need to draft impact players. Maccagnan’s inability to get a QB, build a somewhat competent offense, or find star talent in the draft is worrying as his 2015-16 classes continue to disappoint. Has this general manager proven he can handpick the face of the Jets?

How do you feel about the brass of the Jets after Week 1?


How are you feeling about the Jets leadership?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Confident in both
    (84 votes)
  • 1%
    Confident in Bowles, Critical of Maccagnan
    (17 votes)
  • 28%
    Critical of Bowles, Confident in Maccagnan
    (301 votes)
  • 62%
    Critical of both
    (663 votes)
1065 votes total Vote Now