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A rebuttal to Manish Mehta on Mike Maccagnan

New York Giants v New York Jets Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Even for a guy who writes a lot of nonsense, Manish Mehta’s latest article defending Mike Maccagnan really takes the cake. I usually try not to respond to articles like this, but once a year or so there is a piece of writing so ridiculous that it cannot go unchallenged.

What is happening now with Maccagnan is pretty common. It is the typical case of a general manager who knows his job is on the line and is trying to push a narrative through the media that others are really to blame. You can see it throughout the league. We have seen it with past Jets regimes.

Mehta doesn’t think the problem with the Jets has anything to do with the poor roster. Who cares about blown Draft pick after blown Draft pick? What relevance do poor free agent contracts have to do with a team’s win-loss record?

He has found the real culprit, the organizational flow chart.

Neither [Todd Bowles nor Mike Maccagnan] technically reports to the other. Each has a direct line to ownership. It’s an inherently flawed structure that has reared its ugly head on many occasions in the past few years.

The Jets would be wise to give Maccagnan an opportunity to hire a head coach who truly shares his team-building philosophies and reports directly to him. Blowing it all up and starting from scratch would do more harm than good given the dynamics at play.

I guess I should be fair. No team could ever have success with an organizational structure like...Wait, what’s that? You mean to tell me the team that won the Super Bowl last year has the same organizational structure?

[Eagles head coach Doug] Pederson and [general manager Howie] Roseman both report directly to [owner Jeffrey] Lurie.

Well, that was then. This is now. The Jets are trying to compete in the AFC. How can any team expect to top the conference with this type....Oh, so the team with the best record in the AFC also has this structure?

[Chiefs head coach Andy]Reid and [general manager Brett] Veach report directly to [owner Clark] Hunt.

Fine, but this is New York, baby. Not just any reporting structure can win in this city. Let’s look up what the Giants had during the Coughlin years. I’m sure they had the right structure when they won those two Super Bowl. Let’s find an article from that era that will show us the way...Oh boy.

Both [head coach Tom] Coughlin and [general manager Jerry] Reese report to owner John Mara

Ok, anybody can get lucky twice. The Giants won two other championships in the George Young/Bill Parcells years...Uh oh.

The Giants’ model has remained largely unchanged since George Young was named general manager in 1979.

Who cares if teams have been wildly successful with this structure? Who cares if the Jets came up with this type of structure as a direct response to John Idzik and Rex Ryan’s failure to work together under the GM-centric structure for which Mehta advocates?

What the Jets have now is an “inherently flawed” structure that has made it impossible for Maccagnan to succeed because reasons.

And if you think the general manager is responsible for bad Draft results, you are letting the real villain off the hook. Everybody knows the former offensive coordinator is ultimately responsible for the picks a team makes.

Gang Green drafted ArDarius Stewart in the third round last year because then-offensive coordinator John Morton believed that the former Alabama wideout would be his version of Steve Smith, according to sources. So, Maccagnan trusted his coaches enough to invest a premium pick in the kid. It didn’t take long for Morton to sour on Stewart, who was marginalized as a rookie before getting cut this season.

You probably were thinking the general manager’s job is to take input from all of his people and make an informed decision. You might think it’s his job to evaluate the prospects himself. You might think when he turns in the card, the pick goes on his record. You might think it’s his job to overrule his subordinates when they are wrong. Don’t be silly.

It’s important to remember that when the Jets miss on a pick, it’s the fault of a subordinate like Morton’s. When the Jets hit on a pick, it’s all Maccagnan. Does Mehta credit the scouts or coaches who wanted the Jets to draft Jamal Adams? Does he credit Brian Heimerdinger for doing most of the heavy lifting on the trade up that netted Sam Darnold? No, these are used as pieces of evidence that Maccagnan deserves to stay. When something works well, it’s Maccagnan. When something doesn’t work, it’s somebody else.

Just think about how badly the coaching staff treated Maccagnan when the general manager picked Christian Hackenberg.

The feeling on One Jets Drive was that Bowles didn’t play Hackenberg for two seasons, including meaningless games at the end of 2016 and 2017, because A) He didn’t believe that Hackenberg was any good and B) He wanted to send a message to the general manager for the wasted pick.


Bowles was 100 percent correct, but he could have handled that situation better. By every objective measure, there would have been no harm playing Hackenberg in the 2017 season finale in New England. It was a meaningless game at the end of a lost season. Besides, Bryce Petty had clearly shown that he was not the answer, either.

Just imagine how different things would be for the Jets and Maccagnan if Bowles had thrown Hackenberg out there for a few garbage time snaps in the season finale last year. Talk about a decision that had huge long-term implications for this team.

Mehta does end the article with some odd questions the team must ask itself on Maccagnan.

Can Maccagnan identify and hire the right head coach? Can he sign the right free agents with the projected $100 million in salary cap space? Can he draft the right players?

I don’t get it. Who cares if the answer to the last two questions has been a resounding no over the last four years? What difference does any of this make? We all know successful organizations aren’t built on personnel moves. They are built on a structure where the head coach and the general manager don’t both report to the owner.

Who are you going to believe, Manish Mehta or your lying eyes?