Jets CEO Christopher Johnson attempted to paint a fairytale portrait of the NFL’s newly minted MDT (Most Dysfunctional Team) hours after firing general manager Mike Maccagnan Wednesday, but it fell on deaf ears.
The acting owner insisted that he became “deeply embedded” in the organization like some sort of war correspondent mining for good intel before his nonsensical choice “in the last few days” to whack the general manager that he had just entrusted to hire a new coach, spend $120 million in free agency and run the draft.
Oh, it was quite the 12-minute conference call. Believability exited stage left about 30 seconds in.
Johnson even claimed that new head coach Adam Gase, whose fingerprints are all over the overthrow of the GM that hired him, had nothing to do with this.
It’s truly amazing how some people in positions of power think the peons are gullible Kool-Aid guzzlers.
“This had nothing to do with Adam,” Johnson said, presumably with a straight face. “I want a good give-and-take between our GM and the coach. This was not one person or another winning a power struggle. This was completely my decision.”
If you’re naïve enough to believe those words, tweet or email me: I have some prime swampland in Florida that you might be interested in.
The truth, of course, is blaring in big bright lights: Gase did, indeed, want/endorse/push for Maccagnan’s ouster. Those are facts, not opinions, based on every piece of information that I have now.
Although Gase feigned outrage last week at the notion of a reported rift with Maccagnan, reality bites. And the reality is that Gase didn’t feel like he could thrive with Maccagnan. Time may prove him to be right.
Maccagnan had his fair share of shortcomings, but this kind of back-channel, ego-driven B.S. is precisely what will prevent the Jets from ever truly getting pulled out the laughingstock bin.
Maccagnan’s ouster at this time also makes it fair to call into question whether Johnson is the right guy to lead this organization out of the cellar. It’s hard to believe anything Johnson says from this point forward, given everything he has tried to sell to his fan base to this point.
This isn’t quantum physics. If we’re to believe anything that Johnson said in the past two years, how can we believe what he says now? Less than two months ago, he was downright effusive about Maccagnan’s plan and synergy with Gase.
Now, Maccagnan is gone and we’re left wondering whether Johnson is a prevaricator or simply an inexperienced and indecisive place-holder for his brother.
“I think that was pretty good synergy, but it was not everything that I was hoping for,” Johnson said. “And I made the decision that I want to find a better fit for this building … It’s more than a talent evaluation guy. I want a great strategic thinker. A great manager. A communicator. Someone who can collaborate well with the building. And I’m convinced we’re going to find that person.”
Although Woody Johnson hired Maccagnan four years ago primarily because of his scouting acumen, it’s absolutely fair for Christopher Johnson to expect his GM to be engaged with all corners of the building.
But the timing is troubling. Why not ax Maccagnan after the season with Todd Bowles?
Now, the next general manager will inherit players acquired by the previous regime, increasing the likelihood of greater roster turnover in the near future.
Johnson comes across as a fickle guy who goes with the wind. I’ve always found him to be a thoughtful man with good intentions, but this decision at this time is indefensible.
“It was only through going through this particular offseason deeply that I understood how this organization was lacking in certain ways,” Johnson said. “This isn’t a decision that I could have made at the end of the season. I could with Todd [Bowles]. I could not with Mike.”
Christopher Johnson’s brief track record in charge is spotty at best and a trainwreck at worst. He’s already fired the head coach and GM that he gave contract extensions. Now, he’s placed his faith in Gase, who is “going to assist” in the new GM search.
You’d have to be the most clueless person roaming this planet to think that Gase won’t effectively hand-pick the next GM. Johnson will obviously have to sign off on the hire, but make no mistake that this will be a Gase Production. The coach’s preferred choice is Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas, according to sources.
Johnson claimed that the reporting structure with the GM and head coach directly reporting to the owner will remain the same. In theory, Gase won’t have contractual control over the 90- or 53-man rosters … until he does.
“This is a learning process for me too,” Johnson said. “I’m going to get some things right. I’m going to get some things wrong. But I think I’m getting this right.”
Johnson sounded so sure. Then again, he’s sounded sure about a lot of things before changing his mind.