By Brad Carroll
The New York Jets ended their search for a new hierarchy in football operations Tuesday night, hiring Mike Maccagnan as general manager and Todd Bowles as head coach within hours of each other. The Maccagnan hire had been expected for days, but the Bowles decision was surprisingly quick one.
While it was quick and unexpected, the decision to hire Bowles made the most sense for the Jets in their coaching search.
If the Jets liked Bowles enough to hire him after his second interview with the team (and they obviously did), it had to happen Tuesday night. Bowles was scheduled to fly to Atlanta Wednesday morning to meet with the Falcons for a second interview. If Bowles got on the plane without a Jets deal in place, there was a great chance the Falcons would make him their next head coach.
If that did happen, the Jets would find themselves in a waiting pattern for Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the presumed front-runner for the job prior to Tuesday night. That, however, would have been a giant risk, especially if Seattle were to make it to the Super Bowl. If the Seahawks played for a championship, the Jets couldn't hire Quinn until February 2. By then, every other good candidate would likely be gone and hiring Quinn still wouldn't be a given, especially since the Broncos job has unexpectedly opened up.
If the Jets didn't pull the trigger on Bowles Tuesday night, they may have been left without Bowles, Quinn or any other candidate of true value in the end. So, in many ways, the Jets had to hire Bowles Tuesday night.
The timing aspect is only part of the Jets' decision to hire Bowles, obviously, as he was a hot candidate for nearly every open position in the NFL this year. He has a strong defensive background and the backing of many of his former players in Arizona, including former Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who tweeted his support after news broke of the hire.
That is great news for Jets fans, who had to be worried what would happen to the team's strength under Rex Ryan. Cromartie played for both coaches, so his words carry great weight.
There's also the fact Bowles should be in a much better position to succeed than Ryan was the last two years, as Maccagnan is likely to give him the players to improve immediately, especially in the secondary, something former general manager John Idzik didn't do for Ryan.
The offense will still be a major question mark, and Bowles' presumed favorite for offensive coordinator should be met with puzzlement. Chan Gailey is the apparent favorite to land the job, which should get no one excited for the future. Hopefully, Bowles can find a better candidate than Gailey, but that's all merely speculation at this point.
The decision may have come quick, but it was a neccessary one for the Jets to move forward and start the quest to get back to the postseason.