Sammy and the Jets need the right head coach

Admin - January 3, 2019

By all accounts Todd Bowles is a good coach and an even better man, which, in the big picture means a helluva lot more than the wins and losses on his record. But after four seasons at the helm of the New York Jets and a 24-40 record, a change had to be made and CEO Christopher Johnson was the one to do it. He called it the hardest thing he's had to do in the two years that he’s been the acting owner of the club. Believe it or not, some of the most trusted and respected online sportsbooks in the industry like YouWager were hanging odds on which head coaches would get the axe. Bowles was even money.

Whether Bowles will get another shot at a head coaching gig is a question for another day but he seems more adept as a defensive coordinator rather than the man in charge of pulling all the strings. Regardless, his stint in New York is done and now it's time to find someone who will reinvigorate a franchise that has been in a chronic malaise for close to a decade.

Yet, the difference between this iteration and the others since 2010, the last season Gang Green made the playoffs, is the man under center. Sam Darnold appears to be the real deal and anybody who watched him this season could see his evolution from a kid learning to play at the next level to a professional actually playing at that next level. Darnold, like his fellow wunderkind in Cleveland Baker Mayfield, will likely have at least a little input as to who receives consideration for the coaching vacancy.

Although it wouldn't be wise to put the franchise's coaching decision completely in the hands of a 21-year-old kid, it would also be perilous to ignore his perspective on the situation. He may not have the business acumen or the administrative savvy of New York's front office but he was the man chosen near the tippity top of the draft to lead this team for the next decade. Bowles' successor will obviously know the x's and o's of the game but he will also need to connect with Darnold on a personal level and gain his respect as a mentor with whom he can have complete confidence.

There is a wizened former head coach who has had years of experience working with an elite quarterback and he just happens to be looking for a job. Yeah, Mike McCarthy wouldn't look bad roaming the Jets' sidelines and developing Darnold into an Aaron Rodgers prototype. While it’s too early to tell if Darnold has the chops to ascend into a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback, let alone a future Hall-of-Famer, the case can certainly be made that getting a man of Mike McCarthy’s stature could never be considered a gamble. The former Green Bay fixture is one of the few whose status as an NFL head coach is not paramount in his life.

"I wouldn't be here without my family," McCarthy told the Catholic Herald in March 2016. "I wouldn't be here without my faith. Football is important. It's the way I make a living. It's a game that I love, a lot of people love. I'm fortunate to have the best job in professional sports, but faith and family are first. That’s the story for me."

People that know McCarthy will tell you that he's passionate about the game of football but not necessarily the celebrity it has wrought. McCarthy is grounded and he won't be kowtowing to Darnold, the franchise's golden boy. The former USC product could very well blossom under the shadow of a legendary coach whose primary goal is to teach rather than appease. That might be a whole new world for Sam Darnold, a gifted athlete who plays the most important position in all of sports and one whose talents have been venerated by adult men since he began playing Pee Wee Football. If Mike McCarthy will welcome New York then the Jets should welcome him right back…and now!