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The Jets’ training center in Florham Park has a very clear division in it. The first floor has the coaches’ offices. The second floor houses the front office.
For too long, those two floors have felt like two different planets.
The Jets have not felt like a fully united front since 2012, when Mike Tannenbaum was the general manager and Rex Ryan was the head coach. After a 6-10 season that year, Woody Johnson fired Tannenbaum and kept Ryan. He hired John Idzik, and the Jets have struggled to find unity since.
That is why Adam Gase should be allowed to have a major hand in selecting the Jets’ new general manager. I know it makes no sense based on his résumé to give him this much power. What has he done to earn that kind of responsibility?
I get it. It is a fair question. Gase went 23-26 with the Dolphins, making the playoffs once. He has done nothing with the Jets yet.
But the Jets have to fix the relationship between GM and head coach. They must select someone who has a history with Gase, who views football the same way Gase does and will do more than just coexist with the head coach, but will be a true partner. Once they fired Mike Maccagnan on Wednesday, they left themselves with no choice but to let Gase lead the way.
The head coach/GM relationship is like a marriage, and it is the most important one in any football organization. When they don’t get along, it is like your parents are fighting, and it seeps into every nook and cranny of the football operation.
I can remember when the Jets fired Tannenbaum thinking Ryan should have nothing to do with hiring the next GM. Giving him that power would be backwards, I thought. The GM hires the coach, not the other way around. The Jets followed that plan and had a search firm hire Idzik with little input from Ryan.
Then I watched two years of the dysfunctional relationship between Ryan and Idzik, which ended with more battles than a season of “Game of Thrones.”
After firing Idzik and Ryan after 2014, the Jets tried an arranged marriage between Maccagnan and Todd Bowles. The two had no history together and never truly clicked. They were not at each other’s throats like Ryan and Idzik, but they also did not function well together. One person told me it was not that Bowles and Maccagnan had a bad relationship. They simply had no relationship.
So Bowles was fired in December, and Maccagnan was allowed to hire his guy. He picked Gase after a thorough search, but the two men had no history, and people inside the Jets quickly discovered these were two very different people.
Gase is the alpha male. He sees football as a bloodsport. Maccagnan is reserved. He sees football as a chess match. Gase’s intensity is like the biggest, baddest roller-coaster in the amusement park. Maccagnan is more like the tea cups.
Jets CEO Christopher Johnson saw this over the last few months and realized the mesh between the positions he desperately wanted was not happening. Johnson has been wowed by Gase’s l