If the Daily News had anything to do with Marrone fading, that is unfortunate Dan Leberfeld

Daily News writers Mike Lupica and Manish Mehta have been very critical of Doug Marrone, who is a candidate for the Jets’ head coaching job.

ESPN New York writer Rich Cimini thinks that the vicious coverage of Marrone, in the Daily News, might have hurt his image with the Jets’ owner.

“The Marrone mystery: Something smells fishy with the entire Doug Marrone candidacy,” wrote Cimini for ESPN New York. “In less than four days, he went from a strong candidate to the forgotten man — and two people familiar with Woody Johnson believe the owner got cold feet because of some negative press surrounding Marrone. One person said Johnson reacts to the whims of the public, adding, ‘He listens to whoever has his ear last.’ If Johnson is skittish because of the possibility his final choice wouldn’t be universally applauded, shame on him. That would be no way to run a franchise.

“If Marrone’s candidacy is fading, it’s probably because others were better in the interviews. That’s what you want to believe if you’re a Jets’ fan. You don’t even want to think about the alternative.”

Cimini’s correct. If Marrone has faded as a candidate because the Jets feel other hopefuls are better, that is fine.

But if the vitriol in the Daily News impacted the owner one iota, that is unfortunate. It should not.