What might have been

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This is an interesting week to look back at this . . .

Brian Costello wrote an interesting column today about how close Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone was to becoming New York Jets coach in 2015.

And it was very close.

I’m friendly with somebody who is very close with a long-time Marrone friend/assistant coach. That guy told my close friend that Marrone was told by one of the Jets two consultants (Charlie Casserly and Ron Wolf) that the Jets job is his if he wants it.

But then all heck broke lose, when the Daily News unleased a smear campaign on Marrone.

“An agenda-driven series of articles appeared bashing Marrone through anonymous sources,” Costello wrote. “One article popped up just before Marrone’s interview began on a Saturday afternoon in Florham Park. Sources said Johnson got spooked by the bad press. He fixated on the claims that had been made in the story, and spent much of the interview asking Marrone about the allegations instead of what he would do to fix the Jets.”

One word to describe this in retrospect – travesty.

If the same Daily News writer wrote this stuff now, the Jets would ignore him, but back then, but back then, not so much.

And I was told that one of the sources of the Daily News cheap shots at Marrone was a prominent Buffalo media member.

Marrone wasn’t cooperate with the Buffalo media (who cares?), so think about how ridiculous it is to value the judgement of a reporter with an ax to grind because he didn’t like how the coach dealt with the press. Sad.
Marrone is a good job. Not a great coach, but a good one.

In 2014, Marrone took the Bills to a 9-7 record before opting out of his contract. That was one of the better Bills seasons in recent memory.

And honestly, to have the Jaguars at 2-1, with underwhelming Blake Bortles at quarterback, is awfully impressive, and the two wins were blowouts over a pair of pretty good teams – Houston and Baltimore.

Another interesting nugget about Marrone. I was told by a very good source that if Bill Polian had been hired as a Bills coaching consultant after Marrone opted out of his contract, which was close to happening, he wanted to keep Marrone as coach.

So the guy is a solid football coach.

I think we will learn this year if Todd Bowles is a good head coach. One good year, one bad year – to me, this year is the tie-breaker.

But the Marrone mess from 2015 was a teachable moment for the Jets’ ownership.

The lesson was don’t make any decisions based on how the media feels, whether it’s signing free agents or hiring coaches.

And I think you saw this off-season, they made a lot of progress on that front, releasing a lot of veteran players, and going young, and not worrying about it was perceived. They let the “tanking” rhetoric bounce off them.

And if they win this week, and get to 2-2, some reporters are going to have some explaining to do. It will make the “tanking” articles look foolish.

September 28, 2017

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeldhttps://www.jetsconfidential.com
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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