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Around the AFC East, Week 2: New York Jets

In this our final Week 2 installment of Around The AFC East, I talk to Brian Bassett, head blogger over at The Jets Blog :

The Jets Blog : Eric Mangini as sitting at a 14-19 career record as head coach.  Coming off a 4-12 2007 season, is this Mangini's last chance to make a mark?  Should it be?  Or is management and the fanbase ready to give him another few years before bringing out the axe?

I don't think so.  Woody knew he hired a young green coach and GM when he took on the pair and bailing now would set the organization back another three years at a minimum.  Mangini has proven that he can compete with and beat winning organizations, even without the personnel that he would prefer.  Although the team only won four games last year, the team never quit, something that couldn't be said of Herm Edwards' regime. 

Much ado has been made in the press about building the team this year in a "win-now" fashion, but I'd argue that the team is built in a "now we can win" manner.  With Mangini and Tannenbaum now in their third year, this is the first season that the tandem can look at the roster (with a very few exceptions) and say that "this is our team."  The 3-4 defense is now fully in place with the right personnel (minus a second long-term solution at ILB), the offensive line could be vastly improved in 2008 and the coach and GM are working together well in building the team and finding the right guys, something that many NFL teams can't say.  Owner Woody Johnson knows that he has two young leaders who are working hard to build a team that can be viable and cap-sustainable in the long-run and Woody Johnson understands loyalty and enabling his front office rather than impeding it, he's a guy who inherited his money (Johnson & Johnson) so he doesn't have the quick fuse that a Dan Snyder type has.  At the very least, the coach and GM will get two more seasons, but I can see them being in place for far longer, even if it doesn't mean winning in 2008.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think Brian's right.  In New England, we all want to hate Mangini for one reason or another.  The "ratting out" with spygate or leaving his mentor Bill Belichick could have something to do with it, but who knows.

If Mangini has a chance to rebuild the team to his specifications, we could be looking at a challenging team in the next few years.  Eric did learn from one of the best, so we should be watchful.