Timing can be everything for a team that is rebuilding. It needs to bottom out in a year when the right players and coaches are available to help with their long-term plan.
That's why the Jets should consider it a sign that the Green Bay Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday afternoon. And as soon as they fire Todd Bowles after the season (which seems like a given at this point), they need to put McCarthy at the top of their list.
They may not find a better candidate among the younger offensive gurus they'll likely consider. Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo could be the next Sean McVay, or he could turn into the next Ben McAdoo. Same with all the other whiz kids who'll be on the offseason coaching carousel.
The Jets would know exactly what they're getting in the 55-year-old McCarthy. He's an offensive minded coach with a track record of success and a Super Bowl ring on his finger. And for a star-crossed franchise like the Jets with a young franchise quarterback to build around, it'll be hard to beat a coach who has proven to be a success.
In other words, he's exactly what the Jets need.
Maybe that hasn't been so evident the last two seasons, when the Packers went 7-9 (with quarterback Aaron Rodgers missing half the year) and then 4-6-1 so far this year. But you know what McCarthy's last two seasons feel like? They feel like the final two seasons of the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia, when he went 12-20 in 2011 and 2012. Reid had an incredible run of success there, but he looked old in his final two seasons with the Eagles, like the rest of the NFL had caught up to him or passed him by.
Four days after he was fired in Philly, the Kansas City Chiefs hired him and they haven't had a losing season since. In fact, they've now won at least 10 games in five of his six seasons, and will be going to the playoffs for the fifth time, too. His offense, led by young quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is the envy of the NFL, and his team looks like it's on the fast track to the Super Bowl.
Not bad for an old coach who looked as done as McCarthy just six years ago.
Now, McCarthy isn't the perfect coaching candidate, any more than Reid was when he was hired by the Chiefs. No one has ever compared him to Bill Belichick. And it's a fair argument to wonder if his Packers teams, with a perennial MVP at quarterback, have even under-achieved during his tenure. McCarthy is also known to be a bit sensitive to criticism, even though he's been sheltered in the relatively quiet and friendly confines of the NFL's smallest city.
Coming to the star-crossed Jets in the media capital of the world where the criticism can be intense could be an enormous shock.
Still, it'll be hard for the Jets to look past his record on the field. McCarthy has gone 125-77-2 in his 13 seasons in Green Bay, making the playoffs nine times and winning at least one playoff game six times, reaching the NFC championship four times and winning the Super Bowl once.
Sure, he's had the benefit of Rodgers and, before that, Hall of Famer Brett Favre. But the Packers haven't always had the greatest talent around their quarterbacks. McCarthy deserves plenty of credit for piecing together what he had and leading the Packers to eight seasons of 10 wins or more.
What the Jets need now is an offensive mind, to be sure, but this franchise desperately needs something more than that, too. They need to do something they haven't done since Bill Parcells took over in 1997. They need to hire a coach with experience, who already knows how to win. They could get lucky with a first-time coach. Some of them surely can learn on the job quickly.
But it's even better when the players in the locker room know the coach has won before, when they can see the Super Bowl ring on his finger. It's true that no coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. If nothing else, McCarthy could restore order to the locker room, some professionalism to the team, and he could be the right guy to guide Sam Darnold.
There isn't likely to be a better option on the market. So if -- or when -- the Bowles era is over, McCarthy has to be the Jets' first call.