INDIANAPOLIS -- Coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan met with the media on Wednesday at the NFL combine. Here's what we learned about the New York Jets:
1. Calling all quarterbacks: Maccagnan said they're "committed" to trying to turn Geno Smith into a winning quarterback, but that doesn't mean they're committed to Smith. Big difference. The new GM left the impression that he will explore every available quarterback in an effort to upgrade the position. They're not wasting any time. On Wednesday, they met with free-agent journeyman Josh McCown, who was released last week by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets might as well place a "Help Wanted" ad in the newspaper.
2. Jameis versus Marcus: Not surprisingly, the Jets' braintrust will meet at the combine with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. It will be the standard, 15-minute interview. You can bet it won't be the last time before the draft they sit down with the two top quarterback prospects. Forget about Winston; it looks like he'll end up going No. 1 overall to the Bucs. In the meantime, the Jets have to do a lot of homework on Mariota, determining whether he can make a successful transition from a college spread to a pro-style offense. Maccagnan stressed the importance of intangibles, saying quarterbacks with strong intangibles can make the adjustment.
3. More trouble at corner? When asked to identify their most pressing needs, Maccagnan and Bowles both mentioned cornerback. No surprise there. They need one, probably two starting-caliber players, especially with revelation that Dee Milliner (Achilles tendon surgery) may not be ready until early summer. It sounds as if the Jets will use the worst-case scenario as a guide as they venture into free agency. In other words, they're not counting on Milliner to be 100 percent. If it happens, it'll be a bonus.
4. Hold the Rex-odus: Maybe Rex Ryan won't try to poach the Jets' top free agents, after all. The Buffalo Bills' coach downplayed the possibility of trying to repeat what he did in 2009, his first year as the Jets' coach. That year, he signed two of his former players from the Baltimore Ravens, Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard, because he wanted to build a foundation with players familiar with his defensive scheme. There has been speculation he might try the same approach in his new gig, meaning linebacker David Harris could be a target. This time, Ryan said it's not as important to recruit His Guys, noting many of the Bills' players already are familiar with his scheme from having played under former Jets coordinator Mike Pettine in 2013. We'll see about that.
5. A refreshing change: For six years, Ryan's obsession was overtaking the New England Patriots, and he wasn't shy about expressing it. It never happened, of course, adding to the frustration level. Unlike his predecessor, Bowles isn't consumed by conquering the Evil Empire. As he said, "You can't beat the Patriots in February. Just beating the Patriots isn't going to cut it if you lose to everybody else." In essence, he was saying, "We're not going to let the Patriots set the bar for us. We're going to set our own bar." It's not as sexy as Ryan's sound bites, but it's a nice change.