The New York Jets announced Wednesday night that three assistants won't return in 2016 -- special teams coordinator Bobby April, assistant special teams coach Steve Hagen and assistant offensive-line coach Ron Heller. A few takeaways:
1. If you're surprised by April's firing, you must have missed the season. The special teams were a mess throughout the year, surrendering four touchdowns -- two punt returns, a blocked punt in the end zone and a fumbled kickoff return that was returned for a score. That stinks. The Jets finished in the bottom-5 in most of the major statistical categories, including 30th in ESPN's StEPA (total expected added points by special teams). In case you're wondering, they were minus 27.7 points.
2. You wouldn't expect a 10-6 team to dump a coordinator, but it shows that Todd Bowles won't tolerate a subpar performance. April is a good man and well-respected around the league; he's been coaching special teams for nearly a quarter-century. Some head coaches would've given a mulligan, calling the season an aberration. Not Bowles. This sends a not-so-subtle message at the outset of the offseason. “After having our season-ending meetings with the staff, I decided that changes were necessary in these areas," said Bowles, who indicated Monday he wasn't planning any staff changes.
3. April didn't have a great year, but he didn't get any favors from general manager Mike Maccagnan, who compiled a roster that had no proven kickoff returners and a mediocre punt returner (Jeremy Kerley). The units also lacked youth and athleticism, although that can't be blamed on Maccagnan. The recent drafts under the previous regime failed to yield quality depth players that could help on special teams.
4. A replacement for April? Hard to say, but know this: Last year, Bowles made a run at Atlanta Falcons coordinator Keith Armstrong, a former college teammate, but was blocked by the Falcons. Armstrong's current contractual status is unclear.
5. The Jets will have their fifth special teams coach in five years. Remember when they used to be, like, good?
6. No surprise by Hagen and Heller, the only holdovers from Rex Ryan's staff.