New York Jets: Todd Bowles needs to refocus his team
The New York Jets have played two preseason games thus far, they hold a meaningless record of 1-1, but it hasn’t been pretty by any means. The Jet starting units have been far from impressive, with the starting offense only putting up three points and the starting defense being out of position and proving to be quite porous.
Now, it is early yet, the players are shaking off the rust of the off season, so there is no need for panic just yet. Remember, this team is once again installing a new offensive system, and the defense is installing Todd Bowles‘ new defense as well.
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These things take time, some mistakes and missed assignments are to be expected. Along with the new system came a bunch of new players as well. General manager Mike Maccagnan reworked the roster in free agency and the draft, so again, problems will arise in communication and rookie mistakes.
One thing that has become apparent to me however, is that Bowles needs to refocus his team. The play on the field is being affected by the stuff that is going on off the field. Let’s face it, the Jets have had a series of player issues off the field this year, and they take their toll on the rest of the squad. In my opinion, Bowles needs to gain control of his football team and crack down on some of the nonsense that is affecting his players.
The jury is still out on Bowles in my opinion. We were told that he wasn’t another Rex Ryan, that he ran a tight ship and expected his players to act professionally. Bowles was welcomed with open arms in New York, hand picked by Woody Johnson and his consulting team, he was billed as the guy who was going to turn the Jets around. Now, I’m not giving up on Bowles just yet, but he hasn’t delivered when it comes to his player discipline.
The Jets have had their embarrassments this summer, and it needs to be put in check before the regular season games begin. The Sheldon Richardson four-game suspension was likely the biggest to hit the Jets, and that would have been bad enough, but then we heard he’d been arrested again. Fans and his teammates don’t need this kind of distraction. First we got the apology press conference, only to be doing it several days later with a new incident and a new apology!
Besides Richardson’s arrest and suspension, the team has had to deal with all the chatter some players have had with the media. We’ve had Antonio Cromartie making headlines with his mouth, as he struggles to do it with his on field play. It’s nice he thinks that Darrelle Revis is the greatest of all-time, but calling out Richard Sherman in the process makes no sense. And that is just the tip of the iceberg!
Jace Amaro had his back and forth banters with former head coach Rex Ryan. No need for it. Then we had the back and forth compliment festival between Revis and Cromartie, this stuff isn’t necessary, I think most around the NFL know they are good players. Stop the talk and focus on football.
Jul 30, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive back Darrelle Revis (24) defensive back Antonio Cromartie (31) during first day of training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Geno Smith and IK Enemkpali had an ongoing feud, reportedly dating back to OTA’s that was allowed to grow into a street fight in the locker room. Regardless, of who you want to blame for Smith’s broken jaw, this incident should never even happened.
After the fight, players seemingly knew this problem existed, some hit the press with stories of the growing conflict. Why did the coaching staff not know? Why didn’t anybody step in to diffuse the situation? It was a measly $600 dollars, and the Jets lost a promising linebacker prospect and their starting quarterback! These distractions have to come to an end!
Then we had Oday Aboushi hit the headlines, but only when the NFL announced their decision to suspend Aboushi. The reported incident, where Aboushi was pulled over for a traffic violation, and police found a small amount of marijuana. The incident happened last November, and the organization let it lie dormant until the NFL acted. It may not seem like a big deal to many, but it is just another distraction this team doesn’t need!
We’ve had players making controversial statements in the press concerning the Ferguson riots. Even one who had derogatory statements concerning police officers. Brandon Marshall even got in on the act with his comments about his former quarterback Jay Cutler. The players need to be reigned in from their media comments as the nonsense needs to come to an end. Bowles needs to refocus his football team before the regular season arrives.
Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches game against the Atlanta Falcons during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
I think Bowles has the skills to run this team. He came to the Jets with high expectations, his reputation around the league has always been a good one. Now he needs to take the reigns and become a head coach. The play on the field, even though it is early in preseason, is evidence that the Jets are not playing with focus.
There have been a bunch of distractions thus far this season, and Bowles needs to stop any more from arising before it all gets out of hand. He needs to sit his team down and lay down the law, this type of nonsense will not be accepted.
Maybe it is just me, but the circus atmosphere we witnessed under Ryan is beginning to return. Players need to be held accountable, they need to act professionally on and off the field. Their comments in the media need to be professional as well, if a gag order needs to be put in place to get them to behave, so be it! Bowles needs to get a hold of his team and shift the focus back to football.
It may seem that I’m being hard on Bowles, but that is not my intention. It is however the head coaches’ responsibility to keep these incidents from affecting the rest of the football team. It is apparent to at least this fan, that he’s failed up to this point. He can correct the situation easily, he has the power and the personal skills to get the job done but he needs to do it now though. The Jets need to put these distractions behind them before the opening kickoff of the regular season.
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