When it comes to the New York Jets in 2015, head coach Todd Bowles had an impressive first season leading the team, but he will need to improve in order for them to make significant progress.
Bowles certainly had a strong first season as head coach of the team. He managed to establish a winning culture in which players are held accountable, discipline is deemed necessary and winning is the only option.
The main issues with Bowles came up when he was faced with some crucial in-game coaching decisions. Some of Bowles’ choices in crucial moments of the Jets 2015 season were very costly and at times lacking in justification. This is something that will need to change.
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles on the sideline during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
In both crucial match-ups against the division rival Buffalo Bills, Bowles made some poor decisions that turned out to be very costly. The decisions that were made not only cost the Jets these individual games, but they were a big part of Gang Green coming up just short in the tightly contested AFC playoff race.
The Jets first matchup against the Bills came at home under the lights of Thursday Night Football. It featured an ugly late game sequence for the Jets as they had a chance to take the lead in the red zone with just minutes left.
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On fourth down, inside the Bills ten-yard line and down by five points, Bowles decided to go for it instead of kicking a field goal.
This resulted in an incomplete pass which was intended for tight end Kellen Davis.
After turning the Jets over on downs, the Bills went on to win the game as their lead was too much to overcome in too little time.
The Jets second game against Buffalo was possibly even uglier than the first. There were a number of glaring issues with the Jets’ game plan and preparation as they fought for their playoff lives at the windy Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
The lack of readiness for the Jets was a major issue as they looked dazed and confused against a depleted Bills team. They made the Jets look silly as they drew several penalties on them while consistently outplaying them on both sides of the football.
Another major issue was the Jets’ coverage of Buffalo’s lone elite weapon, receiver Sammy Watkins. Bowles decided to keep a banged up Darrelle Revis on Watkins in single coverage for the majority of the game, and it was brutal. It was clear that more help on Watkins was necessary, yet Bowles never came through.
While Bowles did make some big mistakes in his first year on the job, it is good to know that this can be expected of most rookie head coaches. It takes time to fully adjust to being the leading man on an NFL coaching staff, and we saw Bowles go through some typical growing pains.
In conclusion, it is very important for the present and of the future of the Jets that Bowles improves as a head coach. These improvements will mainly be in-game as Bowles has done a nice job of establishing a winning culture and keeping the locker room in check. If Bowles does grow as a head coach next season, the Jets should be in good shape for years to come.