Burning questions to ask head coach Todd Bowles
By Mark Kelly
If in an open forum with head coach Todd Bowles of the New York Jets, these are the tough questions asked about the lack of accountability so far this season.
If you are anything like me, you quickly become infuriated at the lack of guts sports writers have in questioning coaches. After the latest debacle by the New York Jets, Sunday’s 31-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, I was mortified at the gutless questions reporters asked head coach Todd Bowles.
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This article will deal with questions that I would have liked to have been asked after Sunday’s game. Questions that could have been followed up on and finally questions that I think need to be answered during Bowles next press conference.
Q: Coach Bowles – down 11 with 7:36 remaining you chose to punt the ball on 4th and 2? Why did you do that?
A: There was enough time on the clock we figured we get them pinned down there and try to go 3 and out….we were getting 3 and outs before that…
Q: Um, yeah, coach – the 3-and-outs you were referring to came in the 3rd quarter when your defense was a little better rested. The previous two drives the defense gave up 136 yards on 15 plays and if not for a fumble deep in your own territory, most likely would have ended in two straight touchdowns.
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So again, why – when so CLEARLY your defense was tired and incapable of stopping Ben Roethlisberger, who at that point had completed nine straight passes – would you basically give up with 7 minutes remaining?
I understand hindsight is 20/20 but you saw the result of your decision, which I think the most novice football fan could have predicted, which was another long touchdown drive of 12 plays and 71 yards that ended the game. Would you rethink your decision if you had to make it again?
A: If it were the same situation I would probably punt it.
(At this point I would cease to require more answers and just go on a lecture)
Q: Excuse me? So knowing that you would lose the game because you are choosing to send out an exhausted defense, you would make the same mistake again? Didn’t you say at the beginning of the press conference that you are the one accountable for the mistakes this team is making?
Let me ask you a question, Coach Bowles. If I sat at my desk and drooled and lip diddled for 3-and-a-half hours, and when my editor came in I just had drool and smiley faces on my paper, how do you think he would react?
Let’s say that I recognize my mistake and promise that the next week I will pay attention and write an exceptional game story, and he chooses to believe me. However, when next week comes I’m doing the same exact thing and haven’t learned from my mistakes of the previous week. Would he want to hear the same promises from me? Would you think that I had any credibility left?
Week after week we watch as you are paid a wonderful salary to produce a game plan and prepare your players. You have one of the most elite jobs in the world. However, if anyone else at any other job prepared as poorly and gave the same excuses week after week, how long do you think they would have a job?
Here are some other questions I would ask if I were given the chance to question the Jets head coach.
Coach Bowles, you talk about accountability. What kind of message does it send to your team when no one is accountable for the consistent miscommunication your secondary has?
Despite having one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, why have you failed to generate any kind of pass rush? Who is the one preparing the game plan and why has your defensive line been so incredibly unprepared the last three weeks?
Oct 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles at Heinz Field. The Steelers won, 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Coach Bowles, despite having six former first round draft picks on your defense, they rank 22nd in yards allowed in the NFL. They are also 31st against the pass which is unacceptable. We’ve seen other teams such as the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills make changes to their coordinators. Only when they have failed to perform the job expected on a daily basis.
What kind of message does it send to your players and fans when you fail to hold your staff accountable? Especially for such incredible mismanagement of talent and failure to put talented players in position to make plays?
Does this speak to a larger problem of this franchise historically ho-humming poor performance?
Coach Bowles, past regimes have said the same exact things as you. You know, about “getting better” and “fixing the mistakes” and ultimately failed to do so. However, what is more, alarming, is the incredible lack of urgency you show.
You repeatedly make the same excuses every week for your mismanagement of game situations. Your failure to prepare your team for your opponent and giving up on games that could still be salvaged. How much longer would you give an employee who repeatedly has been incapable of learning from mistakes and giving the same excuses?
At what point do you acknowledge that this employee is incapable of performing his responsibilities? What kind of message does it send your players and fans when such failures are consistently overlooked?
Coach Bowles, why is the franchise so comfortable in failing to succeed? Past regimes have sat in your spot and delivered the same exact excuses. What is it that your regime has failed to account for? Why should fans have any trust that you deserve to be here when you have clearly shown that being a head coach are beyond your capabilities?
What do you say to fans that trusted you to be different than the other coaches this franchise has hired?
If that is not true, then how long do you need does it take for you to expect results? How many drafts would you need? Only because right now your demeanor has equaled your game preparations and decisions which scream indifference and acceptance of failure.
In a perfect world, reporters would not be afraid to ask such questions. Coaches would not expect to get such softballs lobbed at them during each post-game press conference. I understand why reporters don’t get in the face of coaches who hate standing up there being questioned. Especially by people, most coaches deem unworthy of asking such questions.
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However, regardless of popularity or being socially acceptable, I would love to see more coaches be challenged. Especially when their performance is severely lacking and they show no emotion. It seems as of late they are skating by and not being held accountable.