The New York Jets needs to stop hiring rookie head coaches and get a veteran that knows how to win and establish a successful culture.
Head coach Todd Bowles was the antithesis of Rex Ryan in 2015. That was the biggest thing he had going for him. Mild-mannered and polite, the new head coach’s biggest feat in 2015 may have been being everything Rex never was. Suddenly, the New York Giants were the ones with their internal drama playing out on the back pages of the newspapers. The New York Jets quietly built a ship that even Brandon Marshall wouldn’t have to worry about going down on.
Instead of soundbites, the Jets were just sound. Going forward, the Jets were set with a foundation that would lead them to success in the years to come. The first mistake was made at this point. The Jets were not who we thought they were, or even their young head coach thought.
This is why a young head coach was willing to jockey his trusty steed Ryan Fitzpatrick, a triple-crown winning horse in his eyes, all the way to the roses that would follow in 2016. There was one problem: a prized horse is fed a certain diet, trains a certain way, adjusts to the competition, and is trained to run a certain race to win at different tracks.
Bowles was not the trainer Fitzpatrick needed this offseason. Does that mean Bowles needed to be in Fitzpatrick’s house cooking him dinner and running him through drills in his backyard in June? No. What should have happened is that Bowles should have said something regarding the fact that Fitzpatrick was not training with NFL personnel.
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Fitzpatrick wasn’t signed to an NFL roster, and as a result, would not be ready to start a season as the starter of an NFL team. Unless he signed on to an NFL roster weeks beforehand.
Then we ask the question of What Would Bill Belichick Do? Well, there’s some evidence to show what he might have done in this situation, based on how he handled Tom Brady‘s suspension.
Bill made sure that everyone in the organization was on the same page regarding how they would handle the quarterback play moving forward.
At one point in the offseason, it was not clear if Brady would be suspended. However, the team knew very well that Brady might not be the starter Week 1, and they were grooming someone to start.
Of course, the question of whether the team could succeed without Brady was answered, as they went 3-1 in his absence. This is a testament to the coaching system in place. Should have anyone expected Bowles to handle the situation in a Belichick-ian way? Absolutely not. However, a veteran coach knows not to marry his system to a quarterback – even if that quarterback is Tom Brady.
The 3-1 start of the Patriots showed that the sum is always greater than the parts in Patriot-land. A veteran coach knows that. Say what you will about Bill Belichick, but using him and the Brady situation as an example of how a veteran coach handles his team is a good blueprint for any team to follow. Had the Jets had a veteran at the most important position, they would have known this.
The Jets need a system. Not a defensive system. Not an offensive system. A full-blown system.
The offense, defense, and special teams. That’s the role of a veteran head coach. The greats make systems that make players. This is why Mark Sanchez failed. It’s why Fitzpatrick ultimately failed. It’s why Geno, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg may all eventually fail.
Until the Jets get a veteran presence in place to set a tone, a constant question will arise at various positions, including the head coach. Even the performance of players with a proven track record (not inferring Fitzpatrick is one of those) has slip-ups in performance year-over-year.
A system ensures that differences in performance don’t drastically affect the final record. Veteran coaches, or disciples of veteran head coaches, have systems in place. The Jets are in need of a veteran, or someone who has worked under the tutelage of a veteran. Bowles is just in the wrong place, at the wrong time.