The search for the right head coach of the Jets
By Bobby Kirschenbaum
When it comes to the New York Jets, the search for the right head coach might be coming sooner than many think.
This season of the New York Jets has been a disaster since opening week and every week seems to shine light on a new area of trouble for the team. One could argue that the most upsetting part to the season has been the decline of Darrelle Revis. Others could say it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, the $12 million man, who went from breaking franchise records a year ago to holding one of the lowest quarterback ratings and throwing the most interceptions in the league.
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However, this team’s most clear problem and the lead to all others has been a horrendous coaching job and lack of leadership qualities in Todd Bowles. It’s an overall lack of talent across the roster, and some baffling mismanagement on the part of Bowles. He has done a terrible job of coaching all season and it’s impacting the rest of the staff, the players and the reputation of the franchise.
If Monday Night’s 41-10 blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts at home was not indicative that a coaching change is necessary then maybe I’m watching a different sport. From the opening kickoff to the last play of the game, Bowles looked lost, lacked any energy/motivation and showed no signs of true leadership. Fitzpatrick was benched after throwing for just 81 yards and an interception in the first half. Bryce Petty took over and had 135 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions of his own. Sure, the numbers look mediocre to sub-par for the young Baylor graduate, but he is not the culprit after receiving minimal snaps all season with the starters in practice, thanks to Bowles.
One of the most essential characteristics any good coach needs to have is the ability to communicate with all players and coaches on all decisions. And Bowles did just the opposite this past week. After the disgraceful loss to the Colts on Monday, Fitzpatrick was informed by an offensive coach, not Bowles, that he will yield his starting job to Petty for the last four games of the season, just moments before he had to speak to the media. Personally, if I was Fitzpatrick, I’d be pretty disappointed and irritated that a coach could keep things from his players like that.
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Despite the criticism from media and fans, Bowles still remains confident in his abilities as a leader. “I don’t believe I ever lost it,” Bowles said, per Connor Hughes of NJ.com. “We had a bad game. A terrible game. That’s without question. [Fans] have every right to think that, but I know what we have in this locker room. I know what we have in this building. I’m OK with that.” It’s turned into dejá vu, as it seems Bowles reiterates the same speech every week, yet the results reflect the opposite.
It has been too long now since the Jets have had a strong, stable leader as head coach. Most winning franchises develop rapport among their coaches and players, but the Jets have fluctuated for far too long. Additionally, it is clear that the Jets do have one of the top-notch defensive units in the league, despite the secondary’s woes this year, yet they still constantly seek defensive-minded coaches when the offense is the real problem. From Eric Mangini to Rex Ryan to now Bowles, it is time for an offensive coach to get this offense clicking again.
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The Jets will likely end the season in the bottom five of the league, resulting in a high draft pick. They will anticipate the return of Pro Bowl receiver Eric Decker next season. They will groom Petty to potentially be a franchise quarterback or search for a free agent veteran. However, Bowles needs to be fired and just maybe this team will regain its mojo next season with new leadership.