Can Todd Bowles survive worst season ever?
By Jack Monaghan
If the New York Jets have the worst season ever in franchise history this upcoming season, could that be the end of head coach Todd Bowles? It all depends on the growth of his players and coaching style.
After winning 10 games in his first season as head coach of the New York Jets, the feeling around the organization was that they found the stud coach that they’ve been looking for since the departure of Bill Parcells back in 2000. Despite the fact that the team choked away a golden opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time in years, a putrid performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick and company in Week 17 against their former coach Rex Ryan and the subpar Buffalo Bills, Todd Bowles showed polish and leadership during his first year at the helm.
However, with a much tougher schedule and an aging roster that featured a turnover prone quarterback, everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Bowles in year two, even to the point where his job security was in question coming down the stretch of the season.
With a roster that now features another turnover prone quarterback that’s played for eight different teams during his 14-year career, there are very little offensive playmakers to speak of. Due to the departures of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, there’s not much on the horizon that makes fans believe things will turn around for Bowles and the Jets this upcoming season.
With that being said, if the Jets do end up being as bad as their roster dictates they will be, can Bowles live to see another year or will the franchise part ways and go in another direction after just three seasons? That’s the million dollar question that we won’t have answered until January of 2018.
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The reason being, it takes a special kind of awfulness to fire a coach midseason, and with nobody on Bowles staff with head coaching experience, it’s extremely unlikely that the Jets decide to pull the trigger before the end of the 2017 season.
With an impatient owner in Woody Johnson, whose known to have a quick hook and hates nothing more than seeing empty seats at Metlife Stadium, it’s logical to think that Bowles is entering his third season as a dead man walking.
Under normal circumstances, this would be a prove it year for Bowles, one good year one bad year, and let’s see what he can do in year three. But with a depleted roster that besides not having a quarterback, has a leaky offensive line, a secondary that has no depth, an aging backfield, a wide receiver depth chart that has no veterans to its name, and a defensive line that’s filled with talented but egotistical stars, it’s completely unfair to judge Bowles off wins and losses this season.
Instead, Bowles should be judged on how the two young quarterbacks on the roster progress in Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, and whether or not he shows true progress in the areas where he’s been weak during his first two seasons which are clock management and player motivation.
The latter of the two is much easier said than done, and if indeed the Jets are let’s say 2-10 or 3-9 heading into the final quarter of their season, how well they play down the stretch against the likes of Denver, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and New England?
It could go a long way in determining his future with the Jets. All in all, this will be a long year for Gang Green filled with losing and harsh criticism from the fans and media. If Bowles can show improvement when it comes to the little things, he absolutely should get another year as the head coach. Except this time, with a chance to help rebuild a mess that he is partially responsible for creating.
With that said, I’m not the one calling the shots and watching the team get pummeled week in and week out in front of a half empty stadium that’s screaming for the coaches head may be too hard for Johnson to ignore. The one question he does have to ask himself is although a new head coach would be inheriting a top three draft choice and a chance to land a terrific young quarterback in next year’s draft, job security is important as a head coach.
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Who is logically going to take this job when they know that after one bad year or so they’ll likely be unemployed? For now, all Bowles can do is ignore the noise, put his head down and work, and hope that by the end of the season, he’s shown enough growth for Johnson to ignore the impatient fanbase that just wants to see their beloved team be contenders once again.