Top 5 incidents that has Todd Bowles on the hot seat
By William Cochrane
Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles speaks to the media during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Head coach Todd Bowles could very well be on the hot seat heading into his third season with the New York Jets. Here are the top five incidents that prove he has no control of his locker room.
Let’s reflect and take a look back at how this New York Jets team has performed on the field and off the field amid Todd Bowles initial two years as head coach. The players off the field troubles have put their coach on the hot seat and close to being the first coach fired this year.
In Bowles first year as head coach of the Jets, he guided the team to a surprisingly successful one. Bowles coached Gang Green to a 10-6 record, just barely missing the NFL Playoffs.
It was an unexpected magical year that stunned the NFL’s alleged experts, who had the Jets pegged to win far fewer games and furthermore being one of the league’s doormat teams. The team’s future outlook was looking bright under the first year of their newly hired head coach.
Unfortunately, the Jets players behavior during Bowles first 2015 season was far worse than their record had shown. In this article, we will go back and relive the team’s top five troubles, that has not stopped and ultimately has Bowles job in jeopardy heading into the regular season.
Next: 1. Geno Smith sucker punched
Jun 14, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) answers questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
1. Geno Smith sucker punched
Shockingly, the Jets 2015 supernatural season started off with one of the most bizarre situations to ever happen in all of sports. It occurred during training camp and inside the Jets locker room, out of every other place on earth. Linebacker IK Enemkpali “sucker-punched” the Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith. The ridiculous incident wasn’t over football, it was over $600. The starting quarterback was replaced by the Jets offseason free agent signing, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Promptly after the episode, the team quickly released Enemkpali. This incident had to shellshock the Jets new head coach. To be perfectly honest, it’s not quite what you would expect in your first days as a head coach.
In a news conference addressing the media, Bowles had this to say in regards to the extraordinary situation, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
“There was an altercation in the locker room,” Bowles said. “It had nothing to do with football. It was something very childish. He got cold-cocked, sucker-punched, whatever you want to call it. You can’t tolerate that. When you have a team and a bunch of side issues you can’t tolerate that. It’s something very childish that sixth-graders could have talked about,” Bowles said. “If they want to tell you what happened, they’ll tell you what happened. I told them I wouldn’t say anything.”
Next: 2. Sheldon Richardson's continued incidents
August 11, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) during practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
2. Sheldon Richardson’s continued incidents
Jets Pro Bowl defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who was already facing a four-game suspension, failed a drug test (Marijuana). In only one hour after Richardson had made a public apology, saying he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, a bombshell police report came to fruition on Richardson.
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On July of 2016, the All-Pro had been arrested in the state of Missouri when he was attempting to avoid arrest in a police chase that reached speeds of 143 MPH.
According to the police, the car reeked of marijuana, had a loaded semi-automatic handgun and there was also a 12-year-old in the car amid the police pursuit.
Richardson avoided jail time as part of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to two years probation and 100 hours of community service and for the four traffic violations, he violated during the chase. Overall, he was fined a total of $1,050.
The new head coach addressing the Richardson situation to the media said, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
“I’m obviously disappointed by something like that,” Bowles said. “It’s been a while since he was suspended. We’ve come to grips with it. We’ll help him hopefully get help with his problem. He’ll practice every day and we’ll get him in shape. It should be a good lesson for him. I’m sure his parents are more disappointed than anybody. He understands that. His actions will speak louder than his words going forward.”
Following the Jets successful 2015 season despite those ugly incidents, Gang Green headed into the 2016 season expecting another strong season on the field which never came to be. Fitzpatrick, who had the best year of his career was re-signed. With the lobbying of players, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, who both had a spectacular 2015 season with Fitzpatrick as their quarterback. General manager Mike Maccagnan signed the 33-year-old to a one-year, $12 million dollar contract.
Last season (2016) no players got into any kind of legal trouble, the trouble was the player’s lack of desire and their cohesiveness as a team. All Pro’s Muhammad Wilkerson and once again Richardson were benched for being late to meetings and team activities.
Richardson also got into verbal incidents with Marshall. Decker sustained an early season-ending injury. Fitzpatrick was unable to repeat his 2015 performance, having one of the worst seasons of his career. The entire Jets squad was horrendous on the field. They started the season off with a 1-5 record and never recovered. Finishing last in the AFC East with five wins and eleven losses, tied for third worst in the NFL.
One player who did have a breakout performance during last year’s dreadful season, Quincy Enunwa revealed insight on exactly how divided the team was after the season had finished.
Speaking with a group of reporters a day after the Jets season ended, wide receiver Enunwa reflected on how the locker room conflict affected the team. Here’s what he said in an article written by Darryl Slater of NJ.com:
“It didn’t help us,” he said. “You look at our record, and it really hindered our play.”
“It can be,” he said. “A big reason for that is when you see the bad things that are going on, you kind of feel like you almost lose your purpose. You go into the season and you don’t want to play for self. You want to play for the team. But when the team doesn’t feel like a team, then you’ve got to start playing for self.”
During this offseason with Richardson’s unprofessional behavior, the Jets desperately tried finding a team that would take the former Pro Bowler off their hands. His play had dropped drastically last year and with his constant erratic conduct, no team would take the troubled player. Maccagnan was, unfortunately, unable to unload the former All-Pro.
Bowles has to be considered responsible when you hear about the Jets problems. He is the head coach, furthermore, has to be aware when his team is falling apart directly in front of his eyes.
During Bowles press conferences last year, he himself even looked lost while taking questions. He is an extremely mild-mannered man but his delicate tone is not getting through to his players and it’s not what this team needs. In some cases, you need to switch it up a bit. They required a verbal lashing that grabs these player’s attention. Player’s additionally themselves need to be responsible and venture up by being leaders. There wasn’t one single leader that was noticed in last season’s awful 5-11 season.
Onto this upcoming season, there have already been three significant incidents that need to be dealt with and addressed quickly before they snowball and the team quits once again. The incidents involved three of the Jets youngest players over the next few slides.
Next: 3. Robby Anderson resisting arrest with violence
Oct 23, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs with the ball while avoiding a tackle attempt by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tavon Young (36) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
3. Robby Anderson resisting arrest with violence
The first incident of the new year and third on our list is second-year wide receiver Robby Anderson, who went undrafted and was picked up by the Jets. He had a fantastic first year as a rookie and got a lot of fans behind him to succeed.
Nevertheless, after the season was over, Anderson found himself in trouble. He was arrested at a music festival after security had instructed him to leave, police arrived and confronted him. Police say they arrested Anderson for pushing a police officer after a dispute. The arresting officer who has a checkered past charged the Jets receiver with a felony for resisting arrest with violence and obstruction as the case is ongoing.
The NFL is looking into this situation, which could fall under the personal conduct policy. Let’s face reality fans, the NFL is the most strict sport in all of sports. Players have to keep their cool and stay out of situations that could get them suspended and completely ruin their careers.
Next: 4. Darron Lee restrained by own teammate
Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Darron Lee (Ohio State) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the New York Jets as the number twenty overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
4. Darron Lee restrained by own teammate
Incident number two this year and number four on our list is an off the field incident involving 2016 first round pick Darron Lee. He had a respectable first year finishing his rookie season with 42 combined tackles, two passes deflected and one sack.
Lee and teammate Leonard Williams attended a music festival in early June. There is a video of what took place. What is on video is now confirmed to be Darron having a verbal argument with his girlfriend. What we see in the video is Williams, who had clearly turned out to be worried that the situation might escalate, doing what a decent teammate should do.
Williams made the best decision he could by grabbing Lee and pulling him far away from the situation. Who knows what would have happened if Williams was not there at the time.
All things considered, there were no arrests made, nevertheless, the incident is still under investigation. Bowles has, however, another troubling incident that occurred under his tenure. Here is what Bowles told the media about the Lee incident, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
“He had an argument with his girlfriend,” Bowles said. “What do you want me to discipline him (for)? He had an argument with his girlfriend, and somebody took a photo.”
“I got the stories from everybody,” he said. “As far as I was concerned, you don’t want that stuff to happen. Obviously, with social media going on these days, they’ve got to take better care of themselves. Darron understands that and we had a long talk and we’ll move forward from there.”
Next: 5. Lorenzo Mauldin arrested after altercation
Oct 23, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (55) reacts after a defensive stop against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Ravens 24-16.Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
5. Lorenzo Mauldin arrested after altercation
Situation number three already this year and number five on our list. Sincerely fans, let’s hope this is the last one since the regular season hasn’t even started yet.
Third-year Linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin is being sued and was ultimately arrested due to allegedly beating his accuser when he spilled champagne on him at the Highline Ballroom.
The victim suffering multiple maxillofacial fractures and required numerous plates installed to repair his injuries according to Lopez’s lawyer Glenn Race. Considering Mauldin was arrested, it doesn’t bode well as the investigation continues for such a young and promising player.
Mauldin made it to the NFL, having to conquer an extreme childhood as he was in 16 foster homes while both his parents were in and out of jail. While he may be innocent, staying out late until 2:30 in the morning in an alcohol-fueled environment is not a predicament that people should be putting themselves into. With that said, once again, hopefully, this ends well for Mauldin.
Following these incidents, in the past week, two Jets players, Wilkerson, who is in his seventh pro year and Williams have stated they will progress towards becoming leaders for the Jets squad, which is refreshing to hear. Hats off to them for stepping up to the plate as this Jets team really needs leaders.
Next: Final thoughts
Presently, with five weeks off until the start of training camp, Jets players shouldn’t be out at clubs and partying until the early morning hours. Those days were to be done and forgotten when they graduated from college.
It’s time for these professional players to become adults and focus on their careers. Relax, spend time with their families and loved ones. Additionally, they should remain in shape and prepare for the upcoming 2017 season. Show Jets fans and the coaching staff that you’re committed to excellence and to the fortunate life you have of being able to play in the NFL and get paid handsomely for.
With respect to Bowles, how about we trust he moves toward becoming more involved and sterner when required? He should keep in contact with his players to help mentor them all along the way since the Jets can’t afford yet another off the field distraction. That way, they can be successful not only in football but in life.
Bowles job is contingent upon this young team learning his playbook as well as giving 100 percent on the field. While also learning how to be adults, the kind of men who know not to put themselves in positions like drinking at nightclubs throughout the night, where they are more likely to land themselves in trouble like they have up to this point.
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If more off the field incidents and distractions occur during the regular season, the Jets must fire Bowles and find a replacement coach. That will ultimately prove the players are not being guided to be the best they can be by their head coach. It will show a lack of discipline and a lack of effort as it would put Bowles on such a hot seat, it would be time for his removal. The delicate unheard tone approach of Bowles would then have to be replaced as soon as possible with a stricter and more stern approach towards building a winning football franchise.