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Todd Bowles still has a chance to turn season around

By Hillary Garza
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Head coach Todd Bowles of the New York Jets looks on in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Head coach Todd Bowles of the New York Jets looks on in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Head coach Todd Bowles has his back against the wall but still has a chance to turn the season around for the New York Jets.

Head coach Todd Bowles has one last chance to save his job this upcoming Sunday. But he’ll have to do something that right now seems impossible; beat the New York Jets nemesis, the New England Patriots. Yes, the first half of the season was a complete failure, the Jets presently are about as close to the playoffs as Roseanne Barr is to star in another sitcom, and Bowles will almost certainly be fired on the day after the season ends. Which fortuitously is scheduled for December 31, 2018. Indeed, Bowles is having a season to forget so he’ll welcome with open arms 2019 and the symbolic fresh start that comes with a new year.

Bowles has to be extremely frustrated and disappointed at the way this season has unfolded. He took a big risk by starting a rookie quarterback. Even if Sam Darnold was the third overall pick in the draft and had shown during camp that he could handle the job, still, Bowles had to be acutely aware that rookie quarterbacks typically struggle out of the gate. And that the focus of the team’s performance would not necessarily be a reflection of the rookie quarterback’s inexperience, but rather the ability of the head coach. Sure enough, that is exactly how the season has played out—so far.

Make no mistake about it, Bowles is paying a price. Not only because a rookie quarterback is leading his offense, but also because there is a lack of talent and depth on the roster. Sure, there have been execution problems, lapses on defense, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates’ lack of creativity, and other issues that can be attributable to poor coaching, but the Jets’ 2018 performance is an organizational failure, not just Bowles.

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Yet, despite all of the signs pointing in the direction of Bowles’ eventual dismissal the fact remains that the schedule shows six remaining games. Which means that Bowles has six opportunities to prove to the Jets brass and fans that he can coach and is the one to lead this team for the foreseeable future. His next opportunity, and perhaps last, comes on Sunday.

First, and most basically, a win on Sunday would show that, yes, the Jets have taken a leap in progress.

Moreover, a win against the Patriots would provide counterfactual evidence against what some have termed, a “lost” season. There’s something about a home game against the Patriots that gets everyone stoked up and if the Jets win and build some momentum from it, then who knows, maybe the narrative changes and Bowles could save his job.

A win against the Patriots still means something for Jets fans. In other words, Bowles’ firing is not inevitable. To be clear, one win against the Patriots isn’t going to seal the deal for Bowles’ return, but it certainly puts his ability as a coach in a different light. But they will need to win a string of games before the sense of inevitable firing changes. Jets players claim that they support Bowles and that he’s the right coach, so on and so forth.

But if that is the case the players must do more on the field and pay less lip service when talking to the media. Go out and prove it by crushing New England on Sunday. Because you claim to have your coach’s back, but your coach is on the verge of getting fired so there aren’t many opportunities to set things right. Six games to go, it’s time to get serious.

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