Todd Bowles is now in his fourth year as Jets head coach. By the time a head coach or a manager is in his first fourth year of his team, what a team sees is what they get. He has had enough time to grow into his job.
Either Jets fans have no opinion or negative opinion on Bowles when assessing his three years as Jets coach. Some don’t know what he has to offer since he has not had a good team to coach, which is fair. Others think he is not a great coach based on his uninspiring 22-29 record.
One thing for sure. Bowles can’t enter the fifth year into his job next season if the Jets can’t be better than they were the last two seasons. No losing coach survives past the third season if his team does not trend in the right direction. Quite frankly, he is fortunate Woody Johnson has decided to transfer his own team’s ownership to his patient brother Chris Johnson or else he would be unemployed by now.
The Jets can’t keep being patient with their current head coach forever. It would be hard sell for the team to sell their fans on him. Already, a good part of Jets fans feel he is not the guy to lead them to prominence. They also don’t want him around when Jets starting quarterback Sam Darnold rises to be an NFL star.
Bowles can pretend he’s tone-deaf or oblivious to what’s going on, but he has been around the game for so long to know the deal, even if the Jets claim he is in no danger of losing his job.
It isn’t just the losing record that raises questions about Bowles. His clock management has been horrible since the day he coached, and his teams often come out unprepared and undisciplined. There are times where he lets his players get away with certain things whether it was Mo Wilkerson coming to work late or Sheldon Richardson taking plays off or taking shots at his teammates or not taking his job seriously. He also coaches like a defensive coach such as being conservative on offense and not go for it at fourth down with the idea his defense can get stops by forcing the other team’s offense on three-and-out. He looks clueless on the sidelines with his aw-geez look.
It remains to be seen if he can improve on that. Already in the preseason, the Jets have played like they don’t know what they are doing on the field. Bowles continues to coach conservatively by having his kicker kick a field goal and not let his quarterback go for it at fourth down. The penalties continue to add up, and his defense continues to not tackle.
Sure, it’s preseason, but the great teams don’t make mistakes. It’s a sign of a well-coached team. The least the Jets can do is at least play smart. That’s a reflection of the coach whether it’s fair or not.
Bowles has often tried to be a player’s best friend and not coach him, hence why he let Richardson and Wilkerson get away as long as they could until it got out of hand.
There has to be improvements within the head coach for him to coach in 2019. There’s nothing else to be said. If Bowles disregards this, then it would be a mistake on his part. The NFL is based on wins and losses. It’s a league for not for long. Fans are going to want results sooner or later. This idea that he does not have a good team to coach can only go so far.
It would be unrealistic to expect the Jets to be a playoff team. They are not. Not with this defense. Not with an offense that does not have many playmakers. Still, Bowles has to show his team plays well each week. He has to put his team in a position to be a playoff team by next season. A win against the New England Patriots can help his cause to come back. His shortcomings have to be improved one way or another.
The Jets have to do no worse than 7-9 or 8-8. That has to be the bare minimum for him to come back. The last two seasons have been awful under his watch, so he is going to have to show the Jets that he is the right guy to lead the Darnold era.
Mike Maccagnan has not distinguished himself as the Jets general manager with his awful drafts, but he is staying since he drafted Darnold and the organization believes in him. Bowles has not received that type of endorsement from Johnson or Maccagnan.
That should be a reminder that the Jets head coach shouldn’t feel secure about his job.