(David Pokress/Sportsday Wire)
One day after the Jets made all their fans ralph from their performance at The Ralph, it was time to clear out their lockers and put 2015 to bed.
“We lost,” said head coach Todd Bowles. “We own it. We made some strides. We didn’t make enough strides. From where we came from, we got better. We have a long way to go. It should sting. It should help us propel into next year, understanding what we have to do and work harder and win more games. 10-6 on the surface is an okay record, but it’s not enough to get in. Obviously, our goal is to get into playoffs and win the Super Bowl so we didn’t get that accomplished, but we have a lot of things to grow off of and learn from and we’ll go from there.”
So now onto the off-season and how to get the Jets to the playoffs in 2016. There’s going to be some work to do as Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan will look to bolster the lineup enough that they will qualify for the playoffs.
“It’s going to be a lot of work,” Bowles said. “The way teams are now-a-days with free agents, the draft and people getting hurt, you’re going to have a new team every year. There’s going to be about 12 to 15 new guys on your team. So, you just have to find the right mix and try to find the right guys to sign back. Obviously, free agency is a crapshoot and a gamble and certain guys may try to leave. Hopefully, a lot of guys stay. We’re building something here. Everybody understands that. We’ll try to get as many of our guys as we can.”
First and foremost, the club needs to bring back quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is a free agent after a breakthrough season. The journeyman stabilized the position after years of disappointment. Bowles said he wants him back and will be the starter if he signs.
“It’s important to bring him back because he was the starting quarterback,” Bowles said. “I understand he’s a free agent and it’s all about business and you want to work things out. I understand when you try to bring somebody back and money gets involved to where it involves the whole team. It’s just not about bringing Fitz (Fitzpatrick) back, it’s about being able to afford him or somebody else over-paying for him and those types of things. But you can’t take away from anything that he’s done this year from a records standpoint or otherwise. He’s been great for the guys in the locker room and he knows we want him back and he wants to be back. It’s just a matter of working it out. ”
Other concerns is re-signing Muhammad Wilkerson, who is recovering from a broken leg and filling out some of the holes in the lineup, although the coach would not get into specifics.
“I don’t want to say there’s one area,” Bowles said. “We need a couple different areas and we’re going to meet as a staff and go over that. As we go over that, we’ll narrow down the specific areas. I can sit here and say we didn’t do this well and we didn’t do that well, but at the end of the day we probably want to get better at every area. Depending on what’s available and what we can get our hands on, we’ll probably just get better at that area.”
Otherwise, 2015 is a learning process that Bowles hopes will prepare him for next season.
“Obviously the day-to-day process and (when) certain things go wrong – like the locker room thing or something happens in the summer (or) in the off-season, take Sheldon (Richardson’s) things for example, certain things like that – they don’t surprise you. You know they are going to come up,” he said. “They surprise you because you don’t see them coming, but you just handle them on a day-to-day basis and you get better at them. You get experience and try not to put too much into it, say what you have to say and move on.”