Despite the recent Jets’ hype, the question still lingers.
Is Todd Bowles the right coach for the Jets?
It was the last game of Bowles’ inaugural season in 2015, and he was already set to be placed on a pedestal in Jets’ coaching history as his team was a game away from the playoffs.
The following week, the 10-5 Jets had to beat the 8-8 Buffalo Bills to clinch a playoff berth.
They had opportunities, but the Jets dropped a heart-breaking 22-17 decision.
Suddenly, Bowles’ competency was called into question after a few questionable decisions in the game. A change in culture came to a screeching halt.
From there, Bowles encountered a dismal 2016 campaign during which Bowles may have lost some of his players, and a two-win season in 2017 would have warranted a parade.
When the Jets shocked the football world with a 3-2 start, Bowles’ magic and respect was apparently back. From there, conceivable wins slipped away and Bowles again was doubted as his club won just two of their final 11 games.
Yet, Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan received a two-year contract extension.
Now that Maccagnan went on an off-season spending spree and drafted the presumed quarterback messiah, Jets’ fans will continue to be faced with the ever-ending question?
Can Bowles take this team to the next level?
Spend 10 minutes around Bowles, and you’ll see him as a likeable person. To the public, he presents a soft-spoken, laid-back demeanor that resembles more of a philosopher than a typical football coach.
Bowles can quickly become irritated with a ridiculous or repetitive question, yet can keep his composure. He reportedly can be a tyrant behind closed locker room doors, and he has disciplined his share of players.
He certainly has his share of critics on both sides. Often criticized for his lack of attention to offense, the defensive-minded Bowles did fire offensive coordinator John Morton and elevated Jeremy Bates, his third offensive coordinator in four years.
Bowles and Maccagnan were retained for the “progress” shown last season.
Maccagnan has set the table for Bowles for 2018 with the drafting of Sam Darnold and the signing of Teddy Bridgewater along with others to plug holes in a number of spots. Signing Trumaine Johnson and Avery Williamson should further elevate a rising defense.
Jets’ ownership will have to heavily weigh their estimation of progress and expectations and determine whether this is a full rebuild or a reboot. That outcome likely will determine Bowles’ fate.
Training camp opens in less than a month, and some questions may begin to be answered. Will the Jets look like another stagnant five-win team? Or is this a team that can win five or a few more and be ready to turn the corner?
Bowles’ future likely will depend on