The New York Jets have not formally fired Todd Bowles yet but it is only a matter of hours, maybe a day at the most. This has been a foregone conclusion since Brock Osweiler and Matt Barkley beat the Jets in back to back weeks. Bowles was on shaky ground entering this season and has made zero progress in game management, staff building and player discipline. To put it succinctly, he has been a bad Head Coach and he deserves to be fired. He will likely move on to being a Defensive Coordinator in his next job. The Jets must find a way to hire a forward thinking coach who can put together a staff built to compete in today’s NFL. The game is changing and the Jets are way, way behind the rest of the league.
Today’s 38-3 loss to the New England Patriots locked in Bowles and his General Manager, Mike Maccagnan, with 24-40 record over 4 years, including a 14-35 mark over their past 49 games. There have been zero division titles, zero playoff appearances, six straight losses to the Patriots, including three losses by 20+ points in Gillette Stadium. This has statistically been the third worst three year stretch in franchise history. Since 2015, when they were hired, the Jets have the 29th worst record in the NFL and have built on the league’s third longest playoff drought, now at eight years.
The Jets enter this offseason with something they have had five of the past six offseasons, a ton of cap space…always an indicator of a lack of talent on the roster. The Jets have not made much progress to their league worst roster they ended 2014 with and have arguably the worst roster currently in the NFL The one major difference is they have a quarterback to build around, a critical piece that should help in the Head Coach and free agency search process. They also have a Pro Bowl safety. Outside of that? The Jets need just about everything. They need multiple offensive lineman. They need multiple pass rushers. They need multiple cornerbacks. They need a starting running back. They need another starting receiver. They need depth at tight end. They need a backup free safety.
Bowles was never getting more out of a roster than he should and reasonably, this probably should have been a 6 win team this season if you are feeling generous. He did not help himself with a misguided transition from John Morton to Jeremy Bates (who was comically overmatched this year) at Offensive Coordinator and an uninspired Defensive Coordinator that he never moved on from.
The Jets have a history of half measuring their changes. It does not appear that will stop this offseason. Bowles is going to solely take the fall for something that is fault of multiple individuals and for somebody who is equally culpable as him, Maccagnan.
There is no objective data that merits the Jets not fully cleaning house. There is no logic in how it helps move them forward, as it will only be an impediment in their Head Coach search and perpetuate an ongoing cycle of low expectations and excuses for losing seasons. The “rebuild” is on to year five now and will likely not have a playoff mandate in their fifth year. The Jets have evolved into the new age Cleveland Browns. Success is no longer measured by wins and losses but by differing cycles of narrative built rebuilds.
The Jets need to cast a wide net when it comes to replacing Bowles that ranges from Jim Harbaugh and Matt Campbell to Dave Toub and Eric Bieniemy to Pete Carmichael and Freddie Kitchens. They need to do better than retreads like Chuck Pagano and Jim Caldwell. They need to nail their Offensive Coordinator hire and then they need to stack resources against their offense and Sam Darnold.
Le’Veon Bell? Blank check. Offensive Linemen? Sign two and draft one. Veteran wide receiver trade market? Turn over every rock. First round pick on any defense player who isn’t an edge rusher? Hell no, take an offensive lineman. More tight end depth? Yes. They need it all and they need it now while Darnold is on his rookie contract.
Overall, Bowles will rightfully go down as one of the worst Jets coaches of the past 30 years. The fact that he was paired by a mediocre GM only exacerbated the organizational problems. Bowles is a good guy by all accounts so we wish him well moving forward in his career and shake our heads to wonder what happens if Kenbrell Thompkins makes that catch in week 17 vs Buffalo in 2015.