The never ending carousel of head coaches for the New York Jets thanks to the total ineptness of one Todd Bowles.On Jan. 18, 2006, the New York Jets and their fans thought their savior had arrived. When the Bill Belichick disciple came to town — the same man who also once worked under Bill Parcells — fans were enthralled.
Eric Mangini was young, 35, and hungry.
Finally, Woody Johnson had hired the right guy who would take the head coaching job on the green side of New Jersey to the next level. Finally, the Jets had stolen success from that team to the northeast, one who could show us the way to winning.
It was not meant to be.
As great as Mangini’s obvious personnel evaluation talent was — as it was his players who helped Rex Ryan get to two straight AFC Championship games — was as bad as the young boss was when dealing with people, even inside the organization. He couldn’t maintain a healthy, working relationship with Woody and the rest of the brass in order to stick around post Brett Favre.
10 years and two head coaches later, the Jets are no closer to finding their Tom Landry (or even Mike Tomlin). This is the sad fact fans must mourn in the year 2016.
The organization’s never-ending head coaching carousel rages on.
Rex’s reign, as controversial as it was, enjoyed its moments. Amazingly (or, possibly not, if you’re familiar with Jets history), he left the organization as the Jets winningest playoff coach (4-2).
But forget about Rex. He’s old news. It wasn’t supposed to be this way with the new regime.
Bringing on Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles — working together after being hired simultaneously — were supposed to bring on the anti-circus sentiment. Fans breathed a deep sigh of relief in understanding a “sane” regime would force a culture change.
No longer would the inmates run the asylum.
Then IK Enemkpali happened.
It was questioned aloud fastly and furiously. The headline plaguing the Jets last August dealt with clowns and circus animals, rather than double A-gap blitzes and three-step drops.
Then Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson happened, and no longer was the surprising 10-6 record enough to keep Mr. Bowles in good standing. Now, thanks to Big Mo’s reckless behavior relating to team meetings — even birthday cake meetings — the uneasy “inept coach” feeling comes about. You now, the same one that tortured us in the mid-90s.
The longest tenured head coach in franchise history is the great Weeb Ewbank. His term lasted 11 years. Joe Walton earned a pretty solid run in the 1980s (seven seasons). Walt Michaels, and of course Rex, each put in work of six seasons.
That’s it. Each and every other Jets head coach has never made it past the fifth season. Herman Edwards went strong for five seasons (2001-05), while Bruce Coslet hung on for a miraculous four (1990-93).
Names like Mangini, Bill Parcells, Rich Kotite could only last two or three seasons. Pete Carroll, Al Groh, and the mess that was Lou Holtz in 1976, all lasted one season or less.
Now, less than one year after fans thought they had finally found their guy in Bowles, it seems as though that revolving door will continue to turn rapidly.
Very rarely should any fan give up on a coach after just two seasons, no less one. Sometimes, though, it’s impossible to ignore the issues at hand.
He’s done a terrible job.
This Jets roster — while overrated coming into the season — isn’t this bad. They aren’t without talent. That defensive line rivals the top lines in the NFL. Darrelle Revis, while clearly on his latter legs, isn’t a terrible corner. On the offensive side, Matt Forte is a classy back and the Jets are loaded with weapons.
The personnel shouldn’t be non-competitive. This is the case even facing that murderous six-game opening schedule slate.
The team feels uninspired and uninterested. Recent reports circulating around Big Mo and Sheldon showing up late or actually missing team meetings only backs up that initial point.
Todd Bowles is a quiet guy, a coach who doesn’t provide much to the media and decides to march on when things are rough. When asked why Wilkerson and Richardson didn’t play in the 1st-quarter against the Miami Dolphins, Bowles had this to say:
He repeated the two words a grand total of six times throughout the postgame press conference.
If losing is present and a quiet guy is leading the charge, New York city becomes restless. Rarely does it end well for the quiet guy who’s losing in this city.
More importantly, Bowles’s on-field performance has been nothing short of mind-boggling.
A safety who played during the decade of the 1980s, Bowles is cut from the old-school cloth. He believes in the fundamental value that run defense must be taken care of first. While, at the heart of football principle, this is true, he’s taken the philosophy to a ridiculous degree.
Routinely, he allows his players to play out of position thanks to his unwillingness to go lighter on the backend when passing situations arise. It leads to David Harris remaining on the field on 3rd-and-longs when he doesn’t have to be. It leads to Calvin Pryor playing slot wide receivers in impossible one-on-one situations. It also leads to Darrelle Revis being left on an island far too often. (Ironic, huh?)
The issue regarding too heavy a D-Line is Mike Maccagnan’s fault, as he provided Bowles an unbalanced interior heavy D-Line that cannot defend the edge.
But the fundamental principles and overall gameplans fall directly on Bowles’s shoulders. Not diving into his horrid sideline and clock management skills is doing us all a favor.
Admittedly, it’s tough to give up on a guy who’s only in his second season as boss. It’s especially tough considering he won 10 games in a season nobody expected his squad to do anything.
Sometimes, though, the oh-so-obvious handwriting is written perfectly on that wall. Sometimes, you have to cut your losses once recognized in order to more quickly get to the right guy.
Unfortunately, the New York Jets and their fans are back to square one, again. From Mangini to Rex to Bowles, the song and dance continues.
High hope always turns into deep despair. Until we actually see a guy coach the Jets for a decade, we cannot believe it’ll ever happen.