By Brad Carroll
While hoping against hope the New York Jets are headed in the right direction, despite rolling into what appears to be a season not full of playoff aspirations, but rather how high the team will end up in the NFL Draft, the case for having head coach Todd Bowles remain in charge for the next two seasons only makes sense. After all, the Jets can't properly build the team this upcoming season if the coach is worried about losing his job with a second-straight poor showing.
So, as painstaking as it may be, the seemingly over-matched Bowles must remain in power for the betterment of continuity.
Of course, that statement makes me cringe, as I didn't want Bowles to coach the team in the first place, and would have cut bait with him after last season's embarrassment, both on and off the field. But if Jets fans really want to build something, and soon, they must hope Bowles can become a builder and leader of the franchise. Give Bowles this upcoming season to build (and this leeway goes out the window if Josh McCown starts at quarterback the whole year) and then use the following season to capitalize on it with a playoff season. That's what I would preach to an angry fanbase to get them on board.
But then all that potential optimism goes right out the window when you hear the guy talk at the owners meetings.
Speaking on the lateness many of the Jets players were known for last season, including stars Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, Bowles didn't give an authoritative answer to calm fans' concerns about a possible renegade locker room, instead choosing to go in the exact opposite direction.
"Sometimes you're late to work," Bowles said. "It's life. It's not life threatening. Sometimes your alarm clock isn't going to go off."
Bowles might have thought he was being funny. But ask any Jets fan to discuss the quote and I can guarantee you not even a crack of a smile would be seen. It would actually inspire a response of pure anger, which would prove how much more seriously the fans take the success of the team than the head coach. Imagine that.
Say what you will about Bill Belichick, the ultimate heel for Jets fans, but nobody would accuse him of not caring and not wanting to win at all costs. Bowles even had the nerve to say he doesn't care about the New England Patriots in March. Well, yeah, that makes sense when you're worried about your own team, but why in the world would you actually say it out loud? Would Belichick ever say something so stupid?
Bowles will never be Belichick. Heck, Bowles probably will never be Rex Ryan.
And we all know I could throw Ryan's name in here and how the sports world would react with outrage if it was him that said that about lateness rather than the comatose Bowles. Of course, the only difference would be Ryan actually cared about the players and winning, while Bowles appears so out of place as a leader of men, so bored by the job and maybe life in general, that it's not a laughing matter.
Giving Bowles two years to get this team back in the playoff hunt appears to be the right direction for the Jets to go in, if he fully invests in the future, and that includes making Christian Hackenberg (or Bryce Petty for that matter) the team's starting quarterback next year. But then he opens his mouth and all the negativity surrounding his tenure returns to the forefront and the right direction switches from Bowles leading the way in 2018 to blowing the whole thing up once again with a new head coach.
Unfortunately, it's the Jets way.