- Rich Wilhelm
Tough Love or Best Friend: Bowles vs. Rex
There are many approaches to coaching in the NFL. Currently the New York Jets are seeing a drastic change in the organization based on their change in management and coaching. The coach are moving on from a coach who prided himself on publicly announcing himself to the media to a coach who is soft spoken and expects his team to follow suit. Both coaches are good at their jobs and have expertise on the defensive side of the ball. Both coaches will make their respective teams better almost immediately and both coaches will have the respect of their players in different ways. So what is the difference between these two men? They seem similar on paper, but the tiny difference are going to be paramount for the New York Jets organization. It is not simply black and white, no pun intended.
There are four main differences between the Rex Ryan era and the new Todd Bowles era that will play a vital part in next season and beyond.
1) Not letting players talk without it being seen on the field- The Rex Ryan era is clearly over in New York, just ask the media. These new Jets are very tight lipped compared to the years past. There was slight talk in the beginning of the Bowles reign including mention of the Jets being the new “dream team”. Bowles quickly shut the talk down and did not understand why there was talk without production. This is vital to make this team more regimented and will help them obtain a goal they had never had, a championship. The dream team talk will not resurface in the future, I guarantee it.
2) Clear coach/player relationships- The Rex Ryan chest bump is synonymous in New York. The relationships Rex Ryan had with his players were great…while they lasted. After Rex Ryan left there were players such as Jace Amaro and Willie Colon who questioned Rex Ryan’s accountability. When a coach becomes a friend, the coach tends to let players slide on things. Bowles seems to have made a line in the sand between coach and player.
3) Playing Favorites vs. Building a 53- The next differnce conincides very well with the last difference of relationships with players. Rex Ryan was a culprit of keeping players on the roster based on his relationship with them. The same thing is happening in Buffalo. Rex Ryan added players that many view as sub par including Wayne Hunter, Matthew Mulligan, Matt Simms and John Connor. It seems that with Todd Bowles no one is completely safe. It does not matter where the player is drafted it matters what happens on the field. This rings clear based on comments regarding Dee Milliner. A player like Dexter McDougle or Marcus Williams could unseat Milliner based on performance. Bowles uses almost the entire roster in his schemes so players will have the chance to shine. If he player is on the field it is because they earned it. I expect a few surprise cuts.
4) More focus on the Offense- When is the last time a Jets fan could say the Jets were good offensively on paper? This year it seems like the team can compete if Geno Smith steps up. Bowles has come forward that he wants a balanced team. The era of ground and pound may have finally fell by the wayside. Adding talent on the offensive side of the ball is something this team is not necessarility accustomed to. Every position that was lacking seemed to get an upgrade. The offensive line is still shaky but the added attention of a head coach could make all the difference. Another aspect that proves that Bowles is invested in the offense is his banter with Chan Gailey. Bowles made it known that no position is set in stone and he will have a say in how starts for his team especially at quarterback. This team is shell shocked and ready for long term success.
Are these slight differences enough to propell the team to the next level? Time will tell.