A New Era in New York Jets Coaching
Todd Bowles has done something in his rookie year that buys a NYJ Coach a lot of cache at One Jets Drive, that’s beat the New England Patriots in a must win game. The last coach who did bought himself immunity through four years of mediocre football. Make no mistake Woody Johnson lives and breathes for beating the Patriots and doing so has become a mini-super bowl for the Jets. Last time this happened the Jets consistently shot themselves in the foot and played inconsistent undisciplined football as they stacked losing seasons. I want to examine the differences between the last man to win a meaningful game against the Patriots and current Head Coach Todd Bowles.
The differences really are huge and they start just leading up to the game. Todd Bowles has eliminated the rowdy up and down Jets team of the past. This team plays hard smart football whether the Patriots are the next team or not. Under Rex Ryan the Jets lost 5 times to opponents they played the week before the Patriots. Usually to lackluster opponents like the Jaguars, stemming from the undisciplined Jets overlooking their opponent and buying into Ryan’s rhetoric for next week. This year Todd Bowles is 2-0 in such games. There was no talk of kissing rings, no burying footballs, and especially no bulletin board material for the Patriots. Just respect for a strong opponent and a solid smart game plan on how they can beat them.
That takes us into how Todd Bowles has played the Patriots. In their first tilt the Jets offense to that point flowed through its power running back Chris Ivory. When Ivory tweaked his hamstring on the first play of the game the Jets struggled to move the ball consistently all game. Bowles went blitz heavy in attacking Tom Brady and the plan had some marginal success until Jets safety Calvin Pryor went down with an injury and the Patriots started picking on the outmanned Marcus Gilchrist and Dion Bailey over the middle with Gronkowski, Edelman, and Amendola. Even still the Jets were ahead and just needed to push their lead to 3 possessions when a Marshall drop in the end zone let the Patriots back into the game. The Patriots marched up and down the field and the rest is history. What’s interesting though is that going into the Jets rematch against the Patriots the Jets had a lot of advantages that they didn’t have the first time. A banged up Edelman and Amendola, and a healthy Ivory and Pryor. Bowles could have easily told himself that he almost won the first time why change anything. It’s the tactic his well-meaning but somewhat sluggish predecessor would have done. Instead Bowles switched up his defensive scheme and employed low-blitz heavy cover attack that relied on deception and production from the front 4. Rex always answered good offenses with blitzes and Brady always picked him apart like he does every blitz he sees. Rex never made that adjustment even after 6 years. Todd Bowles did after one game.
This tells us a lot about the man being trusted to run the Jets. While the future of the team will rely on Maccagnan’s drafts infusing the team with young talent, Jets fans can feel good knowing they have a solid winning coach who can match wits with New England’s Belichek.