Entering his third season as head coach of the New York Jets, Todd Bowles knows that some of the discipline issues he has had in previous seasons needs to improve in 2017.
All young head coaches go through a learning curve in their first few seasons. Some coaches need to be fired and receive a second chance with another team before they find their way. Others like Bill Parcells, realize that being true to themselves is the only way they will not regret the final result.
For Todd Bowles he realizes that the discipline and off the field issues he has had in his first two seasons with the Jets can’t continue. GM Mike Maccagnan has purged the Jets roster of many of the veterans this offseason, giving the Jets a much younger look. While experience and talent might be an issue for the coming season, Bowles knows that he can mold this young team preaching effort discipline. According to DE Sheldon Richardson per Darryl Slater of NJ.com, the change is noticeable.
“He realizes we’re young and we need the extra coaching,” Richardson said. “We had a lot of veterans the past couple seasons, and I guess he felt like we didn’t need as much coaching up as possible. But last year said otherwise. But he’s still doing it his way. He’s not overdoing it. He’s just making sure he’s putting emphasis on it.”
Richardson and DE Mohammed Wilkerson were benched last season for missing a meeting, something that Wilkerson was said do to “all the time”. Players now know that things will be different this season.
“It’s completely different from the last couple years,” Richardson said at minicamp. “A lot more strict now. We weren’t loose [in the past], but it’s a lot more strict now. It’s even more enforced than what it has been in the past.”
Despite the rosters moves that most experts think will make the Jets one of the worst teams in the league, Bowles knows that his future employment rests on how this team performs, not just in wins and losses, but in attitude and preparation.
Bowles is entering his third season as head coach. After winning 10 games in 2015 and just missing the playoffs, the Jets fell to 5-11 last season. Discipline and locker room issues plagued the team all season. Along with the issues concerning Richardson and Wilkerson, former WR Brandon Marshall and Richardson also squabbled during the season.
Looking at the Jets recent history of head coaches, their third season has not been very kind. Despite initial success (each of the last 6 Jets head coaches had a winning record in their first season), history has shown that by season three, the initial success has not continued. Only Eric Mangini had a winning record in his third season, but he was fired after losing four of his last five games and missing the postseason. Only Herm Edwards had a winning season beyond his third season (finished 10-6 in his fourth season), but his tenure ended after finishing 4-12 in his fifth season.
There is no doubt that Bowles will have his hands full this season, but the lessons he has learned in his first two seasons will determine his future employment with the Jets.
Mark Kelly covers the New York Jets for ProFootballSpot.com. You can follow him on twitter @CkmagicSports. Looking for more Jets news and features? Like our Jets Facebook page and also follow @spot_jets on Twitter.