New York Jets coach Todd Bowles gets the unanimous vote from ESPN.com's AFC East reporters on this one. Bowles is in a tough situation entering his third season and has the most to lose.
Mike Rodak, Buffalo Bills reporter: The Jets have descended into full tank mode, which will hurt Bowles more than GM Mike Maccagnan. General managers typically are given time by ownership to see through rebuilding projects, but coaches are not often granted the same courtesy. Look no further than Jeff Fisher, who had to continually move his team last year between Missouri and various sites in Southern California while being tasked with developing No. 1 pick Jared Goff. Likewise, Bowles must deal with perhaps the NFL's worst roster this season and won't have a top draft pick at quarterback to give hope to fans. It's a near-impossible spot for a coach. Bowles had a promising start with the Jets in 2015 when he won 10 games, but last year's slide probably doomed him. I see another coach eventually leading the Jets out of the ditch in which they currently reside.
James Walker, Miami Dolphins reporter: Bowles has lost all momentum since winning 10 games in his first season. Bowles was 5-11 last year and has zero playoff appearances. This is an important third season for Bowles to prove he’s more of the coach we saw in 2015, not 2016. The problem is the Jets’ front office is appearing to do everything they can not to give their head coach much of a chance. New York jettisoned quality veteran talent such as linebacker David Harris and wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. The Jets also passed on drafting a top quarterback prospect, leaving them with Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg and Josh McCown. It’s going to be very difficult for Bowles to win this season under those circumstances, and odds aren’t great that he could survive another five-win season or worse in New York.
Mike Reiss, New England Patriots reporter: The obvious choice is Bowles and Maccagnan, although I’m not sure it’s entirely fair. I believe a coach/GM partnership should get more than three years (this is No. 3 for Bowles/Maccagnan) to build their program, and especially given the way the Jets have stripped down the roster in 2017, what is a reasonable win-total expectation for them anyway? If I was owner Woody Johnson, the question I would be asking is more about the culture created by Bowles/Maccagnan than the 2017 win total. From afar, there seemed to be too much in-fighting and not enough leadership in the locker room to get everyone pulling in the right direction. If that doesn’t improve in 2017, I understand the seat heating up on both Bowles and Maccagnan.
Rich Cimini, New York Jets reporter: Bowles’ seat is so hot he may need to wear fire-retardant pants. He missed the playoffs in his first two seasons, finishing 10-6 and 5-11 -- extending the franchise’s postseason drought to six consecutive years. Now Bowles is presiding over one of the biggest rebuilding projects the league has seen. There’s no playoff mandate, according to owner Woody Johnson, who claimed he will evaluate the season based on progress, not wins and losses. That’s easy to say in the offseason. The bottom line is, the win-loss record usually is the best way to gauge progress -- or lack thereof. If the Jets win fewer than five games -- very possible -- it’s hard to imagine Bowles returning in 2018. He’s signed through 2018, but that doesn’t mean much. Typically, Johnson avoids lame-duck situations, as most owners do. That means he probably will extend Bowles’ contract or cut bait after the coming season.