Our New York Jets question of the week focuses on Todd Bowles' job security and John Morton's admission that he surrendered last Sunday with most of the fourth quarter remaining:
Does the debacle in Denver effect Todd Bowles remaining as coach for next year? I literally feel all the great things they did this year went out the window with the revelations this week that they quit trying. #jetsmail
— Mike Simulescu (@MJSimu) December 15, 2017
@RichCimini: In my opinion, Mike, you've linked two separate issues. Let me take one at a time.
No, I don't think Bowles will be evaluated based on one horrendous performance. Yes, that loss in Denver was one of the worst losses I've seen in a long, long time, but it would be wrong for ownership to pick out one game. They will assess his performance based on the entire season and whether the team is moving in the right direction. I still think the arrow is pointed up, although it's a little less up than before the Denver game.
These next three games will be tough to grade because the Jets (5-8) are playing their backup quarterback and they'll be facing three first-place teams and three future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks in Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Tom Brady. The Jets could actually play well and still lose by a couple of touchdowns in each game. To me, the key game is Dec. 24 against the Los Angeles Chargers. It's the most winnable of the three and it's at home, so there's no excuse for a clunker. Bowles needs that one.
As for Morton, let me ask this question: Did you need the offensive coordinator's explanation to know the Jets' end-game strategy? Of course not. You knew what they were doing. The players knew it, too. I have no problem with Morton's approach to the final 11 minutes; he was trying to protect Bryce Petty, physically and psychologically.
If you recall, Morton gave Petty a chance to rally the team as soon as Josh McCown left the game with an injured hand. Petty came out throwing, but the results were terrible -- 1-for-5, including a couple of scratch-your-head misses. Seeing that, and knowing the game was out of reach after a Denver field goal made it 23-0, Morton decided to shut it down. No doubt, Bowles gave his blessing. It was a sound football decision. I talked to a couple of ex-players about it, and they agreed.
Morton's mistake was being so transparent with the media. I feel weird saying that because we want players and coaches to be honest, but his candor sent a bad message to the locker room and the fans. His admission sparked a national debate, casting the Jets in an unflattering light. There was a way to tip-toe through his explanation in a politically correct fashion, but Morton delivered the unvarnished truth. I bet Bowles cringed when he heard about it.
In the end, it shouldn't have an impact on Bowles' job security unless there's a residual effect among the players. We'll know the answer to that soon enough.