NEW ORLEANS -- At some point over the next two weeks, New York Jets ownership will make a decision on the future of coach Todd Bowles.
Will he stay, or will he go?
His players apparently want him to stay.
“I think he’s the best head coach there is. That’s what I think,” rookie safety Jamal Adams said after Sunday's 31-19 loss to the New Orleans Saints. “He’s the Jets’ head coach. He’s my head coach. He’s the team’s head coach. There shouldn’t be a discussion of who’s going to be the head coach. It should be Todd Bowles. There should be no indecision about our coach is coaching us. He’s doing a phenomenal job. We just have to finish ball games.”
Many believe the Jets (5-9) have overachieved in what was supposed to be a disastrous rebuilding season. Critics of Bowles will point to his overall record (20-26) and the fact that he has lost seven of his past nine and 21 of his past 30. The Jets have yet to make the playoffs under Bowles. They were officially eliminated Sunday.
"Everybody that watches our team knows that our team is growing," cornerback Buster Skrine said. "They said we were going to win zero games this year. We've been playing against the best teams. For me? I think [Bowles] is going to be back here."
The Jets have improved in some areas, but they've also committed too many penalties and continue to struggle in the fourth quarter. They showed Sunday that they're still playing hard for Bowles, but does that matter?
Ownership has said it will judge him not on wins and losses but on whether the team demonstrates progress. In September, acting owner Christopher Johnson said the answer would be obvious to everyone by the end of the season. With the recent struggles, it might not be a clear-cut decision.
“That’s what the head coach does is set the tone for the team and relay the message,” running back Matt Forte said. “He’s been huge. He can’t go out there and play the game for us. The mistakes that have been made mentally or physically, that’s on us.”
Bowles has only one year left on his contract. Looking to avoid a lame-duck situation, ownership will likely offer him an extension or let him go.
After the game, Bowles stepped out of character, saying, "Obviously, this is going to turn. I believe that we have a good core group." He usually doesn't discuss the big picture.
It almost sounded like he was sending a message to his bosses. Some of his players certainly did.