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Jets coach Todd Bowles undaunted by potentially explosive QB situation

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Jets coach Todd Bowles undaunted by potentially explosive QB situation

 

Todd Bowles never played quarterback and never coached quarterbacks. As a former NFL safety, he devoted nearly a decade of his adult life to trying to embarrass quarterbacks. So, no, he's hardly an authority on the position, and yet he's presiding over a potentially volatile, multilayered quarterback controversy that will be one of the hottest training camp stories in the league.

It will take a strong, steady hand to navigate the Ryan Fitzpatrick contract dispute and its fallout, which will have far-reaching implications for the New York Jets. Bowles handled various forms of adversity quite well in his first season, but there's nothing in the coaching handbook that explains how to deal with a situation like this.

He has an absent and angry quarterback demanding more money from a split organization. The locker room wants Fitzpatrick to return, but the front office isn't willing to pay him a starter's salary. Bowles also has Geno Smith, who believes he's ready to lead the team and wants to reclaim his old job.

It's a tough spot for Bowles, who will rely on his gut, if not his experience.

"I'm pretty confident -- quiet, but confident," he told ESPN.com. "I don't waver too much, one way or the other. When I make a decision, I go with it."

Bowles pushed the right buttons last season, but it wasn't too complicated. When Smith went down because of a broken jaw, sucker-punched by a teammate in the locker room, the decision was easy -- Fitzpatrick. Bowles stuck with him through a midseason slump, but that, too, wasn't a hard decision.

The degree of difficulty is about to increase: Does Bowles have enough faith in Smith to move on without Fitzpatrick? If Fitzpatrick returns late, who gets the starting job? Do they keep Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty? Do they sign an experienced veteran to replace Fitzpatrick?

Those are the questions he'll face in the preseason; the regular season will bring a new set of challenges.

Bowles said he wouldn't have any problem making a change if he deems it necessary.

"I know football, I know football players," he said matter-of-factly. "If you're getting your ass kicked consistently, that's a no-brainer. You can see those types of things as a football coach over the course of time. Being that it's my 17th year in coaching, I've seen quite a few things."

The stakes are raised for Bowles, whose charge is to end a five-year playoff drought. A successful rookie season (10-6) ended on a bitterly disappointing note, as the Jets gagged away a wild-card berth with a loss to the Buffalo Bills. His first year was akin to a fantastic honeymoon tainted by a missed flight and lost luggage on the return trip.

Bowles will continue to evolve as a coach, but one thing he won't do is get heavily involved in the offense. He plans to stay with the defense, leaving the offense to coordinator Chan Gailey.

As a rookie coach, Bowles didn't attend offensive meetings and didn't have sitdowns with Fitzpatrick until later in the season, a hands-off approach that might strike some as unusual. For the most part, Gailey served as the conduit between coach and quarterback. Rex Ryan took a similar approach during his six seasons, fueling the perception he was a glorified defensive coordinator. That might explain why there always seemed to be chaos surrounding the position.

Bowles said he was not planning to put on a new hat simply because of the wacky quarterback situation.

"No," he said. "I know what's going on and I trust Chan completely. I know the plays we run and I know what everybody is supposed to do, right or wrong. I understand busted assignments and things like that. I'm up to speed because I've been in the offense a year as well. I'm still a defensive guy, but I have an overall game mentality. When you get experience like I did the first year, you get a better feel for situations before they come up."

Even though he never has worked closely with quarterbacks, Bowles has coached on teams that dealt with instability at the position, which should serve him well in his current gig. From 2005 to 2014, he worked for four teams that started a total of 12 quarterbacks over that period -- the Dallas CowboysMiami DolphinsPhiladelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals.

When Bowles discusses the position, he often characterizes it as just one of 22 on the field. He compares Fitzpatrick's absence to that of an injury, invoking the next-man-up mantra. That, of course, is an oversimplification. Everybody knows quarterback is the most important position; it can affect the team's psyche.

Bowles sees the game a different way; he sees it from the perspective of a defense-minded coach. He doesn't believe a quarterback mess should cripple the entire operation, pointing to the Denver Broncos as a prime example of how a team can overcome upheaval and win a championship. The Peyton Manning-Brock Osweiler situation could've undermined them, but their defense carried the day.

"You have to find other ways to win the game," Bowles said. "That's what they did. If you remember, they weren't lighting up the scoreboard. They came together as a team. If you come together as a team, you give yourself a chance."

 

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Don't believe jets want Gina Smith as their starting qb

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He's undaunted because a Fitz signing is right around the corner and Bowles will be the first person at the door to greet him and hand him the starting job.

 

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If he has to experience a year or so of truly awful qbing he will care more about it and realize a Qb is more than just one of the 22.

I do agree like Bowles coaching style though.  Does not show panic at all trusts his OC. And he did show lat year that he is prepared to make in season moves as far as playing time if a vet is not getting it done.

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19 hours ago, BroadwayJets said:

It's pretty f*cking ridiculous we've let this Fitz bs go on this long. Cut the ties already.

Not having a QB at this juncture is the most SOJ thing ever. 

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18 hours ago, whodeawhodat said:

Sounds like Rex with a better OC...

Lol.. similar situation..completely different mind state and answers. Rex just got up there to the podium and babbled things he thought sounded like headlines. Bowles is clearly not the level of attention whore it takes to make us look like the clueless clown we once looked like.

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15 minutes ago, Lizard King said:

Not having a QB at this juncture is the most SOJ thing ever. 

So a 34 yr old gypsy journeyman who has never made the playoffs is the answer. SOJ for sure. 

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20 minutes ago, Lizard King said:

Not having a QB at this juncture is the most SOJ thing ever. 

We still won't have a QB if we sign Fitz

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Well I'm sure this will all be over soon. A point to consider though just from a gut check perspective. Smith worked hard in the off season, throwing and practicing with OB Jr. and a host of other top name WR's in Florida. He's been working with the 1st team O. He's showed alot of dedication. He needs to prove to himself to, the team, his coaches and the fan base that he is the man. That he could have done just as good or better than Fitz last year. Where has Fitz been in the off season??? Changing diapers and throwing to his kids in the back yard. Going golfing. Is he ready to step right in and play? Has he been working hard in the off season preparing for this year's early season onslaught of a hard ass schedule. I'm not too sure about Fitz. I know all you Geno haters won't agree and I'm not real comfortable with Smith, I'm sure no Jet fan is, but based on the Fitz holdout: after all the Jets have quadrupled his salary. How would you feel about your employer giving you 4 times what you made last year and almost twice what you made for the following 2 years to maybe stand on the side lines with a headset on. Not too bad for a journeyman QB who no one picked up in the off season. The fact that NO TEAM even entertained an offer, none, no one, nada, tells me something right there. I'm not all warm and fuzzy about Fitz coming back. He had success last year but whose to say Smith would not have had at least the same success with the O's weapons and new offensive scheme.

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19 minutes ago, MaxAF said:

Well I'm sure this will all be over soon. A point to consider though just from a gut check perspective. Smith worked hard in the off season, throwing and practicing with OB Jr. and a host of other top name WR's in Florida. He's been working with the 1st team O. He's showed alot of dedication. He needs to prove to himself to, the team, his coaches and the fan base that he is the man. That he could have done just as good or better than Fitz last year. Where has Fitz been in the off season??? Changing diapers and throwing to his kids in the back yard. Going golfing. Is he ready to step right in and play? Has he been working hard in the off season preparing for this year's early season onslaught of a hard ass schedule. I'm not too sure about Fitz. I know all you Geno haters won't agree and I'm not real comfortable with Smith, I'm sure no Jet fan is, but based on the Fitz holdout: after all the Jets have quadrupled his salary. How would you feel about your employer giving you 4 times what you made last year and almost twice what you made for the following 2 years to maybe stand on the side lines with a headset on. Not too bad for a journeyman QB who no one picked up in the off season. The fact that NO TEAM even entertained an offer, none, no one, nada, tells me something right there. I'm not all warm and fuzzy about Fitz coming back. He had success last year but whose to say Smith would not have had at least the same success with the O's weapons and new offensive scheme.

Please show everyone the proof you have of this being true.  Please show us your credentials that allow you to be in 31 teams meetings so we can see how you know no team even entertained an offer.

Just stop making things up.

 

Thank god Fitz will be signed this week and that can be the end of all this making stuff up crap. 

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I like Bowles it's refreshing to have a smart cool guy who knows the NFL as a player and coach. He understands the situations with contracts and I think the players respect him a lot. If Fitz doesn't sign and things go south fast he will have a tough time convincing players in the locker room that the org wants to win. We had the exact opposite last year and now thanks to the FO there is a Qb controversy and a distraction. These types of things are anathema to NFL franchises. Most teams do not jerk around with the starting Qb and play games with contracts. They want the guy in camp and at OTAs etc and since the Qb is the leader on the field no unrest. Personally I think Bowles can't believe this and thinks the FO is stupid. He of course isn't going to say this. But no NFL HC doesn't want his starting Qb to re-sign. I think Bowles believed like many Jets fans that we could follow up on last season and make the playoffs this year. We could learn from our mistakes and improve. He is definitely not scared of the schedule. 

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Undaunted is really an unnecessary  big word to use in a sports topic article  about choosing 2 average QBs.

  A little too dramatic

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Joe Jets fan said:

Please show everyone the proof you have of this being true.  Please show us your credentials that allow you to be in 31 teams meetings so we can see how you know no team even entertained an offer.

Just stop making things up.

 

Thank god Fitz will be signed this week and that can be the end of all this making stuff up crap. 

Stop lying to yourself. Embrace the reality you know in your heart is true.

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I have not seen one team, not one media report that has even remotely offered Fitz a deal. And if they did it apparently wasn't as good as what the Jets are offering him or I would think in his Harvard brain he would have taken it. I could be wrong but with all the sport writers and rumor-mills out there Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to have no takers. And I can understand that.

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So what was he going to say? This QB situation is killing me?! I think I'm going to cry! My vagina hurts!!! Dumbest, most obvious article ever written... Why anyone would ever post this????????????

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So what was he going to say? This QB situation is killing me?! I think I'm going to cry! My vagina hurts!!! Dumbest, most obvious article ever written... Why anyone would ever post this????????????

Talk to your doctor, to see if Latuda may be right for you.

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