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How Todd Bowles attacks Jets' slump: Jordan, Wooden and video at 4:30 a.m.


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How Todd Bowles attacks Jets' slump: Jordan, Wooden and video at 4:30 a.m.

 

  • cimini_rich_m.jpg&w=160&h=160&scale=crop
    Rich CiminiESPN Staff Writer

 

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Todd Bowles gets up every morning about the same time Manhattan bartenders are announcing last call.

He's up at 4 a.m. and arrives at the New York Jets' facility by 4:30. Until recently, he began his long days with a workout in the weight room, but he put aside his own fitness to tend to the declining health of his football team.

These days, the coach goes directly to his office and punches up game video on his screen. He figures the more video he watches, the better chance he has of unlocking a solution that will help the Jets -- losers of four straight -- emerge from their funk.

"I haven't worked out lately," Bowles said in an interview with ESPN.com. "I've been working more, trying to find ways to get us in better position. Not that I didn't always do that, but I sacrificed my workout for triple-more film time instead of double-more film time."

Bowles has experienced losing before -- after all, he once was a Cleveland Browns assistant -- but this is different because he's in charge. This was supposed to be a playoff contender, but the Jets have the worst point differential in the NFL (minus-69). Yes, even worse than even the winless Browns.

No matter what you think of his game-day coaching, know this about Bowles: He's not rattled by the adversity and he's supremely confident in his ability to find his way out of the abyss. The dull chatter about his job security, which will get louder if they lose Sunday to the struggling and banged-up Baltimore Ravens (3-3), doesn't faze him.

"No, not at all," he said. "The same things that got me here are going to get me out of this 1-5 slump. I didn't become a good coach when I was 10-6. I didn't become a bad coach now that I'm 1-5."

In those pre-dawn hours, Bowles will grab his smart phone and tap into a file of inspirational quotes from famous people. He'll make it his personal quote of the day. He's particularly fond of John Wooden's wisdom, but on Thursday morning, a Michael Jordan quote caught his eye:

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

That became his quote of the day. It could be the quote of the month.

"You're going to run through some rough patches, but you have to stay with it," he said. "Every successful coach has failed. That's what you have to understand."

Bowles has missed a bunch of shots over the last month, as the Jets have lost each of the last four games by double digits. The most recent faux paswas the clumsy quarterback change.

Less than 24 hours after telling the world he was sticking with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bowles benched Fitzpatrick and gave the job to Geno Smith. It was announced the following day. The flip flop fueled speculation that owner Woody Johnson demanded the switch. Even if it was Bowles' decision -- and I believe it was -- it made for a bad optic.

"He shouldn't have said anything after the game," said a former general manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He should've said he needs to take a hard look at it and maybe change the course. He's a young coach; he's going to make mistakes."

Bowles owned up to one tactical mistake this season, in Week 2, when he forgot to call for a two-point try late in a 37-31 win over the Buffalo Bills. He's lucky because it could've cost the Jets the game if the Bills had recovered the onsides kick and scored.

Always even-keeled on sideline, Bowles became "unkeeled," as he put it, because he took his focus off the game and started yelling at the defense on the bench.

"I got upset, I blew a call and that I remember," he said. "That teaches me a lesson: Don't try to be who I'm not.

"I have a controllable side. I call half the plays on defense with coach [Kacy] Rodgers, so it bodes well for me. It doesn't mean I can't have the same fire, the same anger and be pissed off. Believe me, I'll kick somebody in the throat in a heartbeat, but you have to control the game."

Bowles is catching some flak for some in-game decisions, but the biggest indictment of him is the decline of the defense. Ranked fourth (yards) and ninth (points) a year ago, the defense has plummeted to 23rd and 25th, respectively. At times, they looked utterly out of sync.

Concerned by his porous secondary, Bowles deviated from his philosophy -- pressure, pressure and more pressure -- and played a pillowy soft scheme in the first five games. He reverted to his style in the last game, but it still failed to produce a takeaway. Shockingly, the Jets have only four takeaways. A year ago, they had 15 after the first six games.

"You hope you can win while you're getting your team good," Bowles said. "Last year, we were able to do that. We had some holes, but they got covered up by turnovers on both sides of the ball. We don't have the turnovers this year."

Bowles can't be blamed for Darrelle Revis' decline, a key factor in the defensive struggles, but the unit isn't devoid of talent. Most any team would love to have the Jets' defensive line, but how do you explain a combined two sacks for Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson?

Offensively, Bowles was betrayed by Fitzpatrick, who became an interception machine. The former GM lauded Bowles for making the switch to Smith.

"They had to infuse new blood," he said. "I'm not saying Geno is the answer, but at least it shows they're trying. It looks like you're accepting defeat if you do nothing. Fitzpatrick is 99 years old and he's been on six teams. He's not getting better."

Maybe Smith will provide a spark. Right now, the product on the field is "unacceptable," according to Bowles.

Until it gets fixed, he will continue to skip his 4:30 a.m. workouts to watch film. He will continue to eat unhealthy food. ("My diet sucks," he said.) He will continue to search for a solution.

"You're constantly searching for that one thing to make it click," he said. "You have to keep working at it. I'm pretty confident I'll find it. When I stop being hard-headed with myself, I'll find it."

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Just now, KRL said:

People need to stop the hypocrisy:

- If Bowles said nothing people would say he's not working hard enough

- Bowles said something and people say he's putting on a front

Which way do you want it?  Both I'm sure

 

The people who say he's putting on a front are dumb. You think he created a routine out of thin air to tell Cimini?

Ridiculous

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3 minutes ago, BigRy56 said:

I really think we're in good hands and that Bowles is here for the long haul. Down start to the season and we have no quarterback but we're gonna be alright.

Really? So you are ok with Bowles not preparing the team on a weekly basis and for failing to make adjustments during the game his stupid decisions that he does make and those pressers ughhhhhh

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He admitted his mistake in the Bufflao game that is good.  Putting work outs aside is a bad thing, the mount you think you gain by watching an hour extra of film you lose out on energy and clear thinking.

I find the revelation that he calls half the game truly bizarre and that could be a problem.  He should never be playing a soft zone, a troubled secondaries best weapon is pressure.

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2 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

He admitted his mistake in the Bufflao game that is good.  Putting work outs aside is a bad thing, the mount you think you gain by watching an hour extra of film you lose out on energy and clear thinking.

I find the revelation that he calls half the game truly bizarre and that could be a problem.  He should never be playing a soft zone, a troubled secondaries best weapon is pressure.

Which is why he blitzed a ton in the Arizona game.

None of his mistakes have 100% cost us a game.  Do you really think they beat Pittsburgh if they go for it on 4th and 2? No but it is a good look of trying to do it.

 

Edited by UnitedWhofans
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13 minutes ago, KRL said:

People need to stop the hypocrisy:

- If Bowles said nothing people would say he's not working hard enough

- Bowles said something and people say he's putting on a front

Which way do you want it?  Both I'm sure

 

only a coach who is concerned about how he is perceived by the media would go around telling everyone how hard he works.  he wasn't doing this last season.  

 

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3 minutes ago, UnitedWhofans said:

So Bowles called Cimini and gave him this story? C'mon.

the point is, why talk about how hard he's working.  he's defending his work ethic.  he should be reevaluating his coaching.  and no matter how you spin it they're losing b/c of the qb even though the defense sucks.  he should be getting in guys faces like revis and wilk and tell them to shape up, their reputations are on the line as well.

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2 minutes ago, Augustiniak said:

the point is, why talk about how hard he's working.  he's defending his work ethic.  he should be reevaluating his coaching.  and no matter how you spin it they're losing b/c of the qb even though the defense sucks.  he should be getting in guys faces like revis and wilk and tell them to shape up, their reputations are on the line as well.

Or it could just be that they are playing at the same level as last year except they are playing better teams.

I don't fully believe that, but I believe that is a major part of it.

Injuries have played a part. So has the regression of Calvin Pryor in coverage and Marcus Williams being a Wayne Hunter-like player. So does the fact that the 3 best Jets defensive players all play the same position. ( which will be remedied when Richardson lives)

I do like the depth in some areas, especially WR. The OL has not been a horror show, the special teams has been much improved since last year 

And the rookies have played well for the most part

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Just now, The Crusher said:

Anyone else concerned that he is watching that much film and is still this bad? No? Oh. Me either. 

Wonder if that is where he makes his adjustments. Because he does adjust game to game. He just hasn't shown consistently the ability to adjust in game. He has made some little adjustments in game but not with consistency

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Just now, PatsFanTX said:

 


The next in-game adjustment Bowles makes will be his first in 2 years.
 

 

No I disagree with that. I have seen Bowles make some little ones. But not broad sweeping ones and not with any consistency.

Under Rex the Jets were a second half team, a slow starter. Now they are the other way around.

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7 minutes ago, UnitedWhofans said:

Or it could just be that they are playing at the same level as last year except they are playing better teams.

I don't fully believe that, but I believe that is a major part of it.

Injuries have played a part. So has the regression of Calvin Pryor in coverage and Marcus Williams being a Wayne Hunter-like player. So does the fact that the 3 best Jets defensive players all play the same position. ( which will be remedied when Richardson lives)

I do like the depth in some areas, especially WR. The OL has not been a horror show, the special teams has been much improved since last year 

And the rookies have played well for the most part

1) fitz reverted back to the crap he is.  and he lost decker, his main redzone target, and that's why he's sucked in the redzone this year, beginning in the KC game when decker got hurt.

2) teams have adjusted to throw the ball quicker to avoid the DL pass rush, and the secondary hasn't held up.  

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Just now, Augustiniak said:

1) fitz reverted back to the crap he is.  and he lost decker, his main redzone target, and that's why he's sucked in the redzone this year, beginning in the KC game when decker got hurt.

2) teams have adjusted to throw the ball quicker to avoid the DL pass rush, and the secondary hasn't held up.  

And I dont know what adjustment you can make for that.

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49 minutes ago, UnitedWhofans said:

Bowles should have said nothing. Let the media interpret it as they want, but they dont have any hard evidence

He said that he wasn't going to make a knee jerk reaction move and would discuss with his coaches later.

Of course somehow Cimini missed that and is hanging on Bowles first reaction.  

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4 minutes ago, Jet Nut said:

He said that he wasn't going to make a knee jerk reaction move and would discuss with his coaches later.

Of course somehow Cimini missed that and is hanging on Bowles first reaction.  

He should have mentioned that first. All the media will hear is Yes or NO

Edited by UnitedWhofans
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49 minutes ago, Augustiniak said:

now he's trying to show everyone how hard he works.  just great.

So you actually believe this early morning, first in last out routine just started to show people he works hard? 

Really, you think

1. it makes a bit of difference what you think, whether he gets to work at 4:30 or 6:00?

2.  If he sucks he won't get fired because he's an early to work guy? 

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2 minutes ago, Jet Nut said:

So you actually believe this early morning, first in last out routine just started to show people he works hard? 

Really, you think

1. it makes a bit of difference what you think, whether he gets to work at 4:30 or 6:00?

2.  If he sucks he won't get fired because he's an early to work guy? 

no.  i think he's telling the media how hard he works so they'll get off his back.  there is absolutely no other reason to tell someone how hard you're working unless you're failing and getting bashed for it.  

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Just now, UnitedWhofans said:

He should have mentioned that first. All the media will hear is Yes or NO

What he said and how he said it was fine.  The Jets post game guys all got it.  All knew and said there was an out to make a switch and therefore to a man predicted this move.

All except for the biggest shlt stirrers in the media who need a controversy angle to spice up the week.  

Bowles was right both times, he has said if you ask him about a starter from that weeks game in the postgame, any player he would say the same thing.  Really think he's going to let a player hear he's benched from a reporter after his pressser?  

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27 minutes ago, Augustiniak said:

the point is, why talk about how hard he's working.  he's defending his work ethic.  he should be reevaluating his coaching.  and no matter how you spin it they're losing b/c of the qb even though the defense sucks.  he should be getting in guys faces like revis and wilk and tell them to shape up, their reputations are on the line as well.

Revis is done. Even he knows it. Other teams are throwing quick screens to avoid sacks, because they know that the Jets LBs have no peripheral speed and their secondary sucks. 

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Just now, Freemanm said:

Revis is done. Even he knows it. Other teams are throwing quick screens to avoid sacks, because they know that the Jets LBs have no peripheral speed and their secondary sucks. 

lee is the only chase lb they have.  harris is a stiff.  they have no cb speed.  they really need to take a fast cover cb, probably in the first round unfortunately.  the rebuild will take a few years, unfortunately.  at least most of the high priced veterans are sucking so losing them doesn't hurt that much.

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6 minutes ago, Augustiniak said:

no.  i think he's telling the media how hard he works so they'll get off his back.  there is absolutely no other reason to tell someone how hard you're working unless you're failing and getting bashed for it.  

You really think he had to tell them he gets to work at 4:30?  They already knew.  The only thing he let out was he stopped his workouts to get more video in, not keeping anyone off his back. 

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Just now, Jet Nut said:

You really think he had to tell them he gets to work at 4:30?  They already knew.  The only thing he let out was he stopped his workouts to get more video in, not keeping anyone off his back. 

the whole thing is intended to portray bowles as a hard worker, it's all he has left.  his defense sucks, his coaching sucks.  since he can't fix this obviously, all he can do is portray himself as a hard worker.  there is no other reason for him to talk about how hard he works.  there was no discussion of this last year when they were winning (and as you said, they all already knew).

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