Jets coach Todd Bowles, GM Mike Maccagnan will stay

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Sunday, January 1, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Despite a 5-11 record, Todd Bowles will return as coach of the New York Jets, the team announced after Sunday's win over the Buffalo Bills.

The decision came as no surprise, as owner Woody Johnson had been telling confidants for several weeks he was planning to retain Bowles, who is 15-17 in two seasons.

"I knew I would be here, so it really wasn't a big deal," Bowles said after the 30-10 win.

General manager Mike Maccagnan, hired the same day as Bowles in January 2015, also will return. Johnson declined to address reporters after the game, walking quickly from a suite and into the locker room. A team spokesman said Maccagnan will speak to the media in the coming weeks.

The Jets still are expected to make some changes to their coaching staff, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. There has been speculation about offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, who made cryptic comments last week about his future.

Gailey, who turns 65 next week, wouldn't say if he wants to return next season.

"I'll discuss all that as I get to our process next week," said Bowles, who was asked directly if Gailey will be back.

The decision to keep Bowles won't be a popular one, as many fans and some media have called for his ouster, but Johnson is willing to give him a chance to clean up a massive mess.

"A lot of things have to change," Bowles said.

Statistically, the Jets were poor in all three phases. They were undermined by sloppy quarterback play (three different starters), an underachieving defense (only 14 takeaways) and an inordinate number of injuries (18 players on injured reserve).

Bowles was lauded last season after inheriting a 4-12 team and leading it to a 10-6 record, one win shy of the playoffs. The Jets weren't able to build on that momentum. With a roster composed of mainly older, high-salaried veterans, the Jets started 1-5 and collapsed in dramatic fashion, losing five games by at least 21 points -- their highest number of blowout losses since 1996.

The Jets have gone six straight years without making the playoffs.

"That's great," cornerback Darrelle Revis said of Bowles' return. "It was a disappointing season this year, and next year coach can get another stab at it and change some things around."

Off the field, Bowles was plagued by locker room turmoil. It resurfaced last week in New England, where the Jets were embarrassed by the Patriots 41-3. Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams questioned the team's effort, Brandon Marshall irked teammates with a halftime tirade and Sheldon Richardson ripped Marshall to reporters. A few days later, Wilkerson criticized the training staff for mishandling an early-season ankle injury.

Johnson was able to look past the perceived dysfunction, hoping Bowles can clean up the locker room and rebound following another offseason of roster moves.

After beating the Bills, several players said team chemistry is an issue that must be addressed in the offseason.

This was Johnson's decision alone. Because Bowles reported directly to Johnson, his fate wasn't determined by Maccagnan. Johnson set up a power structure in which the coach and GM are equals.