Jets unlikely to fire Todd Bowles during season

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Monday, November 12, 2018

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Ignoring an angry fan base, the New York Jets intend to keep embattled coach Todd Bowles for the remainder of the season, league sources told ESPN on Monday. Ownership will then make a decision on Bowles' future.

The club made no announcement, but reports were widespread by the time Bowles spoke to reporters on an afternoon conference call. He offered little reaction, repeating his stock answer: He doesn't discuss his job status.

"What gives me the faith that I'm the right guy?" Bowles asked, repeating a question. "I coach football. We picked a bad day to have a bad day. I'm the coach. You go back to the drawing board and that's what I'm going to do."

Speculation swirled after Sunday's 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills because the Jets (3-7) are on their bye week, usually when teams make coaching changes. Bowles, under contract through 2020, didn't show up for work Monday morning thinking he was in immediate danger, sources said.

Bowles was scheduled to meet with CEO Christopher Johnson, as he does every Monday, but that hadn't occurred as of 2 p.m. ET. Bowles told reporters he will spend time evaluating players and coaches. He didn't rule out the possibility of staff changes.

"Not at this time, but we're re-evaluating everything," he said. "As the days go by, we'll see."

Asked about potential lineup changes, Bowles said, "We're considering everything at this point."

Bowles and the Jets, losers of four straight, were booed throughout Sunday's loss at home, arguably the low point of the Bowles era. Johnson and members of his hierarchy were deeply frustrated by the embarrassing performance, but they opted to stay the course.

The sense is they wanted to maintain continuity over the final six games, in part to help evaluate the many young players on the roster. Bowles has prevented the team from fracturing, and a drastic change might have jeopardized that. There's also no logical interim replacement on the current coaching staff.

The Jets have three remaining home games, starting Nov. 25 against the New England Patriots. It could get ugly at MetLife Stadium, as Bowles has become the lightning rod for the team's struggles.

"It's not my first rodeo," he said. "When you win games, people cheer. When you lose games, people boo. I get it. It's part of sports."

Quarterback Josh McCown, who started for the injured Sam Darnold, said he never expected a coaching change.

"We weren't anticipating that," he said. "We love playing for him and we expect to play hard for him every chance we get to go out there. I don't think that was on our mind or an option. I'm excited about playing for him and it's on us to go out and execute the plans that are given to us."

The team's effort came under scrutiny after the total breakdown on Sunday. Afterward, cornerback Morris Claiborne said, "We didn't come to play today, in no way. It's one of the first times I can honestly say that someone came in and just whooped us. We kind of laid down to it. It's very stressful. I'm at a loss myself."

Bowles insisted the team didn't lay down, chalking up Claiborne's comment to a "natural reaction" after a bad game. Bowles said his team "plays as hard as hell."

The Jets could get Darnold (strained foot) back for the final six games, although he may miss another. He's out of his walking boot. Bowles said it's too early to tell if he will return against the Patriots. The rookie was struggling before his injury, so it seems unlikely that he will spark a turnaround.

"The last six games of the season, it's not put-up or shut-up," linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. "It' put-up or get embarrassed."

The NFL Network first reported the Jets weren't firing Bowles during the bye week.

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