Bowles: The losing is hard, but Jets need to ditch early mistakes

We’ve reach the largely useless portion of a Jets season filled with disappointment, disgust and confusion.

Playing out the stretch can be a painful exercise sure to test even the most loyal fans, some of whom actually shelled out their hard-earned money to watch the home team play the Dolphins on Saturday night.

While most folks spent the weekend doing productive things like crossing items off their holiday shopping list, Todd Bowles was making evaluations for the future of a team that looks like it’s going to be starting all over again in 2017. The maligned head coach believes there is a silver lining during these dark days for the franchise.

“You can get the younger guys some experience and get used to the pace of the game, and the intensity of the game, and playing it better,” Bowles said. “As far as the older guys, they still get to prove they can play the game going into next year. And you get down and you coach because these guys haven’t really played a lot. Most of the younger guys, you get down to the nitty gritty, and you start coaching a little more and you start trying to win that way.”

Todd Bowles is trying to find the silver lining as the 4-9 Jets limp to the finish line of 2016 season.

Todd Bowles is trying to find the silver lining as the 4-9 Jets limp to the finish line of 2016 season.

(Ben Margot/AP)

Bowles, already fired by the quick-trigger crowd, understands the challenges of coaching a 4-9 team in December. He’s already begun the process of integrating younger players, a sink-or-swim approach to learn more about his squad.

“You’re going to see some mistakes in those guys while still trying to win,” Bowles said. “You still want to do the right things to win the ball game.”

The shuffling of personnel might be one reason why the Jets have gotten off to slow starts in recent weeks. (Or it could simply be a dearth of talent).

The silver lining? Getting young guys like QB Bryce Petty experience in regular season action.

The silver lining? Getting young guys like QB Bryce Petty experience in regular season action.

(Seth Wenig/AP)

The Jets had been outscored 28-0 in the first quarter in the two games prior to their Saturday night contest against Miami. Bowles’ team was out-scored 41-6 in the first half against the Colts and 49ers. Indy buried them before intermission. The Jets overcame their first-half hole in San Francisco.

Bowles admitted that there aren’t enough fingers on his hand to point out all the reasons for the early breakdown.

“(It’s) something different all the time,” Bowles said. “The effort is there, but the intelligence isn’t always there. We talk about it. We work at it. We do things to it and when one play goes bad, and two plays go bad, its two different things. Then all of a sudden we find ourselves down seven, 10, 14-0 and that’s the one thing that we need to not do, is start like that.”

Darrelle Revis and the Jets have few answers for a season that went completely off the rails.

Darrelle Revis and the Jets have few answers for a season that went completely off the rails.

(Seth Wenig/AP)

The defensive lapses have been particularly troubling in those games. Bowles’ unit allowed Andrew Luck to throw for 193 yards and three touchdowns in the first half a couple weeks ago. Then, San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde gashed a typically stingy front seven for 141 yards on the ground by halftime.

“We’re stressing it week in and week out,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said of the importance of avoiding early-game mistakes. “We’ve got to start fast. For whatever reason, we’re just not getting the point across. It’s just not working, but it’s something we’re definitely working on.”

It’s inexcusable on every imaginable level. Bowles’ strength obviously is defense. The errors on that side of the ball have been an anchor for the better part of four months. They all deserve a share of the blame.

“It’s on everybody,” Bowles said. “It’s on coaching, it’s on the players that’s out there. You can coach everything and put it in the right place. But then they have to play and execute the right way as well. So you think you have something down then you go into the game with something that you know you want to run, offensively or defensively, even special teams, and then you see it break down. Or sometimes not even a breakdown, it’s a missed tackle, it’s a dropped ball, it’s a penalty, it’s something within a realm of the game that you don’t want to see early on.”

Bowles knows that playing more inexperienced players in the final few games will lend itself to more errors, but what can he do? His expectations haven’t changed.

Bowles hasn’t run from the tough queries during this rough season. It comes with the job.

“The questions are easy,” Bowles said matter-of-factly. “The losing is hard.”

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Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News

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