It doesn’t matter how hard the Jets play for Bowles— they stink

    By DANIEL POPPER

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Football is an emotional game. But Jets rookie linebacker Darron Lee went overboard last weekend in California.

Todd Bowles pulled Lee in the early stages of last weekend’s victory over the 49ers because the linebacker was “a little bit too hyper.”

Bowles said this week that Lee blew an assignment in the first quarter — presumably on running back Carlos Hyde’s 47-yard run on the Niners’ second possession of the game — because he was overly amped up.

“When he gets hyper he blows an assignment here and there,” Bowles said of Lee, whom the Jets drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft. “We just had to get him out to calm him down and put him back in. He was fine after that. Early in the game, he was a little bit too hyped up. He missed a tackle or two and he got out of a gap one time.”

Bowles noted that in situations like these, coaches walk a fine line. Playing with fire is important. But with young players, it’s crucial to use that energy in a positive way.

Not channeling the emotion can lead to mistakes.

“You want him to bring all the energy. He’s a young player, obviously,” Bowles said. “As long as he understands what he’s doing, he can be very hyper. But if the hyper affects his ball game, then you have to tame him and calm him down a little bit. But you want him to be as hyper as possible as long as he understands what’s happening.”

Lee has endured an up-and-down rookie campaign. The Jets drafted the undersized but speedy linebacker for his coverage skills, and while he’s shown flashes, he’s also struggled at times, most notably against Jimmy Graham in the Jets’ Week 4 loss to the Seahawks.

Despite that, Bowles is excited about Lee’s future and appreciates how receptive the 22-year-old is to advice and coaching.

The Jets were an unmitigated disaster to fall to 4-10.

The Jets were an unmitigated disaster to fall to 4-10.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

“Darron is great,” Bowles said. “Darron is going to be a good football player.”

WHERE IS THE RUN DEFENSE?: After a tremendous start to 2016, the Jets’ run defense regressed over the five games leading up to Saturday night’s showdown with the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. They surrendered at least 90 yards in all five of those games, including last Sunday’s win over the 49ers, during which running back Carlos Hyde totaled 193 yards.

The downturn has coincided with defensive tackle Steve McLendon’s hamstring injury. He’s been sidelined for three straight games and barely played against the Patriots after suffering a setback. But Bowles isn’t blaming McLendon’s absence for the poor performances from the Jets’ front.

“We misfit some things, and we got some mental things out of the way, and we missed some tackles,” Bowles said. “I don’t think it was due to McLendon being out.”

NEW SIGNAL CALLER: The Jets lost Marcus Gilchrist for the season last week when the starting free safety tore the patellar tendon in his knee. Before his injury, Gilchrist was in charge of the calling the defense’s plays. Bowles said this week the team would take a group approach to filling that role Saturday night. Rontez Miles started in Gilchrist’s place.

“Rontez calls and Calvin (Pryor) calls it, and you can help a little bit by coaching by calling it as well,” Bowles said. “So between the three of us, and (defensive coordinator Kacy) Rodgers, the four of us, we’ll make sure we monitor that. (Gilchrist) had experience that the guys don’t have back there, but you have to tailor some of that with the calls.”…Offensive lineman Brent Qvale, who was doubtful for Saturday night with a hamstring injury, was surprisingly active and started at right tackle.

Maybe we were wrong to question their effort and foolish to ponder whether they had quit on their head coach. Maybe there’s a simpler truth behind this mess, a clearer explanation for why they keep losing week after painful week.

Maybe the New York Jets just stink.

Todd Bowles’ squad proved that they can’t even master the role of spoiler in a pathetic 34-13 loss to the Dolphins Saturday night. It was the latest body blow for a 4-10 team that has absorbed a flurry of jabs and uppercuts for the better part of four months.

It was the second consecutive primetime embarrassment at a half-empty MetLife Stadium: Three hours of ugly, sad and disgusting.

Miami scored three touchdowns in a four-minute span in the third quarter to bury the Jets.

Miami scored three touchdowns in a four-minute span in the third quarter to bury the Jets.

(Bill Kostroun/AP)

“It’s all on me,” Todd Bowles said. “I did a terrible job getting these guys ready to play… It’s all a reflection of me. So, I’ll take full responsibility… When you play like that, it all falls on me. It starts at the top. I got to do a better job and they got to do a better job.”

It’s going to take a village to clean up this slop.

On this night, every phase frankly emitted a foul odor.

The offense was reduced to a steady stream of check-downs and dump-offs to one running back. The young quarterback was nearly sawed in half by two oversized humans on the other team after a “miscommunication” on the snap.

The defense turned a career backup into Marino. The secondary was invisible. The pass rush was invisible. The whole damn operation was awful.

The special teams looked like a Barnum & Bailey revival… again.

The Jets were an unmitigated disaster, a tire-fire, a disjointed pile of you-know-what. Bowles took the heat this time – and he’s certainly made his fair share of mistakes – but the problems extend far beyond.

The good news: There are only eight quarters left in this miserable campaign.

“No one expected this,” said Bryce Petty, who suffered a chest injury after getting sandwiched by free runners Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh on the first play of the fourth quarter. The second-year signal caller, trying to make an impression during his month-long audition for the starting (or backup) gig in 2017, said he felt a “sharp burning pain right there at my chest” after the hits.

X-rays came back negative (i.e. – no broken bones), but he’ll have a CT scan on Sunday to determine whether he suffered a bruised and/or punctured lung. Petty, who went 20 for 36 for 235 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions, didn’t exactly ease concerns within the organization that he’s not the answer for the future.

Brandon Marshall didn't help the Jets' offense.

Brandon Marshall didn’t help the Jets’ offense.

(Bill Kostroun/AP)

He spent much of the night dumping it off to Bilal Powell, who had 27 touches for 162 total yards.

Petty capped the opening drive of the game with a 40-yard touchdown to Robby Anderson before committing a pair of turnovers to help dig a 13-10 halftime hole.

The organization’s evaluation of Petty is the single most important part of the final month of this miserable season. His touchdown pass to Anderson was a welcomed change for a team that had been outscored 28-0 in the first quarter of the previous two games. But it didn’t last. Bowles’ defense didn’t exactly distinguish itself either against Matt Moore, who was starting his first game since beating the Jets in the 2011 season finale. The Jets made Moore look like he was bound for Canton.

The career backup threw a career-high four touchdowns on only 12 completions to help Miami (9-5) keep its playoff hope alive. Bowles’ secondary was terrible. Kenny Stills beat rookie cornerback Juston Burris clean for a 52-yard touchdown to give the Dolphins a 13-7 lead late in the second quarter that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Miami scored three touchdowns in a four-minute span in the third quarter to bury the Jets. A blocked punt for a score followed by two more touchdown passes from Moore did in Bowles’ team.

“We had to fight last week out in San Fran,” Mo Wilkerson said. “We just got to have that mentality each and every game. Once we got down a couple points, I don’t know if guys continued to fight like we did last week.”

That’s certainly an indictment on Bowles.

“I can damn sure coach better to make sure the coaches and players understand exactly what’s going on play by play,” Bowles said. “When we’re not winning ballgames, it starts with me…. I will be a better damn coach and we’ll be a better team.”

The Jets were down by three scores midway through the third quarter before they suffered the ultimate indignity. The chants from the sparse crowd grew louder:

“Let’s go Dolphins!” 

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