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Jets make right decision to stick with coach Todd Bowles

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. Credit: Lee S Weissman

It was one of those messy journalism scenes that make no one look good — not the reporters whose jobs compelled them to stalk Woody Johnson to the door of the Jets’ locker room on Sunday and not Woody himself, who did not stop to chat.

The owner of the Jets is not scheduled to talk to fans through the media on Monday, either, after players clean out their lockers. He does plan to do so “in the coming weeks,” according to a spokesman.

That is a problem, because Mr. Johnson’s team just finished a miserable 5-11 season and because after Sunday’s 30-10 rout of the Bills, the Jets confirmed that Todd Bowles will return as coach and Mike Maccagnan as general manager.

Those non-moves, especially as it relates to Bowles, will not be popular among much of the fan base, which has its doubts about Bowles’ stewardship a year after his first team finished 10-6.

Hence the importance of explaining things publicly and promptly rather than leaving it to, well, people like me.

No one chased me down for an opinion, but I will provide one anyway in the absence of the owner’s take: He was right to avoid the sort of knee-jerk change that is a hallmark of wayward franchises.

Are Maccagnan and Bowles long-term answers for a team that soon will mark a half-century since its most recent Super Bowl appearance? Too soon to tell. Way too soon.

But it also is too soon to give up, not after a promising 2015 season and after Bowles had to deal with too many injuries, too little prime-of-career talent and too many combustible personalities in 2016.

Oh, and the lack of a franchise quarterback among the four who began the season on the roster.

Some of that is on Bowles, of course, and some is on Maccagnan, the players and bad luck.

But this is no Rich Kotite-esque situation in which a guy is in over his head. Bowles deserves another shot and, more importantly, fans do not deserve another start from scratch.

Bowles was his usual less-than-effusive self after the feel-good rout of the Bills.

Asked about the Jets’ decision to retain him, he offered a verbal shrug, saying, “I knew that I would be here, so it really wasn’t a big deal.”

So he had been told before Sunday that he wasn’t going anywhere? “Yeah, we always talk, so it’s not an issue,” he said.

Hmm. So why not just come right out and say that publicly before Sunday? Johnson was not available to answer that question, either.

So it appears the Jets are bound for the opposite of what the Giants did after last season. The Giants canned the head coach and kept almost everyone else. The Jets kept the head coach but are likely to make major changes on his staff.

Bowles would not go there Sunday, saying only, “I’ll discuss all that as we get forward into our process next week.”

Players were uniformly supportive of the news that Bowles will be back, although if he is to remain the boss, there was not much incentive to say anything negative. But they did sound sincere.

“That’s good news,” defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said. “I think he’s a great coach.”

Thus it went around the locker room, which for too much of the season was not a happy place.

Even quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who likely played his last game as a Jet, endorsed the decision on the grounds that continuity is important to success in the NFL.

Maccagnan is scheduled to address fans through the media later this week, and Johnson eventually will weigh in for the first time in many months.

The sooner the better for a guy whose customers spoke clearly by filling roughly half the seats at MetLife Stadium during the final three home games.

Even if Johnson made the right decision to keep Bowles, he needs to share his thoughts with fans, feel their pain — and then do something about it.

New York Sports