Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, right, greets New York...

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, right, greets New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Credit: AP / Ross D. Franklin

PHOENIX — Bruce Arians has no doubts about Todd Bowles’ ability to turn around the Jets. But the Cardinals coach made it clear that it takes more than just a competent head coach to build a winner.

“I mean, you’re only as good as your players,” Arians said Wednesday at the NFL annual meeting. “And right now, he’s got to find a quarterback.

“But as far as toughness, [being] able to teach and being extremely bright, you’re not going to find anybody better.”

Arians’ relationship with Bowles dates back to the early 1980s when he was coaching Bowles, a safety, at Temple University. The two remained close, working together in Cleveland for three seasons before Arians hired Bowles to be his defensive coordinator with the Cardinals in 2013.

But the high praise and lofty expectations that followed Bowles from Arizona to New Jersey are being tested. After going 5-11 in 2016, the Jets are in rebuilding mode with a revamped coaching staff. Bowles fired five assistant coaches in January.

The Jets signed veteran quarterback Josh McCown last week, but Bowles said on Tuesday that the quarterback competition will be “highly competitive” between McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. That means the Jets still don’t definitively know who their No. 1 quarterback will be when organized team activities (OTAs) begin May 23.

Bowles, whose specialty is defense, also said on Tuesday that he will be more involved with the offense in 2017. He recently hired Saints wide receiver coach John Morton as his new offensive coordinator.

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