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Cardinals praise former leader Todd Bowles

Then-Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, left, and

Then-Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, left, and wide receiver DeSean Jackson walk off the field at the end of an NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons in Philadelphia on Oct. 28, 2012. Credit: AP / Michael Perez

In the same breath, Calais Campbell detailed what the Jets have gained and everything his Cardinals have lost.

Todd Bowles wasn't only their defensive coordinator. He was their leader, both on and off the field, an emotional rock and an occasional jokester. He also was a little brother to coach Bruce Arians.

"It's bittersweet,'' Cardinals defensive end Campbell said by phone from Phoenix on Wednesday, hours before the Jets officially named Bowles their coach.

"For him to get a promotion and become a head coach, I think he'll be very good at it. "But definitely as a player it [stinks], because I know how good we can be with him here. We definitely have a big void to fill.''

Campbell insisted, in his deep, throaty voice, that the Jets made the right call.

"Oh, 100 percent,'' he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he was very successful right away. The Jets are in very good hands.''

Owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan -- who was officially hired Tuesday -- got a clear sense of Bowles' work ethic, attention to detail and demeanor in the course of his interviews, each lasting several hours. In that time, the Jets saw everything the Cardinals had come to admire during the past two seasons.

"That's a great hire,'' Arizona cornerback Antonio Cromartie, a former Jet, wrote in a text message shortly after news of Bowles' agreement to join the Jets broke late Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Cromartie said on SiriusXM NFL Radio: "I'm very happy for Todd Bowles. He is the most head coach-ready of an assistant I've been around.''

Supportive tweets and encouraging words flooded social media in the aftermath of the Jets' head-coaching announcement. Campbell's words made it easy to see why.

"Todd's one of the most passionate football coaches I know,'' said Campbell, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod this season.

Jets center Nick Mangold met Bowles briefly at the Jets' facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, on Wednesday and said his coach's enthusiasm was palpable.

"You could tell right away, just from 'Hi' and 'How ya doing,' his passion for the game, his intensity,'' Mangold said Thursday on WFAN. "I'm excited to play for him.''

Bowles' arrival also means a new coaching staff for the Jets. They're expected to name Dolphins defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers as defensive coordinator and bring in Chan Gailey to run the offense. Gailey will be the fourth Jets offensive coordinator in the past 10 seasons, but Mangold embraces the change.

"I've heard great things about getting the ball out, spreading it around,'' he said of Gailey. " . . . So getting to see how Chan views offense and how he attacks defenses, it just kind of gets me giddy.''

Bowles wants to add Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, but they denied the Jets' request to interview him. There's still a good chance that Armstrong can join the Jets once the Falcons hire a head coach.

Campbell, a first-year captain, credited Bowles with helping him grow as a leader and for dialing up blitzes that aided his 16 sacks the past two seasons.

Bowles -- who was named the Pro Football Writers Association's assistant coach of the year on Thursday -- may be soft-spoken and reserved, "but he's fiery when he needs to be,'' Campbell said.

So does that mean there's a chance Jets fans could get a Super Bowl guarantee (a la Rex Ryan) during Bowles' introductory news conference next week?

"Oh, nah,'' Campbell said, laughing, "that's something you won't get.''

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