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Leonard Williams defends Todd Bowles after Jets' third straight loss

Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams looks on from

Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams looks on from the field before a game against the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 16. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Jets didn’t get many stops in Jacksonville, but Leonard Williams tried to stop the “Todd Bowles must go” narrative.

Bowles has come under fire – again – because of how inept the Jets played and how unprepared they looked. They gave up 503 yards Sunday and were drubbed, 31-12, by the Jaguars.

But Williams came out in strong support of his coach. The defensive end said the Jets knew every play the Jaguars were running but that they didn’t execute their defensive game plan, had trouble tackling and left at least three sacks on the field.

Williams said the Jets are in the process of building something, they’re united and they believe they have plenty of time to turn this season around.

“Todd Bowles is definitely the right guy,” Williams said on a conference call Monday. “I feel like we’ve definitely been building in the right direction. What I love most is guys’ attitude on the team. Everyone wants to play for one another, and that says a lot. Everyone is locked in. Even though we’ve taken some Ls, everyone is still locked in and bought into the system.

“I think people are too quick to give up on coaches or give up on our organization instead of allowing them to build when it takes time.”

Bowles is in his fourth year as coach, and he received an extension after last season. Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said he wants to see progress. The Jets are 1-3 after losing their last three games. Bowles admitted the Jets “took a step back” in Sunday’s lopsided loss.

But the Jets watched tape of the game Monday, and began correcting the mistakes they made.  

“It’s difficult because they didn’t throw anything at us that we weren’t prepared for,” Williams said. “We studied them. We knew exactly what they were going to do. It is hard to swallow especially since it’s the third loss in a row. At the same time, we still have a long season ahead of us. We can’t start hanging our heads down. We can’t start giving up.”

If the Jets are going to make anything out of this season, the opportunity is right in front of them. Starting Sunday against Denver, the Jets play their next three games at home, where they also will face the Colts and Vikings.

The Jets have victimized themselves with penalties, missed assignments and inconsistent play. They could be headed to a 4-12 season if they don’t take advantage of the schedule. Williams said it’s a must.

“It’s real critical just because we haven’t won our first game at home,” Williams said. “These next three games at home we really have to dominate. If anything else, we need to win at home. For ourselves and for the fans and for all the doubters out there, I think we need to do good these next three games.”

The Jets struggled trying to stop the Jaguars’ short crossing routes. Bowles said his players just did things they usually don’t do, and their breakdowns were physical and mental. He showed them to make sure it doesn’t happen again this Sunday.

“We’re not as bad as the film looked," Bowles said. "But we’re not as good as some of the things we did, either. … We got some home games coming up, so we got to respond.”

His players agreed.

“It's a long season,” cornerback Trumaine Johnson said. “I understand we’re in a hole right now. But we have a lot of games left. I trust and believe in everybody in this locker room to turn this season around.”

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