INDIANAPOLIS — The Jets fired offensive coordinator John Morton after one season calling the plays and promoted quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates to replace him, and coach Todd Bowles wanted to clarify the situation publicly.
Bowles said he promoted Bates because he is a better fit for the offense. And even though Morton was fired, Bowles defended him, saying he faced some difficulties that were out of his control.
“We lost a lot of people on offense,” Bowles said this week at the NFL Combine. “We had a new quarterback come in, injuries, he was in a tough spot. He dealt with a lot. He dealt with a lot of young guys and a lot of new guys, receivers come in on the fly at the beginning of the season.
“I think he did an OK job. Just needed a different fit. That’s why I hired Jeremy. Me and Mort had never had an altercation the whole year. He was fine. I don’t know where all that came from.”
The Jets finished 28th in total offense (305.2), 24th in passing (198.9) and 19th in rushing (106.4) under Morton. Several players complained publicly and privately about Morton’s play-calling.
When the 2017 season ended, Morton was rumored to be joining Jon Gruden’s staff in Oakland, and the Jets were willing to let him join the Raiders. When it didn’t occur, they made the move to let Morton go.
“We got to go with the right fit,” Bowles said. “You have to do what’s best for the team. You’re going to evaluate the players, you got to do that with the coaches as well.”