Friendships will fall by the wayside Monday night, as Jets coach Todd Bowles faces the Arizona Cardinals and his former head coach, mentor and friend, Bruce Arians.
Their relationship dates to the early 1980s when Arians was coaching Temple and Bowles was his sharpest and most-skilled player. The two remained close, worked together in Cleveland for three seasons, and in 2013, Arians hired Bowles to be his defensive coordinator in Arizona. But those close ties won’t mean anything at kickoff. Said Bowles: “During the game, we’re going to try to kill them and they’re going to try to kill us.”
GLASS HALF FULL
The Jets (1-4) have lost three straight, but that hasn’t dampened Sheldon Richardson’s optimism. Having gone through a 4-12 season under Rex Ryan in 2014, the versatile defensive end believes they have time to right the ship. “We’re actually undefeated in the division. That’s not saying much but I’ve always got to be optimistic,” he said, laughing, referring to the Jets Week 2 win over AFC East rival Buffalo. “If we win out in the division, we can still get in. I think it’s possible. It’s a long football season. So you can’t close the door on me yet. I refuse.”
Todd Bowles has never played a Jet who is listed as doubtful on the injury report — and that means David Harris’ streak of 121 consecutive regular-season games is in jeopardy. The last time he missed a game was Nov. 30, 2008 versus Denver, when Brett Favre was the Jets’ quarterback and Eric Mangini was the coach.
NEXT MAN UP
The Jets placed WR Eric Decker (shoulder) on injured reserve this week and that means players other than Brandon Marshall have to step up. To win on the road, they’ll need to rely heavily on the running game and young receivers Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Charone Peake will have to show they can be trusted.
“You always want your best players out there and Eric’s obviously one of our best players from what he did last year and even the beginning of this year. But nobody feels sorry for you,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “We have to move on from him, just for this season because he’s not coming back and really focus in on our young guys and what they’re good at. And put them in good positions to highlight their skill sets.”
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has 31 catches and is tied for the league lead with five touchdown receptions. The Jets have just five receiving TDs as a team this season.
32: The Jets’ overall rank in both passer rating and passer rating allowed. According to NFL.com, a team hasn’t fared that poorly over a full season since the 1989 Cowboys, who went 1-15.
Quotable: “I’ve always been a fan of Fitz . . . I know when he gets on fire, it’s a hard fire to put out.” — Bruce Arians