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Todd Bowles confident that reeling Jets will improve

Jets coach Todd Bowles gestures on the sideline

Jets coach Todd Bowles gestures on the sideline during the second half of a 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on  Sept. 17, 2017. Credit: AP / Ben Margot

The 0-2 Jets still believe in their season, even though outsiders don’t.

Coach Todd Bowles said his team will learn from Sunday’s 45-20 beatdown at the hands of the Raiders. It’s hard to see how, given that the defense has given up 818 yards, third worst in the NFL, and 370 rushing yards, which ranks last in the league.

“I know my team and I know the locker room,” Bowles said Monday in a conference call. “I’ve seen a lot and I’ve been around these guys quite a bit and I have every confidence in the world.”

The biggest issue is defense, which several players seemed mystified about. The Jets have allowed 33 points per game, last in the NFL. Big plays continue to hamper the development of young players and give Bowles and the defensive coaches fits. The Raiders executed five plays of 25 or more yards against the Jets, including touchdown runs of 52 and 43 yards in the second half.

Yet everyone remains positive, but searching for answers.

“Very surprised, but me and the other D-linemen, we take great pride in it,” tackle Steve McLendon said. “We’re trying to correct it and we’re trying to correct it now. We’re not trying to let this linger on with this running back we have this week, (the Dolphins’ Jay Ajayi).

“It’s going to be another challenge waiting for us and we wouldn’t want nothing less, and if not a challenge, then we don’t want it. We accept the challenge and with those great challenges we’re going to make changes and do the necessary things to help our team be successful this upcoming week.”

While some fans are hoping the Jets continue to fail so they can obtain a high draft pick for the selection of a quarterback, the current players and coaches are determined to play competitive football. In Week 1 at Buffalo, the Jets were competitive until the fourth quarter, and Sunday at Oakland, the Jets hung around until the early stages of the third quarter.

Mistakes, whether it’s a muffed punt by Kalif Raymond, which was a turning point against the Raiders, or missed tackles or blown assignments, the Jets have the confidence they can move forward.

“We’re still learning about the identity part,” Bowles said. “But I know we have a lot of fight in us and we just can’t make the mistakes we’ve been making.”

After two road games to begin the season, the Jets will play the next two at MetLife Stadium, Sunday against the Dolphins and Oct. 1 against the Jaguars.

It’s possible that improvements on the defense will occur the next two weeks, and maybe, just maybe, the Jets will advance forward and get a victory.

But it won’t curtail talk of a tank.

“It’s a little bit of a test, but one of the things we’ve been working on all offseason is holding each other accountable and trying to grow as a team,” center Wesley Johnson said. “I think we’re at the point where I don’t look at it as a test we just want, in terms of becoming divided or anything like that, we just want to win. And we’re going to go out and do our best and beat the Dolphins.”

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