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Jets players say they want coach Todd Bowles to return

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, left,

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, left, greets New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles after an NFL football game in New Orleans. Dec. 17, 2017. Credit: AP / Butch Dill

NEW ORLEANS — With the Jets officially eliminated from playoff contention after their 31-19 loss to the Saints on Sunday, one piece of business to talk about is the coaching status of Todd Bowles.

Although there were no front-office officials around to ask about Bowles’ status, several Jets players would like to see him return.

“He’s been great, he gets us prepared, he’s a good leader,” linebacker Darron Lee told Newsday. “I don’t have one bad thing to say about him. That’s how the league is. I hope he will be here next year. I foresee him being here next year and he’s a great leader, he’s a great head coach.”

Bowles is signed through 2018 and hasn’t engaged in any discussions with ownership about a contract extension. In three seasons, he has compiled a 20-26 record with no playoff appearances. The Jets won 10 games in his first season but have won only 10 in the last two seasons.

“He’s the Jets’ head coach,” safety Jamal Adams said. “He’s my head coach and he’s the team’s head coach. There shouldn’t be any discussion who is going to be the head coach. It should be Todd Bowles. There shouldn’t be any indecision about how our coach is coaching us. We got to finish ballgames.”

The Jets were projected by some to win fewer than three games, a point several players mentioned to reporters after the game. Most, if not all, of the players gave Bowles credit for what he has done to change the culture after a 5-11 finish last season.

The front office purged the roster of veteran players and is using younger and cheaper veterans from a financial standpoint this season. After an 0-2 start, the Jets won three straight games to get in the playoff conversation, but they have lost seven of their last nine.

Bowles still believes the team is headed in the right direction.

“We’re going to keep fighting. Obviously, this is going to turn,” he said. “I believe we have a good core group. We just got to eliminate some of the mistakes and some situational football things, and we’re going to be OK.”

Whether Bowles will get the chance to lead the team in 2018 is uncertain. The Jets have two games remaining in the regular season and will play them with quarterback Bryce Petty, who has made five career starts.

It appears the Jets will make a decision regarding Bowles’ future once the season is over. General manager Mike Maccagnan said earlier in the season that he and Bowles answer to ownership. The Jets’ CEO/chairman is Christopher Johnson, who has taken over for Woody Johnson, now the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Christopher Johnson has said he wants to see progress on the field and, while he says he hates losing, he does like Bowles. Before Sunday’s game, when the Jets locked arms during the national anthem, as a sign of unity, Johnson locked arms with Bowles.

“He does a good job as a head coach,” running back Matt Forte said. “People are going to criticize you. If you’re 9-4 or 10-3, then you would be the greatest thing since sliced bread. But we’re mathematically out of the playoffs, and lost a couple of games in a row, then everything is worse.”

New York Sports