PHOENIX — Defense may be his specialty, but Todd Bowles is aiming to have a much-needed impact on the Jets’ offense in 2017.
The third-year coach said Tuesday at the NFL owners’ meetings that he’ll “continue to be involved” in the offensive meeting room this season, but added: “I’ll be probably heavily more involved than I’ve been since I’ve been here.”
During an hourlong session with reporters during the annual AFC coaches breakfast, Bowles admitted that he underperformed in 2016, as did his players, and he has to do “everything in the world better” coming off a 5-11 finish.
And that includes having a more visible role on offense, behind the scenes and on game day.
“It’s just the way I feel as a coach and have evolved to, and where I need to be,” he said. “And to understand everything from that standpoint, I need to be heavily involved [on offense].”
It’s a familiar refrain for Jets fans who watched Bowles’ predecessor Rex Ryan — another defensive-minded coach — promise to take a more hands-on approach on offense after the team struggled to constantly win games and make the playoffs. But Ryan’s attempts yielded no positive results on the field and he was fired at the end of the 2014 season. Bowles, however, is hoping to see a turnaround from his team.
The Jets’ offense regressed in 2016, finishing 12th in rushing, 27th in passing and 30th in scoring.
Asked how he plans to be more active on the opposite side of the ball, Bowles said: “It’ll be dictating a little more on game day in certain situations. The more you learn in every facet, the better coach you become and the more understanding you have of your other coaches and what they’re teaching.”
The coaching staff has undergone significant change. Bowles fired five assistants in January and also announced the retirement of offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. He recently hired Saints wide receivers coach John Morton as Gailey’s replacement.
As Bowles’ working relationship with Morton takes shape, his evolution as a head coach will continue, too.
“As you’re more involved on the defense and understanding it, and as the coaches on defense understand what you want,” he said, “you kind of let that go more, and evolve to the other side because you want more knowledge on that side of the ball, and you trust that [defensive] side to do what they need to do.”