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Todd Bowles already on hot seat for Jets

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles stands on the sidelines in the final minutes of the 4th quarter against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 of the NFL season on September 16 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

By Chris Mascaro, The Sports Xchange

Todd Bowles is officially on the clock.

The Jets have won once in their last eight games and are 11-25 (.305) since the start of the 2015 season. Only the Browns (two), who just beat the Jets two weeks ago, and 49ers (nine) have fewer wins in that stretch. The Bears have the same number, but they seem to be trending in the right direction.

The Jets? Not so much.

After a surprising Week 1 blowout win in Detroit, they've lost three in a row to make the seat their head coach sits on very hot. Now they return to MetLife Stadium for a three-game homestand against the Broncos (who play Monday night against the Chiefs), Colts and Vikings -- all winnable games even though the Jets will likely be underdogs in all three.

The Jets had 10 days to prepare for Sunday's 31-12 loss in Jacksonville, and when asked how a defense with that much time could play so poorly, Bowles didn't have an answer.

"I don't know, but we didn't play well," he said.

Well, you're the head coach, so if you don't know, who does?

Here's the problem with the Jets: There's no one area that's the issue. It's all of them. Sometimes the defense plays great (see: five interceptions against the Lions), and sometimes they get torched (see: 503 yards allowed Sunday, the most in a game for the franchise since giving up 511 in a 2008 win over the Patriots). Sometimes they run the ball well (107 yards and two touchdowns two weeks ago in Cleveland) and sometimes they get stuffed (34 yards on 14 carries on Sunday). And rookie quarterback's like Sam Darnold are, by definition, inconsistent.

All four taken in the top-10 of this year's draft -- Baker Mayfield, Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen -- lost on Sunday.

But the common refrain from fans is that the Jets don't have enough playmakers around the 21-year-old, and while that is true, some of the blame has to be put on Darnold, too. In 12 full games last season, Josh McCown hit Robby Anderson for 821 yards and seven touchdowns. But through four games, the speedster only has eight catches for 108 yards, and the production would be even more sparse without a 41-yard touchdown in the opener.

It's clear Quincy Enunwa is Darnold's preferred target, and Anderson has already lost two fumbles. But the Jets' offense is lacking an explosiveness Anderson brought to the table last season.

"We know we need to take more chunks shots down the field and get some big plays, or try to get some big plays," Bowles said Monday. "Or at least back some people up and that was encouraging (that Darnold took those shots Sunday), we just got to connect on them."

But it's not only execution that's a problem. Bowles can explain things any way he wants, but his coaching decisions Sunday were questionable, at best.

And losing by 19 points when your team is +3 in turnover margin is almost unfathomable. Since 1970, only five times has a team lost by that much with that big of a turnover advantage, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

For now, the players (at least publicly) remain in Bowles' corner.

"I would tell people that Todd Bowles is definitely the guy," said defensive end Leonard Williams, who had his first full sack in 10 games on Sunday. "I feel like we've definitely been building in the right direction. ... Everyone is locked in. Even though we've taken some Ls, everyone is still locked in and bought into the system.

"I think people are too quick to give up on coaches."

Added strong safety Jamal Adams: "At 1-3, there's a lot of football to be played."

That's true, but the Jets are seemingly getting progressively worse, not better.

When asked Monday what his message to the team was, Bowles said: "Look ourselves in the mirror and make sure we understand our jobs, individually, to help the team. ... We're not as bad as the film looked. ... We got some home games coming up, so we got to respond."

If they don't, the hot seat Bowles is sitting on will become scorching.

--Regarding Sunday's controversial two-point conversion attempt after the Jaguars' touchdown with 25 seconds left and them leading by 19, Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone said Monday he wished he could take it back.

"If I had to do it all over and I knew this was going to happen, yea, I wish someone would have said something," he said of the hubbub surrounding the play. "Because the one thing I don't want to do is get my character attacked, which has happened in the past and happens again."

Some surmised Marrone made the call because he is still salty over getting passed over for the Jets' head-coaching job in 2015 for Todd Bowles, which he denied. Some also thought it was a response to Jamal Adams' unnecessary roughness penalty earlier in the drive. But Marrone said after the game he did it simply because it was what the chart said to do.

Said Bowles after the game: "I don't tell another man how to coach his team."

--The Jets have been shut out in a half twice this season, the first half of the Miami game and first half on Sunday, and they scored only three points in the second half against Cleveland.

On the flip side, they outscored the Lions 31-7 in the second half of that game, shut out the Dolphins 12-0 in the second half, led the Browns 14-3 at halftime. Why the inconsistency?

"That's a good question," head coach Todd Bowles said Monday. "That's something we've definitely got to be better at and maintain. We've shown we are capable of it, it's just a mistake here and a mistake there that we've got to sure up going forward if we want to do anything."

--WR Terrelle Pryor played only two snaps in Sunday's 31-12 loss to the Jaguars (and was targeted once by Sam Darnold).

So was he hurt? The 29-year-old was limited at Thursday's practice after tweaking his groin, but was a full practice participant on Friday. He was "still a little sore and we kind of went with the guys we had that were going in," head coach Todd Bowles said after the game.

"We couldn't find any offensive continuity really, so we weren't on the field long enough to be substituting," Bowles added.

Pryor, who has eight catches for 158 yards on the season, played 24 snaps Week 1 in Detroit and 44 in each of the two games prior to Sunday.

--LB Josh Martin was placed on injured reserve after suffering his second concussion in a little more than a month.

Having just been cleared to practice last week after a concussion in the third preseason game against the Giants, the 26-year-old out of Columbia played 19 snaps on defense and 11 on special teams on Sunday and made one tackle.

"It is definitely alarming," head coach Todd Bowles said Monday about the injury. "He was out about a month the first time it happened, then he came right back and another one happened. So it's got to be alarming. We are looking at it and we're monitoring to see where it goes from here, but it's definitely a concern."

Martin said last week he won't do anything to jeopardize his quality of life after football, so it's possible he pulls the plug on his career.

Brandon Copeland, another Ivy Leaguer from Penn, has been getting the most time at Martin's outside linebacker spot opposite Jordan Jenkins. Copeland has nine tackles and a sack on the season.

Defensive end Bronson Kaufasi was brought up from the practice squad to take Martin's roster spot.

--SS Jamal Adams got an unnecessary roughness penalty with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter on Sunday after he drove Dede Westbrook to the ground after the whistle had blown. Westbrook, a second-year receiver out of Oklahoma who had his first career 100-yard game (130), wasn't pleased.

"He's my dude. I met him at Sterling Shephard's wedding and also before the draft we came here together, and for him to do that it kind of upset me, because at the end of the day, the whistle blew," Westbrook said. "That's not cool. I've got a family to feed, just as well as you do. And anything that's done after the whistle, it's unnecessary. Of course I wasn't happy with that."

Adams responded Sunday night on Twitter, saying, "Dawg, I told (you) after the game I didn't hear the whistle. You still trynna run the rock so whatcha expect me to do... let go? Nahhhh, I play this game full speed at all times. Remember too pimp I got a family to feed as well. Plus more! LUV"

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