Jets head coach Todd Bowles met with beat reporters for the final time in 2017 today, which of course is the first day of 2018. He gave his views on a variety of season-ending topics. We've selected six subjects and Bowles' response from his afternoon news conference:
"No Excuses"Several players before leaving from the locker room mentioned that Bowles stressed a "no excuses" approach moving forward. The HC said his team didn't lean on excuses this year but wanted to get the point across to his players heading for "points unknown."
"It's just a no-excuse business. You win games or you don't. It's not 5-11 but you played a couple of games close, it's not so-and-so got hurt or so-and-so wasn't here. You win spite of. And that's the only thing I was trying to convey going into the offseason. ... Guys weren't happy at all. We knew we could play better, and we should be angry in the offseason and we should be angry looking at the playoff games. And we will be."
Josh McCownMcCown, the Jets' 38-year-old QB who enjoyed a career year but ended the season on Injured Reserve, was not available to reporters today, Bowles said, because of a team rule instituted this year regarding players on IR. Bowles was asked if he'd like McCown to return in 2018.
"It's contingent on a lot of things. Me and Josh, we talk all the time. I understand he's got to talk to his family. He's played a long time. He had a great season. There's decisions he has to make, decisions we have to make, and we've got to see if his meet ours. ... We've got other pieces to add. If we've got all the pieces and the chemistry is right, we'll go from there."
John MortonThe NFL rumor mill is grinding away, and it suggests Jon Gruden could be leaving ESPN for the Oakland Raiders HC job and that Gruden would love to bring Morton west with him. But Bowles reminded that "I don't deal in rumors" and Morton is currently under contract. How did Morton do as a first-year offensive coordinator?
"I picked him for a reason. He had some plays this year that were outstanding. He had some games he called that were great, he had some games, he himself would tell you, he'd like to have back. We were happy with John and everything he did this year. Obviously we've got to grow from there, but it takes all the coaches, not just one."
Muhammad WilkersonWilkerson spent the final three games inactive by coach's decision. Bowles didn't shed a lot of light on the situation going into 2018 but did warn people from jumping to conclusions about Mo's situation with the Jets.
"Right now it's status quo. We'll meet upstairs and we'll see what the best options are available going forward and we'll go from there. I don't know if he's going to be released or not be released. We haven't had those discussion yet. There's a lot that can happen in the spring."
Improvements in 2017Bowles gave some thought to a question regarding where, besides the obvious additions of rookie starting safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, the Jets made strides in the just-concluded season.
"I thought we played better inside with the 'backers, with Darron [Lee] having another year under his belt and Double-D [Demario Davis] adjusting to the Mike position coming in. We had more continuity on the defensive line schematically, I think that was better. I thought the receivers played well — I don't know if they were better than the last two years, but they played well and the continuity was there. Our biggest thing this year: We had better chemistry and continuity in more areas."
Bruce AriansThe Arizona Cardinals head coach, Bowles' longtime mentor beginning when he played for Arians at Temple, announced his retirement today. How did that hit the Jets coach and what was the biggest lesson Arians taught him?
"Bruce has been around a long time. He's been big to me in my career, mostly off the field, just being the person he is. Seeing me grow from college to now and still having the same relationship, that means a lot to me. If he's happy about it, I'm good. ... When you're down, just fight. All you can do in this business, if you're in it long enough, you're going to lose some ballgames. But the minute you show some weakness and flinch, somebody's going to beat you down, so you always have to go out swinging."
The Jets Wrapped Up the 2017 Season at 1 Jets Drive on Monday