The Todd Bowles era for the New York Jets is off to an unexpectedly hot start. The first-year head coach has a defensive mindset, and the Jets are 2-0 to begin the season for the first time since 2011.
Everything hasn’t been perfect, however, with his starting quarterback Geno Smith going down with an injury before the season began. Smith’s absence has become an afterthought with the way Ryan Fitzpatrick has stepped up and commanded the starting quarterback position.
Fitzpatrick may not be more physically talented than Smith, but he is the quarterback the New York Jets need right now. For someone that has been tagged as a game-manager, Fitzpatrick did a masterful job managing his team on Monday night.
The Jets defeated the Indianapolis Colts 20-7 on the road. Fitzpatrick was 22 for 34 with 244 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Fitzpatrick also did an excellent job utilizing his best weapons, receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall.
Marshall caught seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown while Decker caught eight passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Getting the ball in the playmakers hands was a key to the victory as the Jets had the advantage against a depleted Colts secondary. Fitzpatrick never tried to do too much as the Jets remained committed to running the ball for most of the game. When Fitzpatrick did have to throw the ball, he did a great job recognizing mismatches.
Bowles has stated that there is no guarantee that Smith will become the starter again when he returns. The way things are looking right now it is more and more likely that we will not see Smith back in the lineup this season. Fitzpatrick simply gives the Jets a better chance to win.
Bowles’ coaching style is much different than former Jets head coach Rex Ryan, and that was not more evident than this past weekend. Ryan is a quote machine while Bowles is more cut from the “show me, don’t tell me” cloth.
Ryan’s Buffalo Bills were facing the New England Patriots this past weekend, a tough task. Ryan, no stranger to antagonizing Tom Brady and the bunch, spent the week using the media to fire up his team and the fans in hopes of an upset. Sunday ended with Ryan as usual stating that this loss was “on him.” The Bills have a great defense but Ryan once again put too much pressure on his players by poking New England during the week.
Bowles, a great defensive coach in his own right, has established discipline with New York this season. No stat is more telling of that than the turnover battle. The Jets lead the NFL in takeaways this season with four interceptions and six forced fumbles on the season.
The Jets will head back home to face the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Three, another winnable game as the Eagles have started the season 0-2. The matchup will favor Bowles’ coaching style as the Jets have done a great job stopping the run this season. The Eagles starting running back Demarco Murray has only totaled 46 rushing yards this season and the Jets will look to keep that number on the low side once again.
After an emotional win this week, fans will be excited to welcome home Bowles and the Jets as they start to forget all about that other coach in Buffalo.