This Sunday likely will mark Todd Bowles’ final game as head coach of the New York Jets. It’s been an unremarkable four-year run thanks in large to the continued dominance of the New England Patriots, who’ve won 16 AFC East titles in the past 18 seasons, including 10 straight divisional crowns.
Yet one NFL coach believes the current state of the Patriots actually makes the Jets’ impending head-coaching vacancy very appealing.
The Patriots can clinch another first-round playoff bye this Sunday with a win over New York, but it’s been an up-and-down season for the defending AFC champions, especially with quarterback Tom Brady showing some signs of regression at age 41.
“I would love that job,” one coach told the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta of the Jets’ coaching gig. “The Jets are poised to take over that division. Brady’s time is short.”
To be fair, there is reason for optimism in East Rutherford despite the Jets’ 4-11 record. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has shown flashes of being really good, and New York has solid talent at each level of its defense. The Jets also figure to have a ton of salary cap space and a high draft pick this offseason, allowing them to plug the remaining holes in their roster.
That said, talk of the Patriots’ downfall might be a bit exaggerated. Sure, they haven’t quite looked like themselves this season, with Brady taking a step back and All-Pro tight Rob Gronkowski stumbling his way through a lackluster campaign. But Bill Belichick’s still pulling the strings in Foxboro, and it’s not like Brady has completely fallen off a cliff despite his drop in production.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images