This is how crazy life has become around the Jets.
Todd Bowles could not even announce Friday that kid quarterback Sam Darnold will be back starting at Buffalo on Sunday — even though Darnold has practiced fully this week and 39-year-old Josh McCown had been limited until Friday.
Bowles said he and his staff will make the decision Sunday. Bowles and the Jets continue to play silly games, believing it gives them some sort of Bill Belichick-like competitive advantage.
Here is what gives you an advantage: Playing better. Winning. Changing the culture. Maybe that way you don’t have to change the coach every few years.
There is a leadership vacuum on the Jets as the players make the same undisciplined mistakes seemingly every week. They’ll change the coach, and they can add some talent in the offseason, but just as important and necessary is an improvement in the organizational culture to actually fix mistakes.
The dysfunction shows itself in many ways, but you can always count on one thing — it will be green. On Friday, underperforming linebacker Darron Lee was suspended for the rest of the season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
This culture of accepting losing and accepting mistakes week in and week out must change.
If you were in the Jets’ locker room Friday, you would think this 3-9 team were headed to the playoffs instead of mired in another lost season, as players laughed and joked with one another flanked by two giant blow-up Santa Clauses.
This isn’t about naming a new coach or giving general manager Mike Maccagnan more power. It is about making the Jets more responsible as an organization.
Improve the communication. Hold players accountable for mistakes on and off the field. This is a sport that preaches communication as part of its holy grail — communication, toughness and instinct.
Here’s a question for Jets fans: What has this team done to earn your trust?
This is a team that can’t trust itself on the field, finding new ways to lose week after week. The Super Bowl is a myth to this organization.
When I asked Bowles what the biggest thing the organization can improve upon in the future is — not what he could improve upon, but what the organization could improve upon — his mouth moved and these robotic words came out: “Nobody is satisfied with 3-9. We can coach better. We can play better. Obviously we can do a lot of things better as a group and an organization. So that’s what we’re trying to do.”
An answer with no specifics, no attention to detail, no guidance. That’s your Jets head coach, motivator of men.
There was one thing I heard Friday that gave me a smidgen of hope for the future, and it was said by defensive lineman Leonard Williams. Asked about the killer penalties against the Titans, he said: “We had the lead the whole game. We really lost on small details and then penalties. You see how much penalties can cost you a game. It sucks to be able to play pretty well and still lose a game because of penalties. I think the guys realize it. The coaches realize it. We did a big emphasis on hard count, all that type of stuff in practice this week. We’re working on it.’’
Asked what could be done so the Jets are not in the same losing position next December, Williams answered: “I think the biggest thing is that we notice the small details, like penalties, affect us, and we start to work harder on it like later on in the season when we notice it. It’s something we’ve been talking about since the beginning of the season, but since it’s not affecting you yet, you don’t really notice it. Once we start noticing it, that’s when guys are like, ‘Man, let’s fix that.’ I feel when we put emphasis like that in the beginning of the year, it will be a little bit different.’’
The players should have had that mentality from Day 1 of training camp. Clearly it wasn’t drilled into them.
This losing organization can’t fall into the same trap. Year after lost year.
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