EXCLUSIVE: Harlem Times Interview with New York Jets Coach Todd Bowles
Harlem Times: When the Jets officially named you their new head coach who was the first person you called to let them know of the news?
Todd Bowles: My kids, then Bruce Arians and then Doug Williams
HT: What was the conversation like with coach Arians.
TB: I wanted share that moment with him because he had everything to do with it…letting him know he was a proud father so that was a great moment for us.
HT: Based on the current roster, do you feel the Jets are close to becoming contenders?
TB: It’s not based on the roster; it’s based on the hard work. You know if we put in the work and do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be contenders.
HT: With the Patriots winning the super bowl and the Dolphins and Bills continuing to improve, do you feel the AFC is one of the toughest divisions in the NFL?
TB: I mean it’s very tough, you know I think they all play great defense and they’re all very good on offense, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. You know we respect everybody but we’re not going to fear anybody.
HT: Do you think having been a former player in the NFL, it’s easier to relate to players?
TB: I wouldn’t say its ‘easier’ but you understand certain situations because you’ve been though what they’ve been though as a player and put yourself in their shoes. It will probably be easier to answer them, I don’t think it’s any easier coaching them, but it’s easier with communications.
HT: You played under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs for several years and under Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells; what traits did you learn from them that has helped you in coaching?
TB: Coach [Joe] Gibbs you learn discipline and how you do things over and over again …you study film – meticulously – in preparing for your opponent every week. With Coach Parcells, the overall aspect of coaching and coaching the coaches and understand situations in how to deal with players on and off the field.
HT: This past season you won the inaugural Assistant Coach of the Year Award, how much did that mean to you?
TB: It meant a lot. You can’t win an assistant coach of the year award without the coaches around you. And I accepted that on behalf of the defensive coaches, and Coach [Bruce] Arians especially because we put in a lot of effort as a group and there’s no individual award. So it’s very humbling for the league to see me in that way but there were a lot of people that helped out in that process.
HT: Do you think criticism of Gino Smith has been fair?
TB: It’s the NFL… you win, you don’t get criticized, and when you lose, you do. So it all comes with the territory.
HT: Last year as defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals you had one of the best secondaries in the NFL. This area was weak spot for the Jets this year. Is upgrading this position the top priority for the Jets whether it’s via free agency or the draft?
TB: We’re trying to upgrade wherever possible, we don’t have a specific position to upgrade…we’re going to upgrade as we watch the film wherever we think we need to upgrade at.
HT: How has the NY media fared differently than the media you’ve dealt with elsewhere?
TB: There’s about 4 or 5 of them in Arizona, there’s about 100 of them here in New York, but the questions are the same…(laugh)
HT: What are your expectations for the Jets in 2015?
TB: Obviously, we want to try and run a division which we want to run every year and try to get to the Super Bowl and championship for the City.
HT: In regards to this past Super Bowl, what do you think for the Seahawks decision to throw the ball off second in the one yard line?
TB: You can’t question the decision you know, you can’t question everybody’s decision whether to run a pass if it works, nobody says anything – if it doesn’t work than others are criticizing. I don’t have a decision one way or the other – it’s just the coach’s decision! You know Pete knows his team better than anybody!