After the Jets were eliminated from playoff contention with Sunday's 31-19 loss to the New Orleans Saints, several players said they believe head coach Todd Bowles should return next season.
"He does a good job as a head coach," veteran running back Matt Forte said, according to Newsday's Calvin Watkins. "People are going to criticize you. If you're 9-4 or 10-3 then you would be the greatest thing since slice bread. But [since] we're mathematically out of the playoffs and lost a couple of games in a row, then everything is worse."
New York has lost seven of its last nine games since a 3-2 start, however the fact the Jets have five wins this season is a sign they have already exceeded expectations given many analysts predicted New York would win a maximum of four games or have a historically bad season.
"He's the Jets' head coach," rookie safety Jamal Adams told Watkins. "He's my head coach and he's the team head coach. There shouldn't be any discussion who is going to be the head coach. It should be Todd Bowles. There shouldn't be any indecision about how our coach is coaching us. We got to finish ballgames."
Bowles is under contract for next season, and GM Mike Maccagnan said last month he thought "very highly" of Bowles' job with this team.
Despite getting rid of several key playmakers like Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis and Sheldon Richardson before the season, losing starting quarterback Josh McCown to a season-ending injury last week and suspending defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson for repeated tardiness, Bowles believes his group of players have shown positive strides this season.
"We're going to keep fighting, obviously this is going to turn," he said, according to Watkins. "I believe we have a good core group. We just got to eliminate some of the mistakes and some situational football things and we're going to be OK."
Five of the Jets' nine losses have been within one possession, and three of those have come to teams who would be in the playoffs if the season ended Sunday.
"He's been great, he gets us prepared, he's a good leader," linebacker Darron Lee told Watkins. "I don't have one bad thing to say about him. ... I hope he will be here next year. I foresee him being here next year and he's a great leader. He's a great head coach."