By MALCOLM RASHAAD BANKS
Special to the AmNews
There always comes a time when an old coach is no longer with the franchise and the new man in charge has to light a fire under his team so everyone is fully aware who is running the show. This is precisely the predicament New York Jets first-year head coach Todd Bowles finds himself in today. The question is how will he handle it, as it could determine the type of locker room he will have during his stint in New York.
When media darling and now ex-head coach of the New York Jets Rex Ryan was fired, many critiqued that he wasn’t harsh enough on guys and that he didn’t hold them accountable. This may be true, but for the most part, guys were never misbehaving under the watchful eye of a coach all his players seemed to love and enjoy. The same cannot be said for Bowles, as he has had to deal with two major incidences involving marquee players that Ryan simply never had to deal with in his time with the organization.
It was bad enough when Pro Bowl defensive end Sheldon Richardson embarrassed himself along with the entire organization when he failed a drug test. Things grew far worse when he stated in an interview that he wouldn’t be in the news for anything else.
He tricked us all.
It wasn’t an hour after Richardson declared he wouldn’t be a distraction that he was responsible for one of the biggest distractions of the entire National Football League offseason. Richardson was busted for fleeing the cops at 143 miles per hour, resisting arrest, all while having a 12-year-old passenger in the vehicle.
Legal actions occurred, though no team punishments have been announced to the public since the event. The New York Jets organization has done an excellent job of keeping quiet from any negative news since Richardson’s ridiculous actions.
That is, until this week.
The Internet went into a frenzy when Bowles, in his morning press conference, stated to the media that starting quarterback Geno Smith would be out six to 10 weeks with a broken jaw. He went on to say Smith was “sucker punched” by linebacker I.K. Enemkpali the morning of Aug. 11 in the locker room.
Yes, Geno Smith, the starting quarterback for the New York Jets who has reportedly been having a stellar training camp, was attacked by his teammate, which ultimately resulted in a broken jaw. The incident was earlier described by Bowles as “childish.” Later it was revealed that $600 Smith owed Enemkpali was the root of the issue.
It will now be interesting to see how the New York Jets perform with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is coming off a broken leg and now stepping in as the starter. One thing that remains important in all of this is Bowles and the discipline that must take place so acts of idiocy don’t become normal in his locker room.