Todd Bowles could have been the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach. Owner Jerry Jones interviewed Bowles for the job following the 2010 season before ultimately dropping Jason Garrett’s “interim” title.
Jones recalled that interview process, and he isn’t the least bit surprised to see Bowles having success in his first season at the helm with the New York Jets, who face the Cowboys on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
“I think so highly of Todd, he really did an outstanding job while he was here [as the Cowboys’ secondary coach from 2005-07],” Jones said during a radio interview Tuesday on KRLD/105.3 FM The Fan.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all he’s having success, and I expect success from him. He’s that hard a worker.”
Bowles has found a formula for success early on in New York. The Jets have the fifth-best defense in the league, and the ninth-best offense. If the season ended today, they’d be the final AFC wild-card team in the playoffs.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Bowles.
The Jets started off strong, going 4-1 with double-digit victories over the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. Then, however, they lost four of their next five.
Bowles and the Jets have gotten it back on track, though, with three consecutive wins. They are coming off a 30-8 victory over the Tennessee Titans and appear to be ready to make a run down the stretch.
But Bowles isn’t looking that far ahead.
“Just keep doing what we’re doing and getting better … and try to win out in December,” Bowles said on a conference call Monday. “We’re not going to worry about what happens at the end. If we take it one game at a time, we’ll be OK.”
Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been playing well of late and has seemed to find his groove over the team’s three-game winning streak. He has thrown nine touchdowns and no interceptions over that stretch and has posted a passer rating of 111.5.
For the season, Fitzpatrick has thrown a career-high 25 touchdown passes and is five shy of breaking the Jets’ franchise record for most in a season — Vinny Testaverde had 29 in 1998.
The beneficiaries of Fitzpatrick’s solid play have been the receiving corps. Brandon Marshall has passed the 1,000-yard receiving mark, and Eric Decker is 125 yards away from joining him.
That would be the first 1,000-yard receiving pair the Jets have had since 1998, when Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet accomplished the feat.
Jets running back Chris Ivory, who is from Longview, is 86 yards shy of posting his first 1,000-yard rushing season. He is coming off his third 100-yard rushing game of the season, gaining 101 yards on 22 carries against Tennessee last week.
The Jets have the top-ranked run defense in the league, holding opponents to 78.9 yards on the ground. The Cowboys have the 11th-best rushing attack, averaging 118.2 yards a game.
The Jets are tied for fourth in takeaways with 24 this season. Their offense, meanwhile, has given the ball away 19 times.
Did you know?
▪ The last time the Cowboys and Jets faced each other was on Sept. 11, 2011, in New York, the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Jets won that game 27-24.
▪ As far as the last meeting in Texas, it happened to be on Thanksgiving in 2007 when the Cowboys rolled to a 34-3 victory. That game took place at Texas Stadium, which means the Jets will be visiting AT&T Stadium for the first time Saturday.