FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Don't look now but the New York Jets are 2-0 and have a very winnable game if they show-up and perform this Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.
For Jets head coach Todd Bowles, it is an intriguing game. He was the Eagles defensive coordinator in 2012 and he played his college football at Temple in the city. When Andy Reid was fired as head coach following the 2012 season, Bowles wasn't seriously considered for the job even though he was well-respected and had been the interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins the year before.
"It was probably one of the biggest learning experiences I went through from a leadership standpoint. Watching coach Reid stand up there and address the team every day with the tragedy that happened to him and the way the team was going, and not bat an eye, just made everything status quo and go on as usual showed true leadership," Bowles said this week.
"It was all about the team. He never made it about himself. From coach Reid in that standpoint, I learned a great deal. The way their organization handles everything with Mr.[Jeff] Lurie and Howie Roseman, that taught me a great deal about respect, about leadership and about humility."
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Now on Sunday, Bowles will have the chance to show the organization that had employed him the mistake they made in not considering him. He has the Jets off to a hot start and with the top defense in the league, there is already a sense of optimism surrounding this team.
Three Things to Watch from the Jets in Week 3:
1. The Pass Rush – Even without Sheldon Richardson, suspended by the league for the first four games, the Jets are still doing a good job of pressuring the quarterback. They have just four quarterback sacks to start the year, a very average number, but they're among the best in the league in completion percentage allowed (56.5 percent) and their 10 turnovers this year are largely due to the pressure they're creating. The Eagles have done a decent job of protecting their quarterback but he has already thrown four interceptions for an offense that has been disappointing to say the least.
If the Jets can generate a good blitz on Sunday, they could create more turnovers against an offense that has the potential to be very good, even when beat-up.
2.Fitzpatrick Works Underneath – Don't expect the Jets to change their philosophy on offense just because they're 2-0. This is a team that will run the football and take what is open underneath, systematically marching down the field, perfectly content to eat up the clock and move the chains.
This isn't the game to change that formula or try getting the ball down the field. The Eagles still have an up-tempo offense and the Jets generating some long drives is important to keep their defense off the field. They also can wear down an Eagles defense that is thin in terms of depth. If the Jets can open some holes, this could be a game where they can wear down their opponent.
But the Jets do need to start off stronger, having just one touchdown in the opening quarter as they head into Week 3.
3. Wide Receiver Depth – With Eric Decker possibly out and Chris Owusu definitely missing this game, it will be time for Devin Smith to step-up and Jeremy Kerley to get a chance to shine. Smith, injured in training camp, has yet to make his NFL debut but boasts big-play potential. And then there is the curious case of Kerley, a star for the team the past two years who is barely playing and doesn't have a catch yet this season.