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Jets ponder tale of two coaches

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FLORHAM PARK, N.Y. — The New York Jets moved into the same position under rookie head coach Todd Bowles Monday night as they were exactly six years earlier under then-rookie head coach Rex Ryan.

But that’s where the similarities between the two seasons, and the two coaches, end.

Bowles was his usual all-business self after a 20-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, when the Jets moved to 2-0 for the first time since 2011 and the 11th time ever.

The Jets will look to open 3-0 for just the fifth time in team history on Sunday, when they host the Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) at MetLife Stadium.

“It’s a good win,” Bowles said Monday night. “But it’s only win No. 2. We’re not where we want to be. But we’re on the way. The trick is to win while you’re doing it. And we were fortunate enough to win two games.”

Contrast that to Ryan’s reaction on Sept. 21, 2009, when the Jets, fresh off a week filled with trash talk, improved to 2-0 by upsetting the New England Patriots 16-7 at the Meadowlands.

“We believe that we are the better team today,” Ryan said.

“The big deal is, we’re a football team that should be respected. Sometimes we talk a little bit, but only because we have confidence in our football team.”

It’s only two games, of course, and there’s more than one way to preside over a football team. So time will tell if Bowles’ understated approach will match or exceed the results the rambunctious Ryan achieved.

The Jets ended up reaching the AFC Championship Games in each of Ryan’s first two seasons, but missed the playoffs in his last four years at the helm.

Despite that initial success against the Patriots, Ryan and the Jets never came close to dethroning Bill Belichick and Co.

The Patriots won the AFC East in each of Ryan’s six seasons with the Jets, qualified for the conference title game four times, reached two Super Bowls and finally won the franchise’s fourth championship in February.

In an interesting bit of coincidence, Bowles and the Jets moved to 2-0 the same week Ryan and his new team, the Buffalo Bills, chirped all week before falling to 1-1 with a 40-32 loss to the Patriots.

Ryan is 4-10 against the Patriots as a head coach.

Bowles won’t get a chance to match wits with Belichick until Oct. 25. The week leading up to that game should be a battle to see which man can say the least.

“We’ve been working hard and we’ve been grinding and as the team comes together, like I said it’s a process to get to where we want to be,” Bowles said Tuesday. “We’re not there yet. But we’re making great strides and nobody is going to be good coming right off the top.

“We’re just going to keep building and keep going. That’s what we’re doing.”

As restrained as Bowles is, he said he has no problem allowing players to enjoy a 2-0 start – albeit with his typical note of caution.

“You don’t temper enthusiasm,” Bowles said. “They know how long of a season is. This just tells us we can be 2-14 right now. They understand that too. But I’m not going to temper them from being excited.”


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