All Todd Bowles wants are reliable football players.
And it’s clear Dee Milliner and Jace Amaro didn’t fit what the Jets are trying to build.
“We’ve got to go with healthy guys that can play football,” the head coach said Monday.
Milliner and Amaro — two of the most disappointing Jets’ draft picks in recent years — were released on Saturday as the organization slashed its roster down to 53 players. But while the cuts spoke volumes of the previous regime’s drafting strategy, Bowles insisted that the players’ ties to former general manager John Idzik didn’t seal their fate.
“You don’t get rid of players because a new regime comes in,” he said. “You get rid of players because you don’t think they fit your system or things like that. I’ll take a bunch of Rex’s players, I’ll take Herm’s player. Hell, if Bill [Parcells] had players left, I’d take Bill’s players.
“You play football players,” Bowles added. “You watch them, what fits your scheme and what fits what you want to do and you keep the guys that fit. And the guys that don’t, if they can play, we try to find a spot on this team. If not, they might be good for somebody else’s team. It may not be a fit, that doesn’t mean they can’t play.”
Bowles — a very good-but-not-great NFL safety during his day — appears to care less about draft position that many head coaches. Over his eight-year career, he prided himself on always being available and outworking the flashier, bigger-name guys. And now as a head coach, he seeks out players who share those same qualities.
“You can see it’s a new staff, a new program,” said safety Rontez Miles, who was waived this time last year, signed to the practice squad a day later, and then added to the 53-man roster in November. “They’re making it into their team.”
For all of their presumed talent, neither Milliner — the oft-injured cornerback taken ninth overall in 2013 — nor Amaro — the 2014 second-round selection who missed all of last season with a torn labrum — could stay on the field for long. “The other guys were healthier,” Bowles said, when asked about their decision to waive Milliner, 24, with an injury designation (After going unclaimed, he reverted back to their injured reserve list). “He got a chance to play and gave up some plays. And he was banged up quite a bit. We’ve got to go with healthy guys that can play football.”
And Amaro? “He’s another one that kept getting banged up,” he said of the 6-5 tight end, who was claimed by the Titans. “We had two tight ends blocking there and we needed a third that would be reliable and [we could] count on. Maybe he didn’t get enough time to heal. Maybe he did. But that was our decision to go in another direction.”
The Jets, who added waiver-claims Braedon Bowman and Brian Parker on Sunday, now have four tight ends on the roster, including Kellen Davis and Brandon Bostick. But when asked if they’ll keep all of them past Week 1, Bowles said: “Probably not.”