Bowles must do this to help secure his future Dan Leberfeld

East Rutherford – This is a big season for Todd Bowles as a coach.

After leading the Jets to a 5-11 season in 2016, where they were blown out six times, he needed a strong 2017 campaign.

But “strong” doesn’t mean go to the playoffs. What “strong” meant was field a much more competitive team than 2016, a team that plays hard every week and is consistently in games.

That he has accomplished.

He needed a more unified locker room with an improved football culture.

That he has accomplished.

But another thing he needed to do was field a smarter team that is less penalty- and mistaken-prone, and that is a work-in-progress. That he must improve down the stretch if he wants to solidify his Jets future. The Jets made too many critical mistakes in their 35-27 loss to Carolina.

Bowles’ club needs to play smarter football the rest of the season.

Look, I have no idea what Christopher Johnson (pictured above), Ira and company are thinking about Bowles future.

But I do know if they don’t start playing smarter football, he’s not helping his case.