football

Can Gase Put All The Pieces Together?

By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com

Ex-Jet Jamal Adams reaffirmed Friday what probably at least half of the Jets’ fans have felt about head coach Adam Gase –They don’t like him.

East Rutherford, N.J. Sunday, November 24, 2019. NY Jets vs. Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium. Adam Gase and Sam Darnold confer on play selection. David Pokress The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

Even though he wanted to further push his trade demands at the time, Adams recently said in a piece in the New York Daily News about Gase that “I don’t feel like he’s the right leader for this organization to reach the Promised Land. As a leader, what really bothers me is that he doesn’t have a relationship with everybody in the building.”

Adams doesn’t have to worry about it anymore in Seattle.

Beginning Tuesday with the start of camp, a good chunk of Jets’ fans and critics will.

Looking at the big picture, you can find as many minuses and plusses with the 42-year-old who began his career as an assistant in 2005.

Since he was hired in January 2019, Gase has been a lightning rod. He brought a 23-25 career record from a three –year stint in Miami, where his offense struggled to score above 20 points per game, and he reportedly had a reputation about getting along with star players (See Adams).

The public outcry then was for former Packers’ head coach and current Cowboys’ leader Mike McCarthy, whose staffing issues supposedly broke the ties, and also for former Baylor whiz Matt Rhule, who later landed in Carolina.

Jets CEO Chris Johnson wanted an offensive mind and chose Gase as the third option, believing he had found the “quarterback whisperer” for next franchise holder Sam Darnold.

In Gase’s defense, he didn’t have Darnold for the full season last year in both body and mind. Give him a full season  — we hope – to work with Darnold to see some results. There can be enough weapons and a re-bolstered offensive line will help.

Still, Gase’s team didn’t look totally prepared with Darnold in losses to Miami and Cincinnati last year, as the Jets gained the distinction of losing to two winless teams in a season. In too many games last season, the Jets either came firing on all cylinders offensively and then puzzling peeled it back or vice versa.

There also is the seemingly discordant relationship with lead running back Le’Vean Bell (See Adams), who doesn’t appear to be major part of Gase’s pass-first, multi-back offense.

Bell’s four-year, $52-million signing by former GM Mike Macaggnan didn’t fall into favor with Gase, who consequently helped orchestrated his eventual demise. Gase was instrumental in the hiring of old friend GM Joe Douglas, who has played the part well.

Again, in a pitch for Gase, there is a growing feeling that Bell’s better days as a three-time, All-Pro may be behind him. The 28-year-old spent the offseason rejuvenating his body and spirit for a big season ahead, and it will be a crossroads campaign ahead.

If they aren’t, Gase will have to adjust to accommodate the Jets first capable game-changing back since Curtis Martin.  

Gase does have the benefit of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, whose multiple aggressive schemes piecemealed a defense and prodded it to achieve its capacity.  

Along with Williams, Gase need to build on the late season momentum of a 6-2 second-half finish last year that raised his stock, but elevated expectations in the process.

This already will be viewed as a make-or break year for him.

 He has a young quarterback who is expected to make his franchise tag stick a little tighter, a running back who is expected to regain his form and a new presence in the offense, and a defensive coordinator who has more tools to design one of the league’s expected best units.

If all stays on track, Gase will have to show he has the map to the Promised Land.

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