Part 12 in a series analyzing the New York Jets
Adam Gase’s first year with the Jets was a strange one. It began with a bizarre press conference, included the general manager who hired him getting fired and then a 1-7 start to the season followed by a 6-2 finish.
Along the way, Gase became very unpopular with fans, but he is back for a second season with plenty of pressure on him.
Gase is much more popular inside the Jets organization than he is with the fan base, so CEO Christopher Johnson is going to have patience with Gase. Still, there is pressure to contend for the playoffs after a nine-year drought and pressure on him to get more out of third-year quarterback Sam Darnold.
An objective evaluation of Gase’s first season needs to be divided into two parts. As a head coach, Gase did a good job of holding together a team that could have frayed at 1-7 and guided it to a 7-9 finish. Teams don’t go 6-2 in the second half of the season if the coach has lost the locker room. Gase never did.
Gase also energized the organization last year and was integral in the hiring of Joe Douglas as general manager. If Douglas gets the Jets on the right track, Gase deserves some credit.
The second half of the evaluation of Gase is as an offensive coordinator. This is where Gase had the most issues. The Jets finished last or near last in most offensive categories. Injuries were part of the equation, but Gase needs to find ways to get his offense rolling in 2020. A major reason Gase was hired in 2019 was because of his offensive acumen. There were games last year when he had no answers.
Douglas spoke positively of Gase after the season.
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“You guys have been around a long time. You know not many 1-7 teams finish 6-2 down the stretch,” Douglas said. “I can’t speak to how great a job Adam and his staff did, and I really think that Sam and Adam formed a really strong relationship of open and honest conversation and I think you saw that kind of blossom through the end of the year.”
Douglas also praised Gase as a leader.
“I think Adam brings energy,” Douglas said. “I think Adam is authentic and open and honest with guys and I think he does a fantastic job of just leading the team as far as setting expectations, setting goals and then demanding the team to meet those expectations.”
Gase put together a strong coaching staff that remains nearly intact entering this season. That should benefit the Jets during this time when they are only working virtually. The coaches know each other and know what is expected. Teams with new coaching staffs will have a bigger challenge.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams did a great job in Year 1 with the Jets. There were plenty of injuries at cornerback and linebacker for Williams to deal with, but he found a way to not let the play of his defense slip despite going deep onto his bench for starters.
There will be some additional pressure on offensive line coach Frank Pollack this year. The Jets have been aggressive about upgrading the line in free agency and in the draft, taking tackle Mekhi Becton with the No. 11 overall pick. If the line struggles again, Pollack will be blamed.
It would be too much to say the Jets coaches are on the hot seat. They did go 7-9 last year, not 3-13. However, there is going to be zero patience from the fans if the Jets get off to a slow start and pressure on Johnson to make a move. Will he be able to stay patient? That remains to be seen.