The case to fire Adam Gase is growing stronger by the week.
When the Jets hired Adam Gase in 2019, eyebrows (and pitchforks) were raised, torches were lit and Jets fans around the world were left wide-eyed — coincidentally mirroring the eyes of their head coach.
There was plenty of reason for the Jets to think Gase may have been the head coaching answer to lead New York back to the playoffs, but a difficult-to-stomach 7-9 season, followed by two weeks of disgustingly non-competitive football in 2020, have seemingly turned the heat up on Gase’s desk chair in Florham Park. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the Jets are considering a coaching change should New York continue to sputter in the coming weeks.
High-level #Jets’ executives have heard all the Adam Gase criticism and are starting to take notice, per @mortreport. The #Jets have the #Colts today and the #Broncos Thursday Night. A situation to monitor if things continue to look ugly.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 27, 2020
While Gase’s squad’s on-field production (or lack thereof) has been at the forefront, the on-field product is only part of the tumultuous tenure of former Dolphins head coach. Off-field drama, icy relations with New York media and questionable exposés on the Jets head man have all fanned the flames of the dumpster fire in the Big Apple, with the Jets’ 0-2 start this season resulting in Gang Green faithful going as far to start a petition to get Gase out.
While there’s no timeline for Gase’s departure — he’s under contract through the 2021 season — the door could be shown to him sooner than later if he doesn’t get it turned around.
What Christopher Johnson has said about Adam Gase
While Gase has “won” plenty of back pages on New York tabloids, it wasn’t a quote from the coach that has fans particularly infuriated: It’s what came from the mouth of Jets owner Christopher Johnson.
When the Jets infamously hired Gase in January 2019, fans were vocally peeved (to say the least), and the acting Jets owner went on the defensive.
“I’m not trying to win Twitter. I’m trying to win football games,” Johnson said via ESPN. “I think we’re going to win some football games here.”
The Jets did win some football games, finishing the 2019 season on a 6-2 run (7-9 record overall) against inferior competition down the stretch. Still, the strong finish to the season didn’t please fans, who still wanted Gase ousted as HC of the NYJ.
The demands for change from fans were louder than ever following the Jets abysmal Week 1 loss to the Bills. In his annual early season media availability, Johnson took to the media to offer support for his head coach and heap a bit of confusing praise in the process.
“I have full confidence in Adam,” Johnson said on Sept. 18. “I think that he has a lot more in him as a head coach than some of our fans are giving him credit for. And I understand they want to see success. I think that they will. …
“Look, I think he can work with and develop quarterbacks. I do continue to think he’s a brilliant offensive mind especially. He has my every confidence.”
Adam Gase and Le’Veon Bell
Arguably the most confusing storyline that has followed Gase throughout his tenure with the Jets has surrounded the working relationship between him and running back Le’Veon Bell.
Bell was signed prior to the start of the 2019 season, and following the signing, reports broke that Gase personally did not want Bell on the team: not for his talent, but for the price that Bell signed for.
Liked the player, didn’t love the money is how I heard it on Le’Veon Bell. Adam Gase also didn’t love the price tag on CJ Mosley. It all added up. https://t.co/BOZw4b5GwX
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 15, 2019
The first-year marriage woes didn’t end there, though. Bell came down with an illness during the season, and was spotted at a bowling alley when he was ruled out for an upcoming game. Gase wasn’t a fan of that.
“Yeah, I’d say so,” Gase said during a press conference last season. “I’d rather him not be (bowling). I’d rather him be at home, getting better. But that will be a conversation we have.”
While Gase and Bell both reiterated that the relationship between the two is strong, some believe that Gase has been vindictive in his use (or lack of use) of Bell in the offense. The Jets signed 37-year-old Frank Gore during the offseason and also picked La’Mical Perine in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, crowding the backfield where Bell should be the … bell cow.
More drama unfolded prior to the start of the 2020 season, when Gase pulled Bell from practice, citing tightness in Bell’s hamstrings. Bell would counter the report, saying that there was nothing wrong with his hamstrings. The two would meet and hash out miscommunication issues.
Still, a less-than pretty picture between the head coach and one of his star players.
Will the Jets fire Adam Gase?
With Christopher Johnson’s vote of confidence, it didn’t look like Gase was going anywhere, but with Mortensen’s report prior to Week 3 games, that could seemingly change over the coming weeks.
Per reports, Jets execs have heard the “noise” made from Gang Green fans, including scheduled “Fire Gase” protests and petitions calling for the second-year man’s job. Make no mistake, it’s not as cut-and-dry as Twitter takes would have you believe; there’s a lot about the 2020 Jets season that mirrors the 2019 Jets season, and it starts with the injuries and the roster.
The Jets are dealing with injuries to key members of its receiving corps: Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and second-round pick Denzel Mims have all missed time with injuries already this year, while running back Le’Veon Bell has also missed time with a hamstring injury. That’s difficult for any head coach to try and gameplan around.
Even with a rebuilt offensive line that has appeared vastly improved from its 2019 counterpart, the Jets offense has been anemic ranking as one of the worst in the NFL since the start of the 2019 season. Gase hasn’t shown the ability to adapt or get creative with the pieces that he does have on the roster at the moment. For Johnson’s “brilliant offensive mind” label to be proven accurate, then Gase is going to have to do better to think outside the box and provide efficiency despite the injuries.
The Jets have picked up 5+ yards on 13 of 23 first down rush attempts. That’s 56.5%, 2nd-highest in the NFL.
That is the *definition* of a run game that sets up a strong play action game.
Yet, Darnold has run play action on 11/73 dropbacks, 15.1%, 2nd-lowest.
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) September 24, 2020
There’s also the question of Sam Darnold’s progress with the Jets: Darnold improved, albeit slightly, under his first season with Gase in 2019, setting career highs in touchdowns, completion rate and yards while lowering his interceptions. While a lot of what Darnold will be in 2020 is dependent on who is surrounding him rather than who he has at head coach, it seems like a fair amount of Gase’s evaluation will be based on what Darnold does the rest of the season. His head coach hasn’t exactly done him any favors, though.
Still, with the fans as vocal as they are — and Jamal Adams going scorched earth on Gase just a few days before being shipped to Seattle — it’s hard to see Gase continue past the 2020 season as the team’s coach.
If the 0-2 Jets continue to have performances as they did in Week 1 and 2, then the sands will run thin on Gase’s New York stay.