Sometimes changing head coaches can be just what a franchise needs to turn things around. After four disappointing seasons with Todd Bowles, the New York Jets thought bringing in Adam Gase would help the team move in the right direction. Through the first eight games of the season, that hasn’t been the case.
While the postseason might be a lost cause for Gang Green, there’s still plenty of football to be played. Gase can salvage this season, but only he does one specific thing.
Adam Gase, the quarterback whisperer
Adam Gase’s coaching career began in 2000 when he served as a graduate assistant on the LSU staff. He spent another year in Louisiana as a recruiting assistant, before moving onto the NFL; his first pro job came in 2003 as a scouting assistant for the Detroit Lions.
Gase would work his way up the Lions’ ladder, eventually serving as quarterbacks coach, before leaving for San Francisco. He spent one season in the Bay Area before relocating to Denver and then Chicago. In 2016, Gase finally got his chance to run his own team, taking over as head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
While he led the Dolphins to a playoff appearance in his first season, Gase’s time in Florida quickly went south. He was fired after three seasons on the job; the New York Jets snapped him up less than two weeks later. Despite his limited coaching record, Gase had developed a reputation as a “quarterback whisperer” from his time with Peyton Manning, Jay Cutler, and Ryan Tannehill; he seemed like the perfect partner for a developing Sam Darnold.
The New York Jets 2019 struggles
On paper, the Jets seemed to be in a decent place at the start of the season. The Adam Gase-Sam Darnold partnership was new and exciting, and the addition of Le’Veon Bell looked like the perfect way to take some of the stress off a young quarterback’s plate. Once the first game began, however, things took a turn for the worst.
The Jets dropped their opening game and, shortly after, Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis. He missed the next three games but returned with a bang, leading the Jets to an emphatic win over the Dallas Cowboys. Since then, however, the team has come back to earth. Darnold infamously struggled and saw “ghosts” against the New England Patriots; the Jets lost that game, followed by meetings with the Jaguars and Dolphins, falling to 1-7.
While Darnold was supposed to take a step forward this season, that progress hasn’t materialized. While an unexpected illness is obviously disruptive, the quarterback is on pace to regress in almost every statistical category.
How Gase can salvage the New York Jets season
While it might not come as a surprise, the New York Jets aren’t going anywhere fast. At this point, they have to be looking towards the future; that means making sure Sam Darnold follows a proper developmental track.
Adam Gase came to New York as the man who was supposed to build Darnold up, but things haven’t gone according to plan. The offensive line is weak, the formations are predictable, and the team is gaining a historically small amount of yards per game.
As the head coach, Gase needs to do whatever he can to help Darnold feel comfortable. Whether that means keeping extra players in the backfield to block, calling quick passes to avoid the opposition pass rush, or giving the quarterback a little more freedom to adjust to what he’s seeing, that needs to take priority. The Jets are already 1-7; even if you keep losing this season, those losses need to help in the long run.
The Jets are reportedly willing to give Adam Gase some time to get things trending in the right direction. He can do that by doing whatever it takes to help Sam Darnold feel comfortable and confident under center.