The owner backed his embattled head coach days after the 2019 Jets hit rock bottom at Hard Rock Stadium, the general manager backed him on Monday, and the next single most important man in the disinfected Atlantic Health Jets Training Center stuck a dagger on Tuesday in the hearts of those Jets fans who do not believe Adam Gase is the right leader for their team.
“He’s the right leader for this team for sure,” Sam Darnold said. “For me personally, he’s helped me grow a ton as a quarterback in learning this offense. Throughout the weeks, leading up to games, he does everything that he possibly can to put us in the best position to win on Sundays.”
It sounds as if Gase might have a better chance to be a Jet For Life than Jamal Adams ever did.
But at some point, even as 2020 has the look of a rebuilding season, no matter how much Gase talks up the locker-room chemistry with players who want to be Jets, he will have to show that he can do more than put Darnold & Co. in the best position to win on Sundays.
Such as winning meaningful games, such as never losing to a previously winless team, which he did twice a year ago.
Gase has no playoff mandate, which is mind-blowing for a franchise that has missed the playoffs for nine consecutive years, never mind 52 seasons removed from Super Bowl III.
But at the very least, expectations should be that Gase provide unmistakable evidence that the arrow is pointing up by the end of the season, for however long it lasts.
It shouldn’t be too much to ask.
Gase was hired to take Darnold to the next level.
It’s Year 3 for Darnold.
If Gase gets him to the next level, he’ll be a virtual lock to get to Year 3 himself … if he isn’t already.
Darnold hopefully will continue dapping elbows in the building and avoid testing positive for the virus and presumably he won’t be missing three games with mono this season.
“I think he’s always done a good job of making sure that he’s not just focused on one side of the ball, there’s a lot of good communication that goes on between him and defensive players as well,” Darnold said.
Ah yes. While it is true that Darnold is an extension of his head coach, and while it is true Gregg Williams was the erstwhile HC of the defense last season, it behooves Gase to be the HC of the entire team more than he was in his rookie Jets season, and let’s move on from whether he addressed the troops at halftime or how often he did in 2019.
Joe Judge is the CEO the Giants have been looking for post-Tom Coughlin.
Especially now, with absolutely no margin for error as the NFL dreams its Improbable Dream during this pandemic, the Jets will need Gase to be their CEO. While it will be critical that his testosterone-fueled players police themselves and resist all temptation away from the facility, while he has implicit trust in a number of his leaders, Gase has a responsibility to remind them of the protocols, continue to educate them and get universal buy-in. Gase needs to be the effective communicator he didn’t seem to be enough last season.
“I think the thing that’s really important for us, and this is something we’ll really emphasize with our players is asking questions — if there’s something that’s anybody’s concerned about, if there’s something that anyone isn’t sure about, is not being afraid to ask questions,” Gase said. “I don’t think there’s 100 percent answers to anything right now. We’re going through this and trying to find the best way to put our players in the best position possible and keep everybody healthy. There’s no handbook for this situation.”
Gase, like every other head coach, must plot a quarterback quarantine policy.
“We do have to figure out what’s the best thing for us to do to make sure if something happened that we’d have a really good answer for it,” he said.
What will help Gase is having Frank Gore as a locker-room lieutenant who can keep a highly motivated and prideful Le’Veon Bell fresh behind an upgraded offensive line. With Bell shedding the rust of his 2018 self-exile, Gase has to better figure out how to use him.
“We spent a lot of time this offseason studying and making sure we can find different ways to get him the ball whether it be in the passing game or in the run game,” Gase said.
There are seven head coaches who had to shepherd new teams through this virtual offseason. Gase was not one of them. He was hired in part because he had previous head coaching experience.
Gase gets credit for keeping the team together over the second half of the season. Whoopee! That isn’t why he was hired. A 7-9 record isn’t why he was hired.
He is lucky that he has his owner, his GM and his young franchise quarterback telling us he is the right leader for the Jets.
Better Adam Gase show us why he is the right leader for the Jets.
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