The New York Jets head into their bye week at 0-3, with three conference and two divisional losses under their belt. In a vacuum, their record is somewhat understandable considering their quarterback situation and the absence of CJ Mosley but 0-3 does not tell the whole story of their nightmarish start. The Jets have excuses to be bad this year but handing out a blank hall pass to the organization because of a handful of injuries is not the answer to turning around arguably the worst stretch in franchise history (14-37 in their past 51 games, 51-80 since 2010 and heading towards nine straight years of no playoffs).
It was only six months ago that Mike Maccagnan had a sizable portion of the Jets fanbase believing he was a competent GM who deserved another few years. As someone who lived on the other side of that opinion for a prolonged period of time, it was baffling but finally the overwhelming majority of the fan base has come to admit and accept just how bad he was. Ironically his first ever draft pick, Leonard Williams, is seeing a similar thing occur with opinions around his play. Does anybody really think the Jets should invest a massive second contract in him at this point? Maccagnan’s “legacy” has also taken a further hit with the release of Jachai Polite, the absence of Blessaun Austin and the quietness of Chuma Edoga and Trevon Wesco, while other teams have mid round picks making an immediate impact.
It is important to remember the last major decision Maccagnan made was hiring Adam Gase to be his Head Coach. He was ultimately backstabbed out of his job by Gase, who if nothing else, helped close the door on a front office equally as awful as the final Tannenbaum and Idzik’s years with less press around it. Yet, if you were wary of Maccagnan’s decision making, why do you trust he made the right call on the current coaching staff?
There is a 0-3 or 1-2 record the Jets could have right now where it would be much easier to defend Gase’s performance. It involves them not blowing a 16-0 second half lead at home in week 1. It involves Gase’s handpicked backup quarterback not having negative fourteen yards of offense in his first five drives after working with the starting offense all week. It involves not laying down from the opening whistle in New England despite being required to play another one of his handpicked backup quarterbacks. It involves seeing flashes of innovation, aggressiveness and an understanding of what did not work in Miami.
It hasn’t happened yet. Nobody is here to say Gase has had optimal situations but at the end of the day when you are marketed as a quarterback whisperer and offensive guru, there needs to be some type of results, regardless of the situation. This is a results orientated league and Gase has lost his last six games as a NFL Head Coach and his offense has scored a grand total of three touchdowns in those six games. There is no excuse for *that* level of output. 23-29 is 23-29 and it is not a small sample size.
We don’t know when Sam Darnold is going to come back. It seems like there is a pragmatic chance it is against Philadelphia after the bye week and if not then, shortly after. The Jets have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the NFL. The burden of proof is now on Gase and the rest of this coaching staff. They cannot coach like they have a hall pass in 2019. This organization and this fanbase cannot accept this as a hall pass season either. Darnold’s development and the years on his rookie contract are too critical. Forget about stressing over changing systems too much. Stress about being in a bad system for too long. As it stands now, Gase has a bad system until he proves otherwise.
This season is not a lost cause yet. It has felt that way for 9 quarters but we have not hit that point yet. The Jets need to find a way to win one of their next three games, as a heavy underdog. They need to string together a winning streak or two in the “soft” part of their schedule (although it isn’t quite as soft as many are presuming). They need to find a pulse at some point before we hit November and do worthwhile, innovative things on offense in a league curated to score points. Nobody cares what you do if you start 0-7. Nobody cares if you beat Miami, who is trying to lose, 17-13. Go score 30 or 40 points in a game. Go find an upset or two on your schedule.
Points matter. Yards matter. Yards per attempt matter. They matter more than completion percentage and avoiding turnovers. Gase isn’t doing his job if Darnold is going 25/30 for 190 yards with 1 TD and 0 turnovers. He is doing his job if he is going 27/40 for 335 yards with 3 TDs (and he can have a turnover or two if that happens!).
This coaching staff has one and done written all over it if they can’t sniff .500 this year and the clock is ticking…