Every week, rock bottom gets a little bit lower. With each passing game, you can hear the collective scream from every Jets fan to the football Gods, wondering when it will come to an end. Every media outlet (or at least outlets that aren’t in the hip pocket of Adam Gase) are seeing what fans see – a lame duck coach who duped a rookie owner into thinking he’s something he’s not – and subsequently turned a promising organization into a laughingstock in an instant. Most fans have relegated themselves to the understanding that, despite what we believe in Sam Darnold, the right play is to be as bad as you possibly can to secure that #1 overall draft pick, take Trevor Lawrence and make this a destination spot for your future Head Coach. However, Jets fans also have to balance that with watching 60 minutes of something that barely resembles football each Sunday as their team struggles to score a touchdown… let me tell you, it’s not an easy position.
While the majority of the sports world knows what needs to happen to begin to right this ship, I am going to try to shed some light on the rumor mill around the Jets’ fearless leader, Adam Gase, and what could be in store for him.Public Enemy #1
There is a growing sentiment that Joe Douglas and Christopher Johnson recognize that this season is in the tank and it is in their best interest to continue down this path. So, keeping Adam Gase serves two purposes: 1. It keeps the tank in full effect and, 2. It keeps Gase as their shield and deflects all negative attention away from them. This keeps the focus off of Douglas’ miscues (namely at wide receiver and interior offensive line) and Johnson’s terrible decision to hire Gase in the first place, and allows the Jets a direct line to the first overall draft pick while shining little light on any of their missteps.
Bye Bye Bye WeekThe Jets are 0-6 and have lost by a combined 110 points. For those of you keeping score at home, that is an average of 18.3 points per game… yikes! It seems as though any chance of Gase turning this around and keeping the locker room together becomes more of a farce by the hour, and with the unavoidable 3 losses staring this team down over the next three weeks, that puts the bye week in play for a mass exodus. If you listened to TOJ’s very own Badlands podcast this week with Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork, he, Joe Caporoso and Connor Rogers detail this very real possibility. Pauline suggests that Gase has clearly lost the locker room – cemented by the moves to cut Le’Veon Bell and trade Steve McLendon. A firing at the bye week would afford the front office the opportunity to evaluate it’s young talent over the final 7 weeks of the year… something that Gase seems adamantly against given Frank Gore’s workload over the first 6 games.
This theory suggests that if not Gase to lead this team, then who? The reason behind not making a change at Head Coach is the lack of an option to fill the spot. If that is your argument, then this is more of an indictment on this coaching staff than any on field product could ever be. This team has clearly hit rock bottom, and if you think that rock bottom can get deeper by Dennard Wilson as interim HC or Jim Bob Cooter calling plays, then the Johnson’s know less about football than Jets fans feared.
The Quarterback Whisperer
Ahh yes, the Jets can’t fire Gase because it would be a hindrance to Darnold and would alter the evaluation process of him. If you believe this, then I have a bridge to sell you. Give. Me. A. Break. Anyone with eyes can see that Darnold has clearly regressed from 2019 and from his rookie year. I would argue that not removing him from Gase’s tutelage is a hindrance to his development. Not to mention, allowing his favorite receiver to walk in free agency over pennies, turning his tight end into a ghost in the offensive gameplan, and cutting his future hall of fame and notable receiving threat running back after 5 games, is also an impediment to Darnold’s development. So please, spare me your BS attempt at a fair evaluation of the young quarterback.
Say It Isn’t So
We have all been Jets fans long enough and have to ask the question: What if he stays into 2021? Now, while 99% of you roll your eyes and call me a conspiracy theorist (and I know how crazy I sound), think about the factors that play into this one. Christopher Johnson is scared to make a move and admit a mistake, and has come out in Gase’s defense numerous times before. And, while I do believe that the relationship between Gase and Douglas is a bit overblown, there are some moves that Douglas has made that suggest that Gase has his ear a little more than any of us would like: Frank Gore, Kalen Ballage, David Fales, and cutting Le’Veon Bell, to name a few. These moves have Gase’s fingerprints all over them. While probably the most outlandish of all the rumors, we still have to judge this by the serious lack of football acumen of these owners and their general unwillingness to move on quickly from a mistake, I think this may be more of a possibility than many want to realize.
The rumor mill will forever circulate around Florham Park, and this franchise has proven to be newsworthy at almost every moment, regardless of their wins and losses. You can make a legitimate case for any of these – I am not saying that they are right – but you can see the reasoning from the perspective of the people making these decisions, regardless of your opinions. It does seem, though, that of the five different scenarios, the most likely is that Gase is gone by the bye week. At that point, barring a miracle, the Jets will be 0-9 and staring down the gauntlet of the last 7 games. They will need to evaluate their young talent and make decisions on whether or not they will be part of the post-2020 Jets.
While most fans stew in a moral conundrum of watching an incompetent football team while rooting for the head coach to be fired while also keeping their line of sight on the first overall pick (did I lose anyone?), I think the fanbase would be collectively satisfied with a bye week exodus for the most brilliant offensive mind this game has ever seen.