Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – Adam Gase Year Two Edition

Joe Caporoso with a Turn On The Jets 12 Pack checking in on the negatives and positives of Head Coach Adam Gase…

Welcome back to another edition of the Turn On The Jets 12 Pack. Make sure to subscribe to the TOJ podcast (hit us with a rating!) and subscribe to Badlands!  

A follow up to a 12 pack I wrote last year on six positives and six negatives on Adam Gase’s resume with a look at how the 2019 season evolved (or didn’t evolve) these points, the quoted paragraph is from last year’s article…

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Positive: This is a fascinating, quick read on Gase from our friend Chase Stuart at Football Perspective that I recommend everybody check out. Under Gase, the Dolphins were 20-6 in games decided by 8 points or less (one possession games), an encouraging stat for a Jets team that specifically struggled in those types of games throughout 2017 and 2018, as they only posted a 6-12 record. There is a case to be made Gase can push them over the hump in the fourth quarter in certain matchups in a way that Todd Bowles could not.

2020 Check In: Gase’s success in close games did not change in 2020, as the Jets went 5-2 in games decided by 8 points or less. Their only losses came  to the Buffalo Bills 17-16 and 26-18 to Miami while they beat Dallas, Pittsburgh, New York, Miami and Buffalo’s backups in one possession games. This 5-2 record was not enough to push the Jets over the hump into being a contender.

Negative: On the flip side, Gase is 3-19 in games where the outcome is decided by 8 points or more…basically his team gets blown out a ton and rarely has convincing victories. We saw something similar to this in the final few unsuccessful Rex Ryan years where the team was a roller coaster, squeaking out surprising close wins and then getting completely obliterated the following week. For some recent examples, Miami lost 42-17 in week 17 to Buffalo, 42-23 to Houston in primetime, 38-7 in New England when the division was still competitive and 41-17 in Minnesota while they were still “in the playoff hunt” all during the 2018 season.

2020 Check In: Gase’s track record of regularly getting blown out also did not change in 2020. The Jets were 2-7 in games decided by 8 points or more. Let’s put aside the Luke Falk games…they still lost by double digits to the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars, two of the worst teams in football. They also lost by 21 points to Baltimore and 33 points to New England. Pragmatically, their loss to Miami should also be in this category since they lost by 8 because they hit a garbage time field goal to cut the deficit to 8.

Positive: Gase’s 23-25 record with a one playoff appearance over three years is fairly encouraging when you look at his quarterback situation throughout the 48 games. It was a combination of Ryan Tannehill, Jay Cutler, Matt Moore and Brock Osweiler. The Dolphins managed to stay within the playoff conversation (or make it) into December all three years. Miami had the 18th highest winning percentage in the NFL during his time there, which on the surface is not overly impressive but again, with the above collection of quarterbacks is not terrible either. Gase was 2-4 against New England (2-2 over the past two years), which is certainly more encouraging than Todd Bowles’ 0-6 record against them over the past three years.

2020 Check In: Gase was 0-2 against New England and didn’t score a single offensive touchdown in either game, although to be fair he was saddled with Luke Falk in one of them. He did finish 7-6 wth Sam Darnold as his starting quarterback this year and was again ultimately done in by going 0-3 with his backup quarterbacks. Gase’s 2019 winning percentage (44%) basically matched his career winning percentage (47%).

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Negative: Despite having the 18th highest winning percentage in the NFL during his tenure, Miami had the 29th best point differential, which is troubling and could point to a team worse than their record (or a team overachieving, if you want to look at the glass half full). There is likely to be some regression to the mean on both sides of it, Gase’s record in close game and the volume of times his team is blown out but from point differential and overall DVOA (Miami was 27th in both 2018 and 2017), Miami has been one of the worst teams in the NFL the past two years…basically on par with the Jets, except they have won four more total games, likely because they got to play the Jets. (Thanks Spencer Long!)

2020 Check In: This also held (detecting a trend here?). Despite being 7-9, the Jets were 25th in point differential and 26th in DVOA, meaning Gase’s teams overall DVOA rankings the past three years have been 27th, 27th and 26th. Consistency!

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Positive: The highest passing rating of Ryan Tannehill’s career (93.5) came under Gase in 2016 and the same goes for Jay Cutler in 2015 (92.3). The second highest passing rating of Peyton Manning’s career came under Gase in 2013 (115.1). Gase has a reputation in league circles for being good with quarterbacks, a high priority for the Jets with Sam Darnold in tow, and Manning passed on a positive recommendation for him and Darnold has publicly endorsed the move.

2020 Check In: The highest passing rating of Ryan Tannehill’s career is now 117.5 as he won most improved player in the NFL last season. Sam Darnold rating did improve from 77.6 in his rookie year to 84.3 in his second year, so there was progress…maybe just more incremental than some expected.

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Negative: Yes, the highest passing rating of Tannehill’s career came in 2015 under Gase but is was only 0.5 higher than his previous high without Gase in 2014 (92.8). Tannehill also had very comparable if not slightly better numbers in 2015 without Gase, than he did with Gase in 2016. Ultimately, when Gase inherited Tannehill was an average starter who was overpaid and when Gase left Tannehill three years later he was….an average starter who is overpaid and likely to be replaced. Cutler was over 88 with his passing rating four other times without Gase and putting that metric aside, you could argue his best season or seasons took place without Gase, particularly when it came to throwing touchdowns and attacking down the field. Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning, it is silly to give any other people credit for his success. Everybody who has praised Gase publicly (Manning, Darnold, Alshon Jeffrey, John Fox, Tony Romo) is represented by the same agent (Jimmy Sexton) or agency (CAA), that Adam Gase is.

2020 Check In: As mentioned previously, Tannehill statistically thrived away from Gase last year. Darnold did take a small step forward statistically with him, although his best three game stretch of football still remains from late in his rookie year against Buffalo, Houston and Green Bay (without Gase and with an equally poor supporting cast). The box score may not say that but the game tape does.

Positive: It was a long, long time ago but Gase did impressive work with both Jon Kitna and Tim Tebow (!), maximizing their limited abilities during short stints with Detroit and Denver as the quarterbacks coach. Throughout his career, he has shown an ability to be adaptable to a wide range of different styles of quarterbacks. The Jets are also overdue to have somebody who prioritizes offense and quarterback play as their Head Coach.

2020 Check In: The Jets finished last in total offense and 31st in offensive DVOA. In his very limited action, Trevor Siemian struggled under center and Luke Falk was an unmitigated disaster in his two starts. Most Jets fans would agree Darnold probably played from the pocket too much during his 13 starts.

Negative: Despite being known for his offensive prowess, Miami was 26th in DVOA in 2018 (3 spots ahead of the Jets) and 27th in DVOA in 2017 (2 spots behind the Jets), even during their more successful 2016 campaign, they were only 14th overall. Throughout 2017 and 2018, Miami did not have a 1,000 yard rusher and 1,000 yard receiver. They had both in 2016 (Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry) but both were traded away shortly after due to alleged personality clashes with Gase (a recurring issue he had in Miami with both players and the front office).

2020 Check In: The Jets finished 31st in offensive DVOA, meaning for his 4 year HC career Gase has averaged finishing 25th in offensive DVOA. The Jets did not have a 1,000 yard rusher or 1,000 yard receiver last year, despite having Le’Veon Bell on their roster. Gase was rumored to be unhappy with the Bell signing and the team publicly clashed with Kelechi Osemele and Quincy Enunwa.

Positive: Gase has demonstrated creativity (far more so than Jeremy Bates) when it comes to building route combinations and an offensive scheme. The Jets offense was absent of easy completions for Sam Darnold and Gase will be better at manufacturing them through rub routes, receiver screens and easier releases for his receivers.

2020 Check In: Darnold’s completion percentage climbed 4 percentage points, so Gase did come through on increasing his volume of easy completions (I say this because his YPA was flat). Jamison Crowder was the primary beneficiary of this as he led the team in receptions and targets.

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Negative: Gase is rumored to be eying Dowell Loggains as his Offensive Coordinator (if he doesn’t get hired Miami…please save us Dolphins). Candidly, Loggains is a bad Offensive Coordinator and has been a bad Offensive Coordinator wherever he has been. This would be a “buddy” hire and doesn’t show Gase learning from any of his past mistakes and wanting to be challenged on the offensive side of the football. Yes, Gase would be calling the plays but Loggains would have a voice in the game planning and strategy. If Gase just replicates his offensive staff from Miami, it is just getting the old squad together where everybody knows their place and nobody is going to challenge any of thinking and strategy.

2020 Check In: Gase replicated his offensive staff from Miami and hired Loggains as his Offensive Coordinator. Despite the Jets having the worst offense in the NFL, their entire offensive coaching staff was brought back for 2020.

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Positive: Gase appears to be going outside the box with his Defensive Coordinator hire, leaning towards Gregg Williams who is coming off an impressive stint as the Browns Interim Head Coach. This is going to be a potentially combustible, definitely entertaining situation. Williams has not coordinated a top ten DVOA defense in the past three years and will radically change the style and formations they currently play (which is fine!). This unit needed a kick in the ass in many ways and to be shaken up so taking a big swing here isn’t insane, although it is a low floor, high ceiling move.

2020 Check In: The Williams hiring turned out to be the best decision Gase made as a Head Coach, as the Jets had a top ten defense in DVOA despite losing CJ Mosley and Avery Williamson. The low floor, high ceiling move found the high ceiling.

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Negative: Usually when coaches struggled in their first run at a HC job, they take a few years off from that role so they can assess and learn from their mistakes for their second run…this benefitted guys like Pete Carroll, Bill Belichick and others. When a HC is fired and jumps right to another job, it does not give him time for that reflection period. It didn’t work for Rex Ryan in Buffalo. It didn’t work for Eric Mangini in Cleveland. It didn’t work for Herman Edwards in Kansas City (although he was traded).

2020 Check In: The Jets went 7-9 and had the worst offense in the NFL. They are currently projected by Vegas to win 6.5 or 7 games in 2020.

As for Gase one year later after this check in…

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports