It's Time for the Jets to Tank For Trevor - But Not at the Expense of Gase and Darnold


After yet another team brutalized the Jets Sunday - granted, the 49ers are defending NFC champs, but they've become a walking triage and whipped Gang Green with a skeleton crew - you have every right to wonder when to blow this thing up. Again.

One hallmark of great teams is stability, as we see from the Steelers and the Patriots now, and saw in the old days of the Cowboys, Raiders, and Dolphins. But there's usually a bonding force between coach and QB or GM and owner, or some amalgam of all the pillars of an NFL club.

The Jets have none of that. And if you're looking for a reason to jam the eject button on Adam Gase, and perhaps even Sam Darnold, they are on the scoreboard every Sunday. They're also evident by the backbiting and infighting that goes on during the week, and the whole fiasco that moved the Jets to boot their lone perennial Pro Bowl player and future Hall of Famer - Jamal Adams - who is now maniacally good in Seattle instead of here.

So now that you have reasons, you may look for precedent. Since we just said great organizations are stable, it's hard to win with the conga line of coaches that have whisked through the Jets' facilities this young century, almost all of whom were given at least four years to work their wizardry (except for Eric Mangini, who was bounced after three years).

But of the slew of 2-0 teams there's one that was in a very similar position to the Jets two years ago: the Arizona Cardinals, who hired Steve Wilks and drafted Josh Rosen with the tenth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. That year, though, they plunged to a 3-13 record, and found that Rosen (who went 3-10 as a rookie) was too brittle to handle the tractor-trailer collisions of pro football, and not mobile enough to avoid them.

So they fired Wilks after one year, hired Kliff Kingsbury, and drafted Kyler Murray with the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Suddenly, the Cards were interesting again. They finished the season 5-10-1, but barely lost at Baltimore in September, and went into Seattle in December, a game that meant everything to the Seahawks, and whipped them, 27-13. And you could tell from his first snap that Murray was going to be a problem for NFL defenses.

Now Arizona is 2-0, which includes a win over the Washington Football Team and a win, on the road, against the 49ers, a team that was good enough at half-strength to mutilate the Jets at the Meadowlands.

For those who say Darnold is no Rosen, you are correct. But, many potentially good quarterbacks in NFL history have been irrevocably damaged by the awful franchises for which they play – see also pretty much any Browns quarterback, or David Carr, or Matt Leinart, or…you get the point.

That may be the case with Darnold, so you can kill two gridiron birds with one NFL stone by jamming the eject button on Gase, for sure, and perhaps Darnold at the end of this season, which should end with a rancid 3-13 or 2-14 record. Then, the clear move is to draft Trevor Lawrence, the absurdly gifted Clemson quarterback who some call the best prospect since Andrew Luck, if not since John Elway.

And if you're arguing that Joe Douglas hasn't been given enough time to build the Jets in his image, then keep him. Steve Keim survived the bloodletting in Arizona and has been with the Cardinals for over 20 years, and the GM for the last eight of them. Do you feel like the Jets, with their second-year coach and third-year QB, are on the same arc as the Cardinals, with their second-year coach and sophomore QB? It's not even close.

In a less exact analogy, the 49ers went through this after Jim Harbaugh fled for alma mater Michigan. They quickly ran his replacement, Jim Tomsula, out of town, then did the same after one season under Chip Kelly. Then they found their GM, coach, and QB, and reached the Super Bowl in the third year under the triumvirate of John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan, and Jimmy Garoppolo. Say what you will about Jimmy G, but he's 20-6 as QB of the Niners and just lost a Super Bowl the team was leading in the fourth quarter.

Firing Gase now accomplishes nothing. Neither does benching Darnold. The moves would be cosmetic, as they have no one to replace them. Plus, Jets fans need Gase and his unwarranted arrogance and blind belief in his system to ensure the Jets lose the rest of their games - and in the process put the final touches of PTSD on Darnold.

Either way, this has to stop. And while you're not allowed to watch the Jets in person - why would you, anyway? - you can ring the bell, paint the signs, and start the chant: Tank for Trevor.

Follow Jason Keidel on Twitter: @JasonKeidel