We’ve all heard the rumblings, the persistent negative chatter surrounding dead-to-rights Adam Gase, whose standing atop the Jets’ chain of command has never been more tenuous. Sunday’s thumping at the hands of Indianapolis, which pushed Gang Green’s point differential to a league-worst -57, has Gase hanging by a thread. But even with the chips down, quarterback Sam Darnold’s loyalty has never wavered.
“We’ve been put in great positions to go out there and succeed, to go out there and make plays and execute a game plan that’s put together perfectly for us,” said Darnold, now in his third year as New York’s signal-caller. “I truly believe this and the guys in the locker room feel the same way.”
“I believe in Adam,” said newcomer Greg Van Roten, echoing the sentiment shared by Darnold. “I’m excited to play for him.”
That makes at least two believers in Gase. After letting Robby Anderson walk in free agency (now thriving under Matt Rhule in Carolina) and trading disgruntled All-Pro Jamal Adams this summer, 2020 was never going to be New York’s year. An 0-3 record was always within the realm of possibility for this talent-starved group, but rather than make lemonade out of lemons the Jets have somehow plunged further into the depths of mediocrity, not showing an ounce of fight in ugly losses to the Bills, Niners and Colts.
Hailed as a “quarterback whisperer” for his earlier work with Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler in Denver and Chicago respectively, Gase’s presence has done little to advance the career of Darnold, a toolsy but frustratingly inconsistent 23-year-old who is running out of time to establish himself as a franchise quarterback. Ryan Tannehill’s career resurgence with the Titans after bottoming out under Gase in Miami is another damning indictment.
Known for his abrasive demeanor (he and Le’Veon Bell have been at odds seemingly since the day he arrived in the Big Apple), most Jets fans would agree it’s time to put Gase out to pasture. But Van Roten, who experienced a similar situation with the Panthers last year—Ron Rivera was fired 12 games into 2019—thinks a midseason coaching change might do more harm than good.
“To the fans that are calling for his head, I never really understood that,” Van Roten told Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post. “I was on a team last year, we fired our coach and it’s not like we started winning games. You go further in the tank. So, I’m not really sure what that solves.”
To illustrate just how bleak things have gotten for the hapless Jets, consider that their next opponent, the winless Broncos, have been anointed as three-point road favorites. A loss to Jeff Driskel—or Brett Rypien, who spelled Driskel late in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay—on Thursday night could prove to be the final nail in Gase’s New York coffin.