The New York Jets have a problem. And the only solution is for head coach Adam Gase to win.
Thursday’s report in the New York Daily News isn’t the first time that rumors have circulated around the Jets organization claiming a bad culture. Rewind back to 2011 when one superstar famously ripped the locker room as being “toxic” or when, in 2015, an altercation resulted in the team’s starting quarterback getting clocked in the face by a defensive player over money owed.
But Thursday’s report by Manish Mehta, who has a track record of breaking news and insider whispers, will certainly produce reactions on either end of the spectrum. Some ‘Never Gasers’ will embrace the report as proof that the Jets head coach was the wrong hire. There surely are enough people who didn’t like the hire of Gase, his opening press conference or his 1-7 start to the season. This report will only fan the flames of those who believe Gase was never the right coach for the job.
Others will dismiss the report, citing a myriad of reasons. The fact that Gase won six of his final eight games to close out the season and that there was significant progress from quarterback Sam Darnold during that stretch has certainly walked many in Jets nation off the proverbial cliff. Never a popular hire, Gase may not have bought the affections of the fanbase but he certainly has bought himself some time with many fans.
But there is one way to make all this go away. For the Jets to start winning again.
The bar here is pretty low. For an organization that hasn’t seen a championship since Super Bowl III and has had just one winning season since 2010, Gase merely needs to get more wins than losses in the standings. That may not happen this year – most understand that the Jets need to continue their rebuilding process. But it needs to start happening soon. If this thing comes together and works, then the headlines about Gase will change dramatically.
Whatever the genesis of this story, it is clear that the Jets need to repair their relationship with their All-Pro safety, a player who is the biggest star they have on a rather ordinary roster. It wouldn’t hurt if Adams stopped lobbying for a trade or making public comments about wanting to play for the Dallas Cowboys. Healing a rift has to go both ways. Adams could lay low a little bit and let negotiations take place.
There is potential to save this relationship. As of late December near the conclusion of the Jets season, Adams gave a solid endorsement of the direction of the team. Those six wins in the second half of the season gave the Jets a 7-9 record and a bit of upward momentum. At the time, the Jets were in Week 16 and 6-9 but there was a clear sense that they had turned the corner on the season.
Back then, Adams said he wanted to come back and was eager to do so. Now, all of a sudden, the head coach who orchestrated the turnaround of last season is no longer acceptable.
Something changed between Adams and the organization. In all likelihood, the truth will never be fully known. But the longer this thing drags on, the worse it will get.
It’s already pretty bad.
Yet if Gase can continue that positive momentum from last year and show that the rebuilding process is not only underway but proving fruitful, then there won’t be these issues or these kind of stories. Winning covered a multitude of sins when the Jets made consecutive championship game appearances a decade ago.
For Gase, it can silence his critics – those outside the locker room and any inside as well. New stories will be written and headlines won’t be negative.