Over the next six weeks or so, we’ll be preparing for the kickoff of the 2020 NFL season on September 10 by attempting to answer the most important question facing all 32 of the league’s franchises in order of finish from worst to first. Today’s team, the Jets. With all eyes on him during his introductory press conference with the Jets last January, Adam Gase became a sports meme in a New York minute.
Though reporters were there to hear how the former Dolphins head coach planned to turn around a Jets team that had finished at 4-12 after back-to-back 5-12 seasons, no one was listening to what was coming out of Gase’s mouth because they were too fixated on his eyes. As it often does, the internet also took notice, and Gase went viral.
I’m not trying to win Twitter. I’m trying to win football games, Jets CEO Christopher Johnson ironically said during Gase’s press conference. To paraphrase Wayne Gretzky, he’s coaching to where football is going.
With Gase at the helm following his memorable introduction, the Jets partially fulfilled Johnson’s desire and won seven football games, an improvement from the three years prior, when Todd Bowles was in charge. But despite the step up, the air of dysfunction and confusion that presented itself at Gase’s first press conference seemed to hang like a cloud over the team throughout the season, and this offseason and the main storyline to come out of Jets nation has done nothing to dissipate it.
Instead of the focus being on the Jets making big improvements to a leaky offensive line that surrendered 52 sacks last season and bolstering their running game by bringing in Frank Gore to spell workhorse Le’Veon Bell, the main story of Gang Green’s offseason was star safety Jamal Adams. In the midst of a prolonged contract dispute with the team, Adams tore into his coach while speaking to Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News late last month.
I don’t feel like he’s the right leader for this organization to reach the Promised Land,” Adams said of 42-year-old Gase. As a leader, what really bothers me is that he doesn’t have a relationship with everybody in the building. At the end of the day, he doesn’t address the team. If there’s a problem in the locker room, he lets another coach address the team. If we’re playing shitty and we’re losing, he doesn’t address the entire team as a group at halftime. He’ll walk out of the locker room and let another coach handle it.
Days after Adams made the comments about his coach, the Jets traded the only player on their roster to make the Pro Bowl in 2019 to the Seattle Seahawks for safety Bradley McDougald, first-round picks in 2021 and 2022 and a third-round pick in 2021.