Did anyone seriously envision the wretched Jets losing to the winless Miami Dolphins this past week? Not even the fatalistic Jets fan would think it would happen. Yes, the Jets stink, but the Dolphins have zero incentive to win a game this season in what will be a competitive race to win the No. 1 overall pick for the right to draft Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
To the Dolphins fans, Dolphins management and Dolphins ownership, a win against the Jets might as well mean a loss since they would be behind in the Tagovailoa sweepstakes.
Remarkably, something unforeseen occurred Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium. The Jets handed the Dolphins their first win of the season after a 26-18 loss to them. To say this is the Dolphins’ highlight of the season and the Jets’ lowlight of the season is an understatement.
Can’t make this up for a franchise that gave us Dan Marino’s fake spike, Bill Belichick’s departure as “HC of the NYJ”, Victor Cruz’s 99-yard touchdown Christmas Eve run, Mark Sanchez’s butt fumble and John Idzik’s reign of incompetence. Even the Dolphins couldn’t believe it.
The Dolphins begged the Jets to even beat them in the second half. They knew what was at stake. For whatever reason, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold and the offense never could get going. They only mustered six points in the second half after trailing 21-12 at halftime. Sam Ficken kicked a field goal in the third quarter and fourth quarter. That was it.
The Jets played like a team that had no interest in playing or winning again. Just like they have most of the season. They only cared against the Dallas Cowboys because of Darnold’s return after he missed time with mononucleosis. Even with the Jets getting their quarterback back, they appeared like a dead team that can’t wait for this season to be over.
Only eight more weeks of this, and the nightmare will be over for Jets fans.
Looking at the Jets schedule, it’s unlikely to see a win in any of those eight games. Go ahead and say the Jets can beat the Giants, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals and the Dolphins, but those teams can make a case they can beat them. After all, the Jets lost to the Dolphins, so they can lose to those teams, not to mention they are as bad as them.
If the Jets can’t beat those teams, they are looking at a one-win season because it’s hard to believe they are beating the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills. If they achieve this mark, this will be the worst season since 1996. It feels like it as it is right now.
Rich Kotite coached that forgettable ‘96 Jets team, and already, the current Jets head coach is being compared to him. Some say Gase might be worse than Kotite. It is not a crazy thought in a sense that Kotite never had a team with talent while Gase’s team has enough talent to at least beat hideous teams.
When fans and the local media compare Gase to Kotite, it should raise awareness to Jets CEO Chris Johnson about whether or not he should retain his first-year coach next season.
The opinion here is that it’s time for a fresh start. Gase showed he can’t coach offense or coach anything for that regard. His players never played for him, and it’s doubtful that is changing now. Sure the players say it publicly, but their actions speak differently with their play. It would be hard to sell the fans and players another season of Gase when he is 1-10 in his 11 games as an NFL head coach, not to mention his teams scored 10 offensive touchdowns in 11 games.
Darnold regressed in the last three games. He is overthrowing the ball, and he can’t even catch the ball from his center. He threw an interception under duress when he should have threw the ball away when he had no room to throw. Sometimes he runs rather than throw. He was 5 of 14 in converting third downs in this content, and he completed 27 of 39 for 260 yards and one touchdown. He threw an interception, which makes it nine interceptions in four games. For him to throw one touchdown in a game the Jets entrust him to win, this should raise red flags about him.
The Jets hired Gase for being a quarterback whisperer. Whatever he teaches is not translating well to Darnold. It’s not only just Darnold, but he didn’t get results from Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk. If he can’t figure Darnold out, the Jets should cut bait with him. There’s no reason to keep this charade going.
Gase will get his chance to show what he can do in the next eight weeks. If there is no improvement in the name of wins, he can’t come back next season. Already, Jets fans and the Jets players turned on him. If he can’t win them now, it’s going to be hard to win them back.
Let’s say the Jets somehow win the Tagovailoa sweepstakes by being the worst team in football. How can Johnson have Gase develop this guy when this head coach hasn’t develop Ryan Tannehill and managed to make Darnold as Mark Sanchez?
So many questions marks abound with the head coach. Darnold shouldn’t feel safe, either. If he does not get better and if the Jets are bad enough that they may want to start anew with a brand new head coach and a new general manager, they could draft a new quarterback to work with the new head coach.
It’s a mess all around. Even if the Jets fire Gase, what makes anyone think Johnson can get it right when he already got it wrong on this head coach? Heck the Jets couldn’t develop Sanchez and they are on the road to destroying Darnold, so they could destroy Tagovailoa.
No easy solutions can be offered.
The Jets can look at the bright side of another Jets moment, though. They hurt the Dolphins’ chances of getting Tagovailoa and increase their chances of getting him each passing week.
Maybe the true loser of all this was Tagovailoa, not Gase, Darnold, the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.