Jets head coach Adam Gase is not stupid.
He knows there’s a mandate for him to lead the Jets to 10 or more wins in his first season. He was hired just for that reason. This isn’t a coach learning on the job. The Jets expect him to apply all the lessons he learned as a Miami Dolphins head coach and put it to use now, not next season or the season after that.
If he delivers awful results this season that his predecessor Todd Bowles performed in his forgettable Jets tenure, he will rightfully be criticized by the media and the Jets fans.
The new Jets head coach gets it because the Jets fans are starving for a winner. After all, their team suffered three straight losing seasons and eight straight nonplayoff seasons. The fans want to see progress now. The least he can do is have the Jets play meaningful December games, which hasn’t happened since Bowles’ first season and lone successful season at 10-6.
Gase embraces this. After all, he took the job knowing he can win and lead the Jets to the playoffs this season with a great defense, competent quarterback and an excellent running game.
Jets second-year quarterback Sam Darnold attracted Gase to coach the Jets. With that arm and his ability to scramble, the quarterback guru knows he can look good with that quarterback. It’s no secret quarterbacks make good coaches into great coaches and awful coaches into decent coaches.
Case in point: Bill Belichick does not win six Super Bowl championships without having the best quarterback ever to play the position in his disposal in the name of Tom Brady. He may not say it publicly, but he does not have to since we all know that.
Gase did a decent job as the Dolphins head coach. We say decent because his quarterback Ryan Tannehill played mediocre at best. If he had a competent quarterback, maybe he is still coaching the Dolphins instead of the Jets.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins let Tannehill go after he became useless to them, and now they are tanking the season to get a top draft pick in hopes of getting Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovaiola.
Being fired turned out to be the best thing for Gase. It wouldn’t have been surprising that he wanted out knowing the Jets job was available and he had a chance to win right away.
Now is his chance, and he is ready. He knows there are no excuses.
Besides, the bar is not high. Gase would be anointed sainthood just for having the Jets win 11 games or more. He does not even need a playoff appearance for Jets fans to be happy if he gets that number in what will be a tough conference.
Heck, if he leads the Jets to beat the New England Patriots this season, the local media here will tout him as a genius. The fans here would make him look like the greatest Jets head coach of all time.
Of course if the Jets sputtered early or fall apart down the stretch, Gase will be criticized. There is no honeymoon.
Gase received criticism for his power-play in the offseason by playing a role in getting Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan fired. They couldn’t click in finding players that would suit the head coach’s vision, so Jets CEO Chris Johnson decided to end that arranged marriage after experiencing two failed arranged marriages in Rex Ryan and John Idzik along with Maccaganan and Bowles.
It went away when Gase found his guy Joe Douglas to work with him. Douglas worked with last couple of good front offices in the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens, so that experience will work well with Gase. The important thing is that he found a guy he can trust in collaborating with the new general manager.
No one paid attention to Jets training camp this summer, but now that is over, all eyes are on Gase.
Despite all the cons of the Jets job, Gase knows the pros outweigh them all. He has the quarterback to win games. That’s a good position for any head coach to be in.
Gase knows how to run the offense. He got results out of Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler as their offensive coordinator. Sure they are good and they help give the genius label to an offensive coordinator and make him a head coaching candidate, but a coach’s ability to design plays can make a quarterback successful. In other words, a great quarterback and an offensive guru go hand-in-hand.
Darnold’s natural ability should help Gase, and Gase’s teaching should help Darnold.
It’s no wonder why Gase is not fretting about the pressure.
He welcomes it knowing he has a chance with Darnold.
If anything, he should be envied, not sympathized.