New York Jets: Analyzing the fateful moves of Joe Douglas’ tenure (so far)

Today in 2019, the New York Jets named Joe Douglas their general manager. ESM looks back on his most impactful moves, for better or worse.

Two years ago, a man named Joe opened a campaign that ran on change and reform. Today, he’s at the helm of one of the most renowned, yet volatile, systems in the world and trying to get his constituents back on track in the face of an ongoing crisis.

On this day two years ago, Joe Douglas became general manager of the New York Jets.

Douglas inherited a ghastly gridiron crunch from Mike Maccagnan after the latter’s shocking post-draft firing in 2019. The Jets were in the midst of an eight-year playoff drought and hadn’t had a winning record since 2015, the first year of Maccagnan’s star-crossed term.

Two years later, however, much hasn’t changed in terms of on-field numbers. Douglas has overseen a mere nine wins over two seasons (besting only Detroit, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati) and saw the franchise plunge to new single-season lows last season through a 2-14 ledger. Even though they bested the single win of Rich Kotite’s doomed group in 1996, the Jets endured a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak to open the year, leading Douglas to start almost entirely from scratch in 2021. The playoff drought has been extended to a decade, the longest active streak in the NFL after Cleveland and Tampa Bay each earned postseason invites last winter.

In his brief time, Douglas has made several transactions that will affect the Jets’ future fortunes and perhaps his own metropolitan future. ESM looks back at the most impactful moves to date, for better and worse…

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

Better: The Drafting of Mekhi Becton

For his first draft pick at the helm of the Jets, Douglas opted to select Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton with the 11th overall choice in the 2020 proceedings. There was no shortage of talent in the middle stages of the virtual draft’s opening night, as Henry Ruggs, Tristan Wirfs, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Justin Jefferson all heard their names called with the next eleven selections after Becton.

Analysis: For the time being, the draft of Becton is Douglas’ magnum opus. He made the selection in a thankless position: for every one fan/analyst/scout who wanted a blocker, there was another likely upset that Douglas passed on the plethora of receiving talent available in the slot. But after Becton served as a rare silver lining in Adam Gase’s dirge, Douglas publicly declared that he would base future decisions around Becton.

“I think he’s a player that is going to help us long-term,” Douglas said in November, per Max Goodman of Sports Illustrated. “We’re excited about working with him every day because you talk about a young man that loves football. He’s very smart. He’s tough as nails and has rare size and athleticism. There’s a lot of desire from him to want to be the best player that he can be so we’ve made it our mission to bend over backward to try to help him reach his goals.”

The selection of Becton also snapped a dangerous streak in Jets history: he was the first opening-round offensive lineman chosen by the Jets since the legendary pairing of D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold in 2006, ending a period of blocking negligence exacerbated not only by Maccagnan but by Mike Tannenbaum and John Idzik before him. Additionally, shrewd maneuvering by Douglas allowed the Jets to pick up a big-play receiver anyway, using a second-round choice on Baylor’s Denzel Mims.

LANDOVER, MD – NOVEMBER 17: Alex Lewis #71 of the New York Jets looks on prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 17, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

Worse: The Veteran Building Block(er)s 

Douglas’ blocking renovations didn’t begin with Becton. In the month before he scribbled Becton’s name onto a draft card, Douglas bestowed over $17 million in 2020 cap space to George Fant, Connor McGovern, and Greg Van Roten. When he took office during the summer of 2019, among his first moves were trading a late pick to Baltimore for Alex Lewis and convincing All-Pro Ryan Kalil to postpone his retirement.

Analysis: Douglas had the right idea: he wanted to stock up on blockers to help his pre-packaged franchise quarterback Sam Darnold out. Alas, the moves he made only hastened the end of the Darnold era.

Part of the issues stems from Douglas signing the wrong names. Jack Conklin was reportedly interested in coming aboard (and Le’Veon Bell pleaded for the Jets to sign his fellow Michigan State alum on Twitter), but he instead embarked on an All-Pro season in Cleveland. Worse yet, the consolation prizes caused the Jets to neglect other areas of need, namely the weaponry necessary for Darnold to succeed. Luring Amari Cooper over from Dallas was probably always a pipe dream, but they missed out on serviceable parts like Emmanuel Sanders. They also made little effort to retain Robby Anderson, who went on to post career-best numbers in Carolina.

In the absence of marquee blocking signing, the Jets were forced to make do with washouts from first rounds past (Breshad Perriman) as well as former Patriots without the Belichick touch (Chris Hogan). The tough luck created a football situation where no good Douglas deed went unpunished.

New York Jets, Jamal Adams
Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams (33) warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Too Soon: The Jamal Adams Trade

Once it became clear that Adams, the face of the franchise during the Maccagnan era, wanted out of New York it was on Douglas to somehow salvage the situation. Adams didn’t make things easier by telling metropolitan horror stories any chance he could. Despite Adams’ tales, Douglas eventually worked out a deal with Seattle in August 2020. The deal netted two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and veteran cornerback Bradley McDougald.

Analysis: It’s hard to fully analyze the Adams trade as there are still lingering aftershocks in the 2022 draft; the Jets own Seattle’s first-round choice while the Seahawks own a metropolitan fourth-round pick.

As of this moment, a lot of the Adams fallout has shifted toward the Jets’ favor. While McDougald partook in only seven games and doesn’t appear to be heading back (continuing a disturbingly common trend of Douglas’ veteran acquisitions not panning out), the Jets used the Seattle capital to bolster their offensive line, trading the 2021 first-rounder to Minnesota that led to a move up the draft board for Alijah Vera-Tucker. The fact that Adams’ cantankerousness followed him to the Pacific Northwest…he has yet to sign a long-term deal…only further shifts the current lead in the Jets’ direction.

There’s no use in grading the trade when several major names from it haven’t played a single regular season down yet. But the fact that Douglas turned a disgruntled superstar into a landmark blocker and a first-round pick to be named later is an inspiring sign. The same philosophy could apply to the trade that sent Darnold to Carolina, a deal that saw Douglas land a second-round choice (in 2022) for a quarterback that has yet to post a passer rating above 85 or throw more than 20 touchdown passes.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 13: Safety Marcus Maye #20 of the New York Jets celebrates a stop against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half at MetLife Stadium on October 13, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

Better: Franchise Tagging Marcus Maye

Both the SEC and the earlier days of the 2017 draft are still represented in the Jets’ secondary through the prescience of Marcus Maye. The Florida alum was bestowed the franchise tag in the early stages of the 2021 offseason, a move that makes him the 10th-highest-paid safety in the league in 2021 (over $10.6 million guaranteed).

Analysis: After the Adams debacle, Douglas had to carefully navigate the situation with Maye. The Florida alum was close with Adams and was one of the few name-brand talents leftover once Adams and Anderson donned new helmets. For all intents and purposes, things have gone well in the early going. Maye, who at the very least made sure the Jets appeared in the SportsCenter Top 10, earned a sizable new contract while Douglas and Co. bought some time for Maye to further consider New York and set the table for an affordable long-term deal.

While Maye appears to be holding out of offseason activities, possibly until he gets that longer contract, the conversations surround him inspire hope and optimism, unlike last year’s melancholy Adams situation.

“Marcus Maye fits every system and he’ll be just fine,” new head coach Robert Saleh said in a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post. “I think these kids have earned the right to ask for whatever they can, especially when they do things the right way like he has. Joe and his staff are working relentlessly to get something done. We go with it and we support him all around the organization.”

New York Jets, Adam Gase
Oct 18, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New York Jets head coach Adam Gase looks at a play card during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Worse: Putting Up with Adam Gase

Douglas took over the Jets at an interesting, if not contemptuous, point on the Jets timeline. His immediate predecessor was not Maccagnan, but rather Adam Gase, who more or less won a battle of wills to remain in New York. Gase was granted interim general managing duties after Maccagnan was let go and was maintained as the head coach upon Douglas’ arrival. He would last two seasons at the helm before Douglas dismissed him, paving the way for Saleh’s hire.

Analysis: The Jets were able to mask a 1-7 start in Gase’s first year at the helm by winning six of their final eight games (mostly against competition equally, if not more, doomed). But an even more brutal start in year two…one that saw the Jets lose their first six games by multiple possessions…should’ve been all the evidence that Gase wasn’t going to be the one to lead New York to the promised land.

Sure, it had been a while since the Jets executed an in-season firing (with Charley Winner getting ousted for Ken Shipp in 1975), but early firings have become more common in today’s NFL. A playoff berth in year one couldn’t save Ben McAdoo with New York’s blue squad. Steve Wilks was granted only one year in Arizona once it became clear they could get Kliff Kingsbury. It’s not like Douglas wasn’t afraid to pull the plug on others; the Jets instituted an early-season fire sale that bid farewell to Bell, Steve McLendon, and Avery Williamson. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was likewise given the boot after his infamous blitz against Las Vegas cost the Jets their first win of 2020.

To make matters worse, once Gase couldn’t even take advantage of the macabre gift of consequence-free football that could’ve been used as research and development for the future. For example, he chose to give Frank Gore a retirement tour instead of giving young projects like La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams a chance. Letting Gase finish out the season helped offseason questions linger and kept the Jets on a path of uncertainty.

Jan 3, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Too Soon: The San Francisco Treats

With the eventual purge of Gase and his coaching staff (save for the apparently immortal Brant Boyer) and the drafting of Zach Wilson, Douglas now officially has his signature on this team. The process will now be overseen on a day-to-day basis by a staff headed by Saleh and fellow former 49er Mike LaFleur, who is tasked with awakening an anemic New York offense.

Analysis: It’s foolhardy to grade any transaction without a single down of evidence, so the jury is obviously still out on Saleh. It’s an interesting approach for the Jets to take, for the Jets to go with a defensive-minded boss in an NFL landscape that increasingly favorites the offense (whether it’s inadvertent or not). It’s also somewhat surprising to see them hire a first-time head coach for a team full of unproven misfit toys. Time will tell how the gambit, similar to the Todd Bowles hire in 2015, plays out.

Having said that, the ultimate difference between the Gase and Saleh hires is who is praising the hire. When Gase arrived, it was praised mostly by the hot take artists like Colin “2020 AFC championship tickets at MetLife Stadium” Cowherd. This time, however, the Jets’ hire has been praised by on-field talent both domestically and abroad.

Much like the hire on this day two days ago…a hire where Douglas was plucked from a Philadelphia squad still celebrating its Super Bowl…Jets fans are filled with hope. But hope can only take you so far…it’s time to perform and find results, through, and in spite of, these moves.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

The New York Jets are proving Jamal Adams right after latest loss

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

In their latest defeat, the most one-sided in the Adam Gase era, the New York Jets fulfilled their former star’s most damning declaration.

Sue Bird, Alysha Clark, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart, and the rest of the defending WNBA champions were nowhere to be found in the spectator-free settings of Lumen Field on Sunday late afternoon. Yet, the New York Jets were forced to deal with a new brand of Seattle Storm.

Metropolitan football fans, especially those of the green variety, are no doubt used to gridiron disappointment at this time of the year, but the visit to the Emerald City set new standards for futility. In a day and age of glorified offense, the Jets put a grand total of 13 yards over the final 30 minutes. Had the Seahawks not mercifully pulled their starters in the game’s latter stages, that number could’ve well been in the red, as 28 of those yards came on a meaningless final drive. The ensuing final deficit of 40-3 was also the worst loss overseen by Adam Gase in his two years at the helm. Gase’s tenure has seen its share of unique achievements, albeit ones the Jets never wanted to see fulfilled. Seattle, for example, dealt the Jets (0-13) their 13th consecutive loss, a landmark even Rich Kotite’s doomed bunch managed to avoid.

The quaddrennial matchup with the Seahawks also carried the subplot of the Jets’ reunion with Jamal Adams, who spares no opportunity to talk about just how dreary things got for him as rare beacon of hope in the New York football realm. Adams made the game memorable with his own bit of history, as a first-half sack of Sam Darnold allowed him to take hold of the NFL’s single-season record for sacks by a defensive back (8.5), a record he came tantalizingly close to in his final season in green. Adams was even able to make up for a dropped interception that could’ve led to a touchdown in the first half, a mishap long forgotten when all was said and done.

The historic takedown was part of a showcase for former Jets in the Pacific Northwest, as Damon Harrison, Jason Myers, and Brandon Shell all played major roles in the victory. Even former franchise quarterback Geno Smith came in to complete 4-of-5 passes for 33 yards against a beleaguered Jets defense after Russell Wilson beat them for four touchdown passes.

Adams has spared no opportunity to speak negatively about his time of New York, but was congenial to his former comrades after the final seconds ticked away. He notable shared a hug with Gase, who told the safety to “go get one”, referring to a Super Bowl, according to Adams himself.

“(Gase) told me to go get one. He was talking about a Super Bowl,” Adams said of the exchange, per Max Goodman of Sports Illustrated. “A lot of the guys came up to us and I don’t want to blow our guys’ heads up or myself, which I’m not, but they were just saying that we have a great team. And we’ve always believed in that. But he just congratulated me, wished me well, told me to stay healthy.”

Seattle (9-4) currently holds the top NFC wild-card spot and is engaged in a battle with the Los Angeles Rams for the NFC West division title. It’s a stark contrast to his seasons in green, where playoff opportunities were often closed before Halloween, but Adams nonetheless had some friendly words toward his former employers in his postgame statements.

“At the end of the day, I don’t have any hate towards, not even just Gase, toward the organization,” Adams said in another report from Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “Everybody just had different views. We had to move different. We had to take a different leap. Obviously the trade happened and I’m happy to be here. I wish those guys nothing but the best, I really do. I mean that. I know a lot of Jets fans don’t really think I’m coming from the heart, but I really am. I’m thankful for my time over there because I don’t take it for granted.”

Adams’ kind words and well wishes to the Jets at the conclusion of an interconference shellacking could be closure of sorts for a Jets team that had some trouble moving on the early going (the departed Gregg Williams’ claim that Adams would get “bored” in Seattle seems particularly silly). But Sunday’s game showed more or less proved one of Adams’ most damning comments about the Jets correct.

“They do not want to win.” 

It was clear long before Sunday’s kickoff that Adams had the last laugh in the exchange between the two sides, if only because Adams has a chance to play for a Super Bowl while the Jets have been reshuffling their draft board since late September. But, in their futility, the Jets were given a macabre silver lining: the final hours of the woebegone 2020 season gave them a chance to not only conduct free research and development for 2021 and beyond, but they had a chance to play with relative reckless abandon. Free from the relative “burden” of playoff positioning, the Jets could use whatever means necessary to get a win. Sure, it would anger the cult of the No. 1 pick, a fanatical gathering dedicated to losing for the greater good of the ongoing “endeavor for Trevor (Lawrence)”, but former Jets boss Herm Edwards said it best when he declared “you play to win the game”.

Wins themselves, as the Jets have proven time and time again, might be a little too much to ask for at this point in time with the Jets, but they’ve shown they’re capable of strong efforts. This was a team that was, after all, one poorly-timed blitz away from more or less removing the Las Vegas Raiders from the playoff conversation as little as a weekend ago. Fight and resiliency should’ve been words ingrained in the locker room, etched into whiteboards through the facility.

Alas for New York, those qualities never came during their stay at Lumen Field. A week after Ty Johnson and Josh Adams united for 178 yards on the ground against Las Vegas (the Jets’ best rushing game in over two calendar years), Gase resumed his tradition of giving carries to a 37-year-old Frank Gore while the game was still manageable. As the Seahawks’ lead inflated, the Jets had opportunities to cut into their deficit, but opted for Sergio Castillo field goals instead (Castillo’s 1-for-4 day only adding to the Jets’ plight). Granted one last opportunity to escape from Seattle with a touchdown on the final drive, mostly overseen by the Seahawks’ defensive understudies, the Jets opted to instead run the clock out.

All of this has been overseen by Gase, whose New York ledger drops to 7-22, good for a .241 win percentage that’s better than only Kotite amongst Jets coaches who earned at least one full year at the helm. Gase remains on the New York sidelines, outlasting not only several of his NFL contemporaries, but also outlasting accomplished veterans like Le’Veon Bell, Steve McLendon, Avery Williamson, Pierre Desir, and Williams.

Does that sound like a team that’s trying to win games?

Again, no one was expecting a green miracle from the Jets, but the lackadaisical manner in how they’re conducting themselves is troubling from many standpoints. They could, for example, gain clarity on their 2021 run game through Johnson and Adams, but opt instead to give things off to Gore, whose retirement approaches. There are certainly players who are bucking the trend of inactivity…SportsCenter Top 10 mainstay Marcus Maye and backfield invader Folorunso Fatikasi are certainly doing their part…but the Jets are corrupting both their present and future through their modern struggles. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the top overall pick, be it Lawrence, Justin Fields, or an unknown third party.

But the best thing the Jets can do over these last few weeks is glean as many positives as they can before the year lets out while gaining clarity for their future. They’re proving Adams’ propehcy correct. At this point, the Jets look like a team that’s given up on the idea of winning not just in the present, but in the future as well. That needs to change, not even to prove that Adams wrong…that shouldn’t be anywhere near their list of concerns. It’s a matter of personal pride, a desire to change the course of this star-crossed franchise moving forward. That all starts with hanging your head high, going all out in the most dire of situations. The Jets are there, but couldn’t be lower as the season draws to a close.

The Jets seem well-destined to join the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns in the unholy brotherhood of 16-game imperfection. At this point, sympathy can be garnered. They’re overmatched and ready to make changes. The least they can do is make it look like they’re trying to avoid such a fate.

The only scary part for Adams? He and the Seahawks need some help from the Jets. New York’s trek of futility carries on next weekend against another contending foe, battling none other than the Rams at SoFi Stadium next Sunday afternoon (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: 3 facts about interim DC Frank Bush

New York Jets

Frank Bush will oversee the New York Jets’ defense over the final four games of this brutal season after Gregg Williams’ firing.

Frank Bush’s tenure as New York Jets defensive coordinator will likely be lost in One Jets Drive’s archives in an effort to purge the horrendous memories made from this season that emerged from the depths of the football netherworld.

A long-time NFL assistant, the 57-year-old Bush has the thankless and unenviable job of mustering something resembling football cohesion from the Jets’ defense over the final four weeks of the season. Bush has served as an assistant head coach and inside linebackers boss over two seasons with the team. He will now feature as the team’s defensive coordinator after Gregg Williams’ ousting in the wake of a highly questionable play call at the end of the Jets’ latest loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Bush’s tenure begins with the Jets’ visit to Seattle on Sunday afternoon (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).

Even if Bush’s time with the Jets (0-12) will be quickly erased shortly after the final second of the 2020-21 season ends, the longtime NFL veteran isn’t taking anything lightly. Contrary to the tanking efforts Jets fans have demanded over the final stretches, Bush wants to go all out and earn a win before this year lets out.

“We’re trying to put them in position to win,” Bush said of his players and the test ahead, per Randy Lange of NewYorkJets.com “So all the things have been set up to try to put these kids in position to be confident going on the road, into a tough environment, and confident knowing they have a chance to come out of this thing with a win.”

ESM has four facts to know about the Jets’ new defensive boss as his tenure is set to get underway…

His Promising Playering Career Was Cut Short

Bush originally entered the NFL in 1985 after a strong four-year career at North Carolina State. Chosen by the Houston Oilers in the fifth round, Bush earned three sacks and fumble recoveries each during his rookie season. He notably brought down John Elway twice in the Oilers’ October visit to Denver.

Unfortunately for Bush, his playing career was cut short by a narrow spinal canal diagnosis after starting the first three games of his sophomore season. But he wound making the most of the hand dealt to him, returning to Houston eight years later as the team’s quality control coach for two seasons. Ironically, he helped oversee the Houston linebackers with Williams, the man he will replace in New York.

“It opened some doors for me. It’s allowed me to be in the league for over 30 years,” Bush said in a 2018 reflection with The Palm Beach Post during his Miami days. “I’m not sure if that would have happened if I would have taken another path. I’ve made some great friends. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown up a lot. I always tell some of my players and some of my friends I’m kind of the epitome of the NFL: You try hard, keep doing what you’ve got to do and you’ll have a long career.”

He Has Collaborated With Adam Gase Before

It made perfect sense that Bush would get the nod to oversee the defense over the final four games. Not only is he the most tenured coach on the Jets’ ledger, but he and Gase collaborated for two seasons in Miami prior to their New York arrivals. Bush served as the linebackers coach for two seasons. Among his proteges were Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan.

Gase said this week that he knows Bush’s long-accumulated expertise will help when dealing with this tough situation the Jets face in the final quarter of the season.

“Frank has been in this league for a long time, he’s done this job before. That side of the ball, they’re really well organized as far as who does what,” Gase said in notes provided by the Jets. “They had to make a couple adjustments as far as job duties and things like that, but I’m going to do whatever they need me to do to help them. We talked about that early on in the week. There are a couple things that we just talked about possibly doing and playing certain guys, and making sure that we have certain guys playing in certain spots and that’s about the extent of that right now. I mean, whatever I can do to help that side of the ball I’m going to do.”

In another ironic connection, Bush has a special connection to the head coach on the other sidelines as well. Seattle boss Pete Carroll served as the North Carolina State defensive coordinator on Monte Kiffin’s staff during Bush’s freshman and sophomore seasons.

He Has Won the Super Bowl…Twice

The Super Bowl should be the farthest things from the minds of Jets fans, but Bush is a rare New York representative that knows that championship feeling.

Bush was the staff of the Denver Broncos during their run at back-to-back Super Bowls at the turn of the century. The unit was headlined by Bill Romanowski and John Mobley, who united to lead the champion Broncos in sacks over their two victorious seasons. His group, joined by Glenn Cadrez, led Denver in tackles over those fateful campaigns.

“Mike and all those guys in Denver, they’re really close to us. I really have a lot of friendships up there,” Bush, then with the Houston Texans, said while recalling his time with Denver on the former’s website in 2007. “They have a very high standard on how they do things and we’re trying to push that standard here.”

In addition to his time with Denver, New York, Miami, and both Houston franchises, Bush has also served in Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams’ organizations.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING: New York Jets fire DC Gregg Williams (Report)

New York Jets, Gregg Williams

Gregg Williams has reportedly been let go by the New York Jets after a heartbreaking defensive collapse led to their 12th straight loss.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the New York Jets have fired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in the midst of his second season with the team. The team has yet to confirm the report.

Williams, 62, was heavily scrutinized in the aftermath of the Jets’ 31-28 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday after calling for an emphasized blitz in the final minute of the game. With little deep coverage, Derek Carr was able to find Henry Ruggs for a 46-yard scoring pass, allowing the Raiders to erase a rare New York lead with five seconds remaining. The Jets (0-12) are the only winless team left in football. Their defense currently ranks 29th in the league in yards allowed (398.8 per game) and 30th in points against (29.4).

This story will be updated pending further developments.

[EDIT: 2:00 p.m, ET]: The Jets have confirmed Williams’ firing in a statement. They also announced that inside linebackers coach Frank Bush will take over as the interim defensive coordinator over the final four games of the season. Bush previously served in the same role with the Houston Texans during the 2009-10 seasons.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets defense reacts to last-minute loss vs. Las Vegas

New York Jets

The New York Jets seemed on their way to their first win of the season, but a brutal defensive lapse brought them back to a winless reality.

Coming out on the wrong side of a Sunday scoreboard probably shouldn’t phase New York Jets fans at this point. After all, their team is the only winless squad left in the NFL and seems destined for 16-game imperfect infamy.

The Jets seemed ready to avoid such a fate with a narrow lead against the playoff-contending Las Vegas Raiders. New York had erased a 24-13 lead in the fourth quarter to the tune of rushing touchdowns from Sam Darnold and Ty Johnson. Their 28-24 lead seemed safe, even when Las Vegas got the ball back with 35 seconds to go. The Jets failed to pick up a first down after a potential go-ahead score was stopped, but they still figured to be sitting pretty at MetLife Stadium.

Braden Mann’s 47-yard punt situated the Raiders at their own 39 before a 15-yard Derek Carr pass to Darren Waller got them to the Jets’ 46. Victory still appeared imminent after Carr’s throw to Nelson Agholor was overthrown after a clock-stopping spike. But Las Vegas’ incoming redemption was a painful reminder that the team made to personify the year 2020 is still trapped in this cycle of distress.

Opting for a Cover Zero setting and an emphasized blitz on a ten-yard third down, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams apparently sought to use pressure to get the Raiders to fold. With the linebackers blitzing and the secondary engaged in man coverage, the Jets put all their hope in a sack to run the clock out and depart East Rutherford with their first win of the year. The plan backfired, with Henry Ruggs breaking free from Lamar Jackson and catching Carr’s deep ball. It led to the game-winning 46-yard score that sent the Raiders into hysterics. Five seconds remained on the clock, but all they produced was a desperation heave from Darnold that resigned the Jets to a 31-28 defeat.

The Jets (0-12) advanced one step closer to joining the 2008 Lions and 2017 Browns in winless 16-game seasons, though most of their fanbase seemed nonplussed by such news, taking solace in the fact that the team appears to be closing in on the top overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Conversely, Las Vegas (7-5) averted disaster and remained alive and well in the AFC wild card hunt. They currently sit one game behind fellow Sunday winners Miami and Indianapolis for the final playoff slots in the conference.

On the other side of MetLife Stadium, postgame comments took on a somber tone. Johnson, fresh off a career-best 104 yards (the Jets’ first such rusher since October 2018), couldn’t fully enjoy the best afternoon of his young NFL tenure.

My family’s happy and a lot of people were messaging me this and that. But at the end of the day, we didn’t get the win,” Johnson said, per Randy Lange of NewYorkJets.com. “I wanted to get the win, that’s point-blank. It’s a blessing. I appreciate the guys giving me the opportunity, the guys on the line, out on the perimeter. I appreciate the hell out of them. I just wish at the end of that we came out with that W.”

Safety Marcus Maye was on the field for the fateful score. Covering Hunter Renfrow in man coverage, Maye was forced to watch helplessly as the ball landed in Ruggs’ waiting arms.

With eight men blitzing, Maye and his fellow men of the secondary were forced to deal with Las Vegas receivers one-on-one. The safety appeared to take a jab at Williams’ defensive playcall in his postgame comments.

“That situation, (there) just has to be a better call. We gotta execute, but you gotta help us out at the same time,” Maye said, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. “We fought hard to put ourselves in the position to win. That’s the point in the game we’ve just got to be in a better call.”

For his part, Jackson accepted responsibility for what happened with the Ruggs situation. The undrafted rookie has been pressed into a full-time role on defense due to both medical and transactional departures.

“I didn’t execute it to the best of my ability or how I wanted to. It’s tough, but at the same time, I also know that call is not going to define me or my career,” Jackson said in another Post report from Greg Joyce. “It’s tough. It’s definitely tough. I wasn’t looking for help, but I definitely was probably hoping it wasn’t on me. All I could think was, ‘Not me.’ I don’t want to be the reason. But I was. Gotta live with it. Gotta get better.”

Even Carr himself was shocked by the turn of events on the New York defense, telling SportsMax that he “couldn’t believe” that the Jets opted for an all-out blitz.

The call itself goes to Williams’ corner. Though the defensive coordinator did not speak after the game, head coach Adam Gase remarked that the team was trying to put pressure on Carr, which had worked to their benefit earlier in the game. New York was credited with six quarterback hits on Carr throughout the game, while Neville Hewitt and Quinnen Williams each earned a sack.

Nonetheless, the impulsive plan backfired at the worst possible time. The Jets’ appeared to ease up the pressure on the previous play, sending only four to the backfield on Carr’s final in completion of the afternoon.

“(The defense had) done well with (pressure) all game. That’s what happened. We had a couple of free runners, but we didn’t get there,” Gase said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. “You’re in this league long enough, you see games like this. You don’t want to be part of them, I know that.”

The Jets return to action next Sunday, hitting the road to take on the Seattle Seahawks (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Who should replace Gregg Williams at defensive coordinator?

New York Jets, Gregg Williams

The New York Jets defense currently looks lifeless for a number of reasons. The biggest two, though, are coaching and lack of talented personnel. The primary excuse to this point has been, “the defense cannot get off the field” when in actuality, the Jets’ time of possession is only on average of five minutes or so less than their opponents. They fail to control the ball, which is true, but the team is so poorly coached; it is laughable.

With budding turmoil between head coach Adam Gase and Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams, it is not a long shot to think that Williams could be axed soon, with Gase following eventually. Williams has regressed mightily this year, likely due to the talent drop-off and the poor leadership from Gase, Still, as the rift widens between the two, I decided to pinpoint one guy who makes sense to replace Williams as soon as possible.

Dennard Wilson Deserves A Shot

Dennard Wilson had a fairly impressive college football career at the University of Maryland. Wilson was a dynamic piece of the Terrapins secondary, playing in 42 games with 30 starts. In his senior year, he played well enough to earn an honorable All-ACC Mention and eventually a contract from the Washington Football Team. Unfortunately, a season-ending injury wrecked his pro career, but he quickly found his niche as a coach.

Fast forward to 2017, Wilson was brought on to be the defensive backs coach under Todd Bowles and the Jets. Wilson impressed so highly in his first year that he kept a job despite the coaching turnover. As of this season as well, Wilson even earned a promotion to Passing Game Coordinator/ DBs Coach. Wilson has quickly ascended the coaching ranks, and at 38, has made a name for himself in the NFL.

Despite having one of the least talented secondaries in the league, last season, the secondary was able to display potential with pieces like Brian Poole and Bless Austin earning long-term roles. Then this season, the team has improved its amount of turnovers and rotated in young corners to see what they are made of. The success of guys like Austin, UDFA Lamar Jackson, and Brian Poole can be attributed to the hands-on approach used by Wilson.

His coaching has led him to keep his job, and he evidently deserves a shot to prove himself as a coordinator. To put it frankly, Williams deserves a shot to go work under a competent young head coach, a la, Wade Phillips in LA. As for Wilson, the potential coaching ascension possibilities for him would be plentiful if he had success. He could remain on the staff as the coordinator if another head coach didn’t want to bring in his own guy or if the coach/organization sees potential in him. Not only that, but he could earn a potentially better opportunity as a coordinator elsewhere, or even as a head coach in New York if he does THAT good. The opportunities are endless, and the Jets should seize the opportunity to lessen the organizational dissension by axing Williams and giving Wilson a shot as the Defensive Coordinator.

3 moves the New York Jets should make right now

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets are a floundering mess, and if you’ve watched the inept in every category this season, you know that. One look at their 0-7 record shows change is desperately needed for the organization. We all would love to take the reigns of this mess and try to put the team back on the right tracks, but in this scenario, I made three moves that would immediately benefit the team.

Trade Avery Willamson

This is a move I was very against prior to the season, but now the move makes a lot of sense. Well, the team won’t fetch a lot for Willamson, the team is not competitive right now, and they should give the opportunity to younger guys to step up in Willamson’s absence.

Not to mention, Willamson has been an avid critic of how poorly the team has been practicing, which was likely viewed as defiance from Adam Gase. Mix in the fact that Willamson himself deserves a shot to play with a competitive team, so this is a move that would not be a bad idea. Pittsburgh just lost Devin Bush for the year, so Williamson could fit there among other potential spots. I would expect the compensation to be in the later rounds, but those are the picks Joe Douglas loves.

Willamson is still a fan favorite, but if he ends up elsewhere, it would be best for both parties. The Jets could look to other players as trade assets as well, but Willamson is the first guy I would set to trade based on how much value he brings.

Fire Adam Gase

So, this is the obvious move we would all make if we could. I want to preface this by saying that Adam Gase may be utterly incompetent, stubborn, unimaginative, and undisciplined. Yet despite those flaws and the many others, Gase has somehow got himself this job and likely will keep it at least a few more weeks.

At 0-7, this team is not playing for anything, but at least if they fired Gase, they could audition a prospective head coach and not who you would think. I will get to that in a second, but this move would at least revitalize the team and finally allow Douglas to build the franchise the way he would like without the tight reigns of Gase.

Coaching Re-alignment

I would immediately make a few key coaching changes if given the shot. I would promote Dowell Loggains to the lead offensive play-caller for the remainder of the season, contingent on two more good games.

If the offense continues to look lifeless, then I would choose RB Coach Jim Bob Cooter to take over due to his coordinating past in Detroit. As for the defensive side of the ball, I would like to see Gregg Williams ousted with Gase, but if he were to remain, then the team needs to give Dennard Wilson a promotion. He should earn more responsibilities to see if he has potential as a coordinator in his own right.

If Williams were fired, then I would make Wilson the DC immediately. So, I have not named an interim head coach. Those honors would be placed upon the shoulders of Current Special Teams Coordinator Brant Boyer. Boyer is the only other fixture in the organization who has been here for more than three years. Boyer has resurrected special teams in New York, but more importantly, he has shown discipline. In brief glimpses of his character, he would fit the type of structure Douglas would seemingly want. Boyer may not be the guy, but for at least the last couple of games, I’d love for him to get a shot at what he can prove.

New York Jets Game Preview Week 6: Miami Dolphins

The New York Jets begin the post-Le’Veon Bell era on Sunday in South Beach, engaging in a rescheduled match with the Dolphins.

What: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
When: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
Watch: CBS

Back in September, the New York Jets expected to have Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell, among others, for an October 18 showdown with the Los Angeles Chargers. Now that the day has finally come, Darnold is hurt, Bell has been released, and even their opponent was shifted due to the ongoing health crisis’s impact on the NFL.

The Jets nonetheless press on, as Jets head coach Adam Gase returns to his former site of employment through a matchup against the Miami Dolphins. This matchup was originally scheduled for November 15, but that now serves as the Jets’ bye. The aforementioned visit to Los Angeles now comes on November 22.

“We’ve got to play somebody, so it doesn’t affect me,” linebacker Avery Williamson said of the switch, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. “It shouldn’t affect anybody.”

New York (0-5) is coming off a 30-10 defeat at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Joe Flacco threw for 195 yards and a touchdown in his first start in place of the injured Darnold, with the score and 116 yards of his tally going to Jamison Crowder. The slot receiver reached triple figures in receiving for the third time this season, currently pacing the Jets with 335 yards over his trio of games. Arizona relentlessly countered with 411 yards of offense from Kyler Murray, who was also responsible for two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins (2-3) are coming off a dominant upset win in San Francisco, drubbing the 49ers by a 43-17 final. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 350 yards and three scores, each of which went to a different receiver. Miami defenders also united for five sacks of San Francisco quarterbacks.

The Series

The Jets and Dolphins will continue a series that has been staged twice yearly since Miami’s inception in 1966. New York maintained their lead in the series, currently up 55-53-1, by snapping a four-game losing streak in the series through a 22-21 decision at MetLife Stadium last December. Miami had won six of the past seven entering that game, which was decided by a Sam Ficken field goal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yeTlz4TbnE&ab_channel=NFL

History Happens: 2015

The Jets’ last sweep of the Dolphins came in 2015, starting with a 27-14 triumph in London. Part of the NFL’s International Series, the Jets jumped out to an early lead thanks to Chris Ivory’s score on their opening drive. Ivory would go onto run for a career-best 166 yards, while the aforementioned Fitzpatrick would find Eric Decker from 10 yards just before the halftime gun to build a 20-7 lead at intermission. Stoppage time wasn’t required for the Jets to finish their British masterpiece. Zac Stacy scored another touchdown, while Darrelle Revis and Marcus Williams each earned an interception. Brandon Marshall paced the Jets with 128 receiving yards, while Muhammad Wilkerson had two sacks of Ryan Tannehill.

They Said It

“When you lose, the week is long. It’s long and it’s painful, because if you put the amount of time and effort that everybody in this building has, really since the offseason, doing everything virtually and then coming back and trying to figure out how training camp was going to go…It’s the constant talking to these guys, whether it be at practice or in a team meeting or offense and defense split up. Just keep the reminders of, ‘Hey, this is how we can get things flipped around. This is how we can improve. This is what we can do to help our team on this side of the ball.’ And that’s a conversation that’s definitely been had the last couple weeks.”-Adam Gase on the state of the 0-5 Jets, per Brian Costello

“Winning last week was a good start, but we’ve got to take care of business this week, then we’ve got a bye,” Dolphins center Ted Karras said. “I’m having a lot of fun. I love all the guys on this team. It’s been a great start to the year. Obviously, we left a few things out in a couple of the early games, but we’re going to continue to work our hardest and prepare and then go out there on Sundays. That’s the only way to turn any tide, is to go out there and perform your best on Sunday, so that’s what I’m focused on every day.”-Dolphins center Ted Karras, per Adam H. Beasley

Matchup to Watch

Jets Pass Defense vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ah, Ryan Fitzpatrick…ruining your favorite team’s draft position since 2005.

That truly shouldn’t be held against Fitzpatrick, who has carved a respectable NFL career since his seventh-round drafting out of Harvard (did you know he went there?). It has become a bit of an NFL tradition for a team to bring in Fitzpatrick as a placeholder quarterback, only to see him post strong numbers that make it difficult to move on from him. The Jets certainly know what that’s like, having seen Fitzpatrick throw a team-record 31 touchdown passes during the aforementioned 2015 campaign after filling in for the incapacitated Geno Smith.

Fitzpatrick took over placeholder duties last season and performed respectably. This year, he was expected to keep Tua Tagovailoa’s seat warm, but, once again, he’s making it hard to pull off the transition. Fitzpatrick has completed a career-best 70 percent of his passes thus far and has earned triple digits in passer rating three times (including 154.5 in San Francisco last weekend). He has done so with his top receivers being DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki…the former of whom was a pupil of Gase’s during their time in Miami together.

Like several others, Parker has seemed to improve since Gase moved on. It’ll be up to the Jets defense to not only attack Fitzpatrick but to harass his receivers. If the Jets can make Miami think of Tagovailoa for any stretch on Sunday, they’ll have done something right.

The Jets Will Win If…

Their defense takes care of the offense.

To say the Jets’ offense is in a period of transition would be the understatement of this topsy-turvy year. They could get Breshad Perriman back, but Darnold is still out and Bell isn’t coming back, giving way to Flacco, Frank Gore, and La’Mical Perine. Keeping Miami at bay is a duty that will fall to the defense…one that doesn’t sound too pleased by the way things around going.

“It’s not a very good number, and a lot of it’s not all defensively,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said on Friday, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “It’s points on the board and we’ve got to do a good job of that, and how you do that is make them kick more field goals, got to do a better job in field-position-type things. As you see, the scoring is up in the league, but it still makes me sick.”

Reeling and in the midst of a rebuilding purge brought upon by Bell’s release, the Jets need to put their differences aside if they’re going to band together for a much-needed victory.

The Dolphins Will Win If…

They take advantage of a trap game opponent down in the dumps.

Crazy things tend to happen in divisional matchups. Last season, the 0-7 Dolphins earned their first win against the Jets, kickstarting a strong finish to end the year and generating some buzz around head coach Brian Flores (Miami is 7-7 since that November meeting, with four of the defeats coming by 10 points or less). In the premature playoff picture, the Dolphins are one game out of the extra spot with their bye week coming next week. A perilous trek aways the Dolphins in the immediate aftermath (both LA teams sandwich Arizona).

No one could fault the Dolphins if they missed out on the playoffs this year, but it’d certainly be an inspiring sign if the team was ahead of schedule in year two under Flores. If Miami has any hopes of breaking into the postseason picture this year, Sunday is more or less a must-win.

Prediction

You’d be hard-pressed to find another game for the Jets to win on their current schedule, at least in the near future. But, once again, a win appears to be simply too much to ask for from this squad in squalor. The post-Bell era will start the way the rusher’s New York tenure began and ended…with a loss.

Dolphins 23, Jets 13

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Le’Veon Bell: The wrong man to open the purge of the New York Jets

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

Necessary changes are coming to the New York Jets. Bidding Le’Veon Bell farewell, while merciful, wasn’t the right way to start them.

In the 2001 children’s picture Monsters Inc., a monster armed with the voice of Brooklyn native Steve Buscemi tells a one-eyed green creature voiced by The Bronx-raised Billy Crystal to be wary of “the winds of change“.

Another green monstrosity felt them blow on Tuesday night.

As professional football fans enjoyed a rare excursion on the second day of the week, the Jets opted to end Le’Veon Bell’s New York journey after 17 games, 863 rushing yards, $27 million in guaranteed money, and countless rumored feuds with head coach Adam Gase. Bell joined the Jets on a four-year deal during the 2019 offseason.

The Jets’ perpetual rebuild has somehow fallen into a deep abyss, one that has them at 0-5 (the losses coming by an average margin of over two touchdowns) and on a collision course with NFL infamy. Combine that with a plethora of free agents on the horizon and the mere thought of keeping the status quo would be lunacy. But for Bell’s status as the modern Jets’ first sacrifice to the football gods is a slap in the face to successful gridiron reboots and rebuilds everywhere.

Granted, Bell’s four-year, $52.5 million contract will likely go down in the same sentence as the deals bestowed to expensive, unproductive endeavors like Trumaine Johnson and Neil O’Donnell. Should Bell return to the elite form displayed in Pittsburgh, his image in green can probably be stored in the same folder as photos of Randy Moss in the Oakland Raiders’ colors.

But what the Jets’ latest transaction shows is a dedication to a regime that’s not working.

For as much as Bell floundered in New York, his 17 games in green don’t take away his glory days between 2013 and 2017 in Pittsburgh, ones that saw him finish third in the NFL in rushing yards in that span. But Bell is a rare New York representative that knows about success at the highest level in football. That’s also why Frank Gore, who is set to take over the top rushing duties in the Jets’ backfield, is still valuable at 37 years old. But the Jets now have the audacity to turn down the services of a top player still lingering in his prime while unproven names continue to steer the franchise ship.

Irony was perhaps best defined on Tuesday night by the fact that Gase, careening toward Rich Kotite status, remains employed by the same Jets team that granted Bell his walking papers. Further ironic hijinks also came from a rare sanctioned NFL game on Tuesday as well. As Bell was let go, a former Gase pupil helped move his team to 4-0 by guiding them to four touchdowns. That player, Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, was subjected to countless “make-or-break” seasons under Gase’s watch in Miami. He has since established himself as the franchise quarterback for a Titans squad living up to the hype of their AFC title game appearance last season (when they’re not dealing with the ongoing health crisis, that is).

 (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

The release of Bell thus sets a troubling precedent: the Jets appear all too willing to commit to a regime that’s only trending downward.

Tannehill isn’t even the only former practitioner of a Gase offense to find success elsewhere. Robby Anderson, for example, only spent a year under him but is on pace for career-best numbers in Carolina. Kenyan Drake has emerged as a security blanket for Kyler Murray in Arizona. If the Jets aren’t careful, more of their fleeting silver linings could venture out for greener pastures (oh, you know what we mean).

Under Gase, the Jets have lost some of their best, most recognizable players. Guys on a team desperate silver linings perhaps look at the Bell news and can’t help but think that they’re next. For example, if the Jets are willing to part ways with a proven, expensive talent like Bell, and allow Gase’s tenure to continue, who’s to say Sam Darnold, whose NFL journey is rife with uncertainty, isn’t next?

It’s not even guys on the current roster that might be most concerning. The Jets are blessed with strong cap space in time for the 2021 offseason. But what big-name free agent in their right mind is going to look at Bell’s tumultuous time in New York and declare “yeah…I want in on that”? It’s the type of move that’s going to have a ripple effect across several years…only this time, the waves could well sink the Jets further into the abyss.

The arrival of Gase and his staff wasn’t going to lead to wins immediately. Even with Tom Brady’s highly-publicized departure from the AFC East and expanded wild card capital, asking the Jets to reach the 2020 playoffs was going to be a tall task. But the 2020 season, one that gets no easier with a rescheduled visit to Miami on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS), has instead become one long vote of confidence to a staff that’s in over their heads and dragging the players down with them.

General manager Joe Douglas has a bit of a longer leash in this process. After all, it wasn’t he who added Bell, that honor instead going to Mike Maccagnan, one the latters final decisions before a most unusual firing after the draft. But Gase and company have to be on thin ice. His offensive ranking are at or near the NFL’s nadir. Promising prospects have regressed while others have been forced to wallow in obscurity. For example, the Jets appeared to have high hopes for fourth-round La’Mical Perine, and an opportunity appeared to open when Bell went down with an injury in Week 1. Carries instead when to the 37-year-old Gore, whose status beyond 2020 was always in question after inking a one-year deal this offseason.

New York Jets, Adam Gase

With the exception of the Jets improbable 6-2 finish to cap off the 2019 season, mostly earned against teams that were either resting players or were somehow more lost than they were, Gase and his staff have instill little hope in building anything successful, other than their case for the top overall draft pick next spring. Fans immediately came to adore the brash Gregg Williams in the defensive coordinator spot, but his unit has been equally guilty, as his unit ranks 25th in total defense this season.

Yet, it feels like the entire Gase era has been one long extension of a vote of confidence. It happened at his introduction, it happened when the Jets started off 1-7 last season, it continues to happen as 2020 continues to present more horrifying surprises.

The playoffs are obviously long removed from any form of New York football conversation. But the last 11-12 weeks of the season may mean everything to the Jets’ on-field representatives. Time will only tell how long the Gase experiment is allowed to continue, but some of these players could be playing for their football livelihoods, whether it’s with the Jets or elsewhere. If anything, it provides meaning to otherwise meaningless contests, starting with the adjusted matchup against the Dolphins on Sunday.

After all, if Le’Veon Bell isn’t safe in this system…how can they be?

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Something has to change as layoff looms large

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets are reportedly retaining Adam Gase. That shouldn’t stop them from making changes to prevent further embarrassment.

Providing a watchable primetime game for the football-loving masses doesn’t earn you any postseason real estate in the National Football League, but it apparently allows you to keep a tenuous grasp on a head coaching position.

Thursday night entertainment and competency wasn’t enough for the New York Jets to earn a victory, as they fell 37-28 to the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. The Jets (0-4) did tally a season-high in scoring and even led for the first time in 2020. But when the endgame remains defeat at the hands of a Denver squad trotting out a third-string quarterback and missing its playmakers, it’s hard to glean out any positives.

Despite this, the overseer of this winless operation, Adam Gase, isn’t going anywhere. Connor Hughes of The Athletic has revealed that Gase is not only secure through the upcoming ten-day layoff the Jets before an October 11 tilt against Arizona (1 p.m. ET, Fox) but that “the plan is for (Gase) to remain the team’s coach throughout the season, barring any dramatic circumstances that would make a change unavoidable”.

New York may have already reached such a point, but there’s no use arguing it. Gase’s seat has been warm since he opened his green office. Only a phantom 6-2 stretch, mostly earned against hopeless or resting teams, has lowered the temperature, and that might as well have happened a decade ago. The Jets, though, have appeared to hitch their wagon to the Gase truck and there’s no turning back. Star-crossed as their history may be, the Jets are a team that has mostly avoided the in-season firing. Charley Winner was the last example all the way back in 1974.

But if Gase isn’t going, someone has to respond for this.

When one looks at the modern Jets, there’s certainly room for potential. But, should that potential be recognized, has anyone earned the right to stick around for those hypothetical (for now) glory days? Can there even be glory days with this unit and this core? Other than Jamison Crowder and Sam Ficken, which veterans on this team can accurately say they’re in a better situation than they were in last season?

Be it a coach, be it a player, someone has to be held accountable in this early going.

The likely, more efficient, spot to make a change in the coaching staff. A macabre gift offered to the Jets in their de facto state of early elimination is that players have a dozen consequence-free opportunities to play for their jobs. Good, strong efforts on the field can be the difference between playing in the NFL…be it in New York or elsewhere…and waiting for an opportunity in Dwayne Johnson’s XFL in 2022…be it in New York or elsewhere.

But this coaching staff is not granting the Jets’ representatives the opportunity to do so. It’s one thing to post losing records but to look respectable doing it…that’s what the 2017 squad was doing under Josh McCown (5-8 as a starter with all but two losses by a single digit). But to repeatedly make no adjustments and constantly chalk deficiencies up to execution isn’t working.

Improvisation from Sam Darnold contributed to a good portion of the offensive output, including the 46-yard run to glory that dropped the jaws of football fans everywhere. With Le’Veon Bell out, Gase and his offensive staff have opted to leave a majority of his duties…and others…into the 37-year-old legs of Frank Gore, rather than testing the mettle of fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine. With the outcome decided after a Melvin Gordon-induced dagger, the Jets nonetheless engaged in unnecessary, dangerous extracurriculars, (the last of six personal foul penalties worth 15 yards each) ones that certainly look suspect when one looks like a Gregg Williams’ past (namely the New Orleans chapters). Gase has been lauded as an “offensive genius” by team CEO Christopher Johnson, but one view of Ryan Tannehill’s highlights from Tennessee, free from the Miami-induced purgatory of Gase and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains serves as a visual aid against description.

Even in defeat, the Jets aren’t being set up for success. There’s such a thing as a “good loss”…rebuilding teams thrive on such moral victories…but the Jets can’t even get those.

The next ten days could change the course of several careers. Wins in a brutal stretch (the Chargers, Bills, and Super Bowl champion Chiefs and Patriots immediately loom after the upstart Cardinals) are probably going to very hard to come by, but development can still be made. Personal growth can be attained. Wins, proverbial and personal, is there for the taking.

But that’s not going to come if the MetLife Stadium sidelines ten days from now is a duplicate of Thursday night.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags