New York Jets: The rumored favorite to replace Adam Gase

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets have had an awful start and will likely be looking for a new head coach this offseason (0-6). With a team in one of the biggest markets in the country, there were undoubtedly going to be rumors spread early. Now, the team already has it’s first rumored coaching candidate in Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell.

Campbell spent a lot of time throughout in different spots through the college ranks despite his quick rise to a head coaching gig. Campbell was a Grad Assistant at Bowling Green before switching between Mount Union, Bowling Green again, and Toledo.

While at Toledo, he was the offensive coordinator before being named head coach at 32 years old. He then led Toledo to a 35-15 record with two Bowl wins. After getting offered the job at Iowa State, Campbell headed to Iowa State to resurrect their program.

After an 11-14 start over the first two seasons, Campbell has coached the team to an 18-12 record. One reason Campbell has drawn the eye of many NFL execs is because of his squad’s impressive development in the 2018 season. The team managed to pull off two massive upsets against #3 Oklahoma and #4 TCU, and wins of that level of magnitude do not go unrecognized. Those kinds of wins show a coach has built such a strong culture in a locker room that they fail to be bogged down by the weight of facing upper-echelon competition.

The Iowa State team has shown so much growth that Campbell is a 2-time Big 12 Coach of the Year recipient. Campbell was asked to interview for the Jets opening in 2018, but he declined.

Now, things could be different. With a well respected general manager in Joe Douglas and an Albert Breer report that he is going to actively pursue Campbell, the potential of the Iowa State coach heading to Florham Park. Campbell would do a number of things. He would bring a fresh, innovative offensive mind to the team while also instilling a respectable culture. Campbell has had immense success to this point, and at 40 years old, his future is very bright. The same cannot be said for the Jets, but with a coach who is respectable and shares the same fresh perspective that Douglas has, it could just have a flickering light.

3 storylines to watch in Denver Broncos Vs New York Jets matchup

The New York Jets (0-3) will take on the Denver Broncos (0-3) in tonight’s game. The game was one I was eager to see prior to the season. I hoped the headlines would be all about Drew Lock vs Sam Darnold or about how the Jets improved defense would handle the Broncos young and talented offense. Instead, we have Brett Rypien at the helm of a banged-up Broncos team and the Jets fighting for any shred of respect they could salvage this season. Here are the things I am watching for in the battle of two of the worst AFC teams to this point.

Adam Gase’s Funeral?

After the Jets got embarrassed this past Sunday in Indianapolis, the heat beneath Adam Gase’s seat became flames. Rumors have swirled all week from Colin Cowherd, Chris Mortensen, and many other top insiders that this could be the end of the road for Gase if the team is blown out. The consensus is, the team needs to implode for Gase to be ousted. The Broncos would need to perform similarly to the 49ers in Week 2 for Gase to go. The odds are in Gase’s favor to still be the coach of this team come Friday morning, but the Jets are wearing all black tomorrow night, so maybe this could be Gase’s New York Jet funeral.

Brett Rypien’s First Career Start

Rypien starting tonight brings me back to the game the Jets played when Luke Falk stepped in on Thursday night last year. Rypien was a practice squad fixture until just a week ago, but after going 8/9 for 53 yards and a pick in the end zone, he will get a shot to run the offense, at least to start, tonight. Broncos coach Vic Fangio has said he will see a role where Jeff Driskel gets work as well. Last year the Jets preyed on weak QBs like Dwayne Haskins Jr., Matt Barkley, and Devlin Hodges. Although this Jets defense is a shell of what it was last year, Gregg Williams is still here, and he knows how to make young QBs uncomfortable. The Broncos have also allowed 13 sacks, which stands as the second-most in the league. The Jets could look to make this a really rough debut for the nephew of former NFL vet Mark Rypien.

Sam Darnold Needs To Rebound

The Jets offense floundered last weekend, but particularly so did Sam Darnold. With three interceptions, Sam Played one of his worst pro games. Tonight though, he gets a returning Jamison Crowder along with a budding connection with Braxton Berrios. Darnold needs to come out swinging tonight; Gase needs to let him run around and sling it. He needs to get rid of the receiver screens and take some shots downfield. They need to open up the playbook because win or loss, the most paramount issue is getting Darnold some momentum back.

When could the New York Jets fire Adam Gase?

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The consistent fan consensus has been the New York Jets will pack Adam Gase’s bag for his flight out of Florham Park. That consensus, though, is not that. Ownership has lauded Gase as a “brilliant mind.” Chris Johnson has been a very vocal supporter of Adam Gase, and for him to just switch gears and cut ties with him, well, it would take a drastic downfall. The likes of which we are beginning to see a glimpse of.

Analyzing past trends:

Last season featured a rarity in terms of coaching firings. There tends to be a coach fired in season, but never two. Jay Gruden was given a short leash heading into his 2019 campaign, and that was evident after his 0-5 start landed him without a job.

Ron Rivera (now Washington head coach), was also handed his walking papers near the back half of last season as well, which was surprising. Although Rivera’s situation lacks resemblance to this one, looking at Gruden’s situation, there are many parallels. Gruden was axed after an embarrassment of a start.

The team looked to show no progression after losing veteran QB Alex Smith to a career-altering injury and showed no growth in terms of offense whatsoever. See the connection now? The Football Team organization has been renowned as the most incompetent in all of football, yet even they could recognize when it was time to let go of their guy. Another scenario similar to this occurred two years ago with Hue Jackson. Jackson was a supposed innovator on offense and was given a fairly decent sized leash in Cleveland, another organization filled with incompetence. Yet they knew when to cut ties with him as well, they did hire another fairly bad coach in Freddie Kitchens, but at least they knew when enough was enough.

When will the New York Jets know?

It’s time for the Jets to break things off in the Gase. What will it take for Adam Gase to see that? Well, the first two blowout losses undoubtedly helped, but it’s going to take at least two more. If the Jets get blown out today, the pressure will continue to mount, and the walls will begin to close in. If they continue to show no growth, that will also be a reason to ax Gase.

Now, if the Jets are competitive in the next few games, then that could save Gase up until the bye week, then the Jets would have a full span to transition power. If Jet fans really want Gase out, they need to hope that they get torn apart in the next two to three weeks. If this happens, then the Jets could finally cut ties with Gase. In this case scenario, the quicker it is over, the better. This season is NOT a lost cause, but as long as Gase is around, it always will be.

New York Jets enjoy one silver lining in awful week 2 loss

New York Jets, Quinnen Williams

When New York Jets‘ Quinnen Williams was selected with the third overall pick just a year ago, he was touted as the next superstar defensive lineman. The supposed “can’t miss talent” from Alabama (a defensive line factory) struggled in his rookie year.

With just over two sacks and only a few solid plays in his rookie season, he spent the offseason training and turning into a well-tuned machine. With his own personal lofty expectations of becoming a game wrecker, Quinnen was rather quiet in Buffalo. Until he turned it up today.

The New York Jets saw the potential of their stud interior defender: 

Quinnen took advantage of a big opportunity against a weakened 49ers offense. Since Jimmy Garoppalo lacked weaponry with star tight end and wide receivers George Kittle and DeeBoo Samuel out of Sunday’s game. When Brandon Aiyuk, Bourne, and Reed struggled to create separation, that created opportunity.

Williams took advantage of the lack of separation and bull-rushed through that offensive line multiple times. His first sack was a complete domination of LG Laken Tomlinson. His second was a bullrush through the heart of the line that forced a fumble on backup quarterback Nick Mullens.

Williams also nabbed a TFL and a few tackles. In just one game, Williams nearly replicated his 1st season sack total. Williams still needs to continue this success throughout the season, but for a guy being labeled a bust by some, his success must feel great. He’s no Aaron Donald, but the New York Jets had a dreary day, and Williams stood as a refreshing, bright spot.

New York Jets Position Group Grades: Defensive Line

New York Jets, Quinnen Williams

As the season looms, I decided to take a deep dive into each New York Jets position group within the organization and grade each group. Today’s group is one that is full of talent from top to bottom. From vets to high potential young pieces, this group is not about the individuals but rather the collective unit itself. Gregg Williams is a mastermind in defensive line rotations, and that showed last season. With one of the top rushing defenses in all of football, this group will be graded as a unit rather than as individual pieces. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the defensive line.

The Starters: Steve McLendon (NT), Henry Anderson & Quinnen Williams

The New York Jets have one key leader up front. Steve McLendon has been a consistent captain and leader in the Jets locker room. His presence is felt on the field as a run stuffer and a consistent force up the middle. He’s one of the most consistent nose tackles in the league, and I expect that to continue this season. Henry Anderson had a breakout season after being acquired from the Colts two years ago. Now, this could very well be his last season donning the green and white. Last season was a quiet year for Anderson, and if he can’t establish more of a presence, he will have a lessened role quickly. Quinnen Williams is the key x-factor of this front seven as a whole. Williams is no longer the baby he was in his first year. Williams looks more athletic and sounds more confident. He had a great camp, and I’m expecting a breakout year from the former 3rd overall selection.

Backups: John Franklin-Myers, Folorunso Fatukasi, Nathan Shepherd, Kyle Phillips, and Jordan Willis.

This group is one that is crucial to the defensive line’s success as a whole. All five guys are expected to play a role in the rotation immediately. Myers had an impressive camp and earned a roster spot, so it’ll be intriguing to see what kind of role he has early. Fatukasi and Phillips are two starting-caliber linemen who had phenomenal years last year. Both men established themselves as two of the most talented young pieces on the defense. Fatukasi is the likely successor to McLendon and Phillips to Anderson. Both guys will look to continue their success in 2020. Shepherd was a highly touted selection from Canada during the former regime’s run. Todd Bowles could never really find a role with him, but the same can’t be said about Williams. Shepherd has role fairly quickly as a rotational end, and I expect him to continue to grow in that spot in 2020. Willis is in a similar spot to Phillips last year, where he will need a strong season to earn a spot in the rotation, but that’s entirely plausible.

Grade: A

As I’ve said, individually, I’m not going to rave about any one piece of the puzzle. When put together, though, with the magic of Williams, this unit is incredibly talented. I fully expect them to take a step forward this year with growth from Quinnen, Fatukasi, and Phillips. I ultimately believe those three will be the key pieces of this line for the next few years. I’m excited for this group, and I’m glad that this is the one group I’ll probably give an A to of all the groups in New York.

New York Jets Position Group Grades: Offensive Line

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

As the season looms, I decided to take a deep dive into each position group within the organization and grade each group. This offseason, New York Jets GM Joe Douglas devoted both financial resources and draft capital towards improving one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Now, the Jets enter 2020 with a diverse group of both young talent, productive starters, and vets looking to establish themselves. With a lot of high potential guys, stable vets, and some key talent, let’s take a closer look at how this line grades out.

LT: Mekhi Becton

The mountain of a man joined the Jets as the 11th pick in this year’s draft. As part of the core group of top linemen, Becton is already considered to be a potential star. His unique combination of size and athleticism makes him a weapon in the run game. Not only that, but he’s a solid pass blocker. His lack of advancement in terms of detecting pass rush moves is worrisome, but it remains to be seen how ready he is to handle the top pass rushers in the game.

LG: Alex Lewis

Lewis was an aggressive and vocal leader in that offensive line room last year. Now he’s carved out a role on the roster and as a starter. Right now, his health for Sunday is questionable. In the short term, Lewis is classified as an average starter, but a strong season could earn him a long term role in the green and white.

C: Connor McGovern

The prized signing of the offensive line and my favorite new addition is the key man up front. McGovern is one of the most underrated centers in the game. McGovern is one of the least penalized linemen in football and one of the highest quality centers. His veteran presence and skill will add stability at the center of the line and contribute to the cohesiveness of the entire unit.

RG: Greg VanRoten

A lifelong Jet fan will be a starter from day one. VanRoten is just like Lewis. Both want to be here. Are fighting for a job next year and are quality linemen, but not superb. VanRoten is a poor pass blocker and a solid run blocker. If he can just hold his own as a pass blocker and provide stability, that will be a big asset. In the end, my hopes are mid-level for VanRoten this season.

RT: George Fant

Fant is not a crazy talented right tackle. He’s not going to be the reason this unit takes a big step up. However, Fant is built more like a tight end than a lineman. His athleticism is the best of any lineman on this team. His ability to fit into Adam Gase’s scheme and be a lead blocker is something that is a plus for the team. Still, Fant is unproven and the most worrisome of all the starting linemen, and I’m intrigued to see if he develops throughout the season or if the Jets turn elsewhere.

Bench: Josh Andrews, Cam Clark, Connor McDermott, Chuma Edoga & Leo Koloamatangi

This bench is not one that is loaded with talent. Instead, it’s loaded with guys who have the potential to come in and be an average filler if need be. They’re cheap and young linemen who provide a lot of versatility. Two guys to watch in this bunch are Clark and Edoga. Edoga was a starter in the past and could slot in for Fant if he struggles. The rookie, Clark has the potential to be a long term fixture on this line if given a shot.

Grade: B-

This line is still not proven or where it needs to be yet. The lack of in-game reps together is worrisome. Still, the talent is there and the competitive fire. This is a group that could outperform this grade. If they can be improved, they could be the reason this offense takes a massive jump. If they don’t, they could once again be the detriment of the team.

New York Jets position group evaluations: Tight Ends

New York Jets, Chris Herndon

As the season looms, I decided to take a deep dive into each New York Jets position group within the organization and grade each group. Today’s group is one of the most encouraging groups on the roster. That is the tight end room. From a highly anticipated bounce back tight end to a standout veteran, to a potential diamond in the rough, this group is one of the best on the roster. So let’s get into it.

TE 1: Chris Herndon

Without a doubt, the most anticipated return on this roster is Chris Herndon. Last season, Herndon entered the year with very high hopes. After a suspension and an upper buddy injury, Herndon’s sophomore season was a bust. Now, he’s back, and he’s been a star of camp. Reporters have been consistent across the board in their lauding of how he will be the critical piece to Sam Darnold’s success. With the lack of receiver depth, Herndon will be counted on to play a significant role. As I previously wrote, Herndon will either be the X-Factor of the offense and the key reason Darnold takes the next step or the reason Darnold has nobody to turn to when the play breaks down.

TE 2: Ryan Griffin

Last season, without Herndon, many analysts wondered who’d step up at tight end. Those questions were quickly dispelled with the impressive play of Griffin. With 34 catches for 320 yards and five touchdowns, Griffin proved to be a huge red zone threat. If Herndon can be the dynamic threat over the top and outside (when need be), then Griffin will be able to play a huge role in red zone success. As long as both guys can stay healthy when the Jets put out two tight end sets, they could be a force to be reckoned with. Griffin does tend to struggle with consistency, though, so as long as he doesn’t become a non-factor, he’ll be a great piece of the offense.

TE 3: Trevon Wesco

The West Virginia product was a curious selection by the former front office regime when he was picked in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. Wesco wouldn’t have been a controversial pick if he was known as a dynamic threat in the red zone or over the middle like the two other tight ends in the room, but he was traditionally known as a blocking tight end. Then, this offseason, he became a much more well-rounded athlete as Adam Gase has stated, and he’s found a real rhythm in camp reportedly. If Wesco can show in-game that he can be a weapon, that would only make the offense all the better.

Grade: A-

This group is FAR from a proven group. With that said, the way Douglas and Gase have built this group, they have potential to complement each other very nicely. Not only that but with the lack of depth at receiver, these guys will be counted on to step up. I truly believe this group has potential to shock some people this year and mask some of the Jets offensive inadequacies. 

New York Jets Position Group Grades: Running backs

New York Jets, Leveon Bell

As the season looms, I decided to take a deep dive into each position group within the New York Jets‘ organization and grade each group. Today’s group is the running backs. Headlined by a thinner and motivated Le’Veon Bell, the ageless wonder that is Frank Gore, and the dynamic rookie in LaMical Perine. It’s a good group with a lot of potential, but how much can potential carry this group, let’s take a closer look.

RB 1: Le’Veon Bell

Without question, Lev Bell is the lead back for the 2020 campaign. Bell is determined to prove that last season’s poor performance was a fluke. He set a record for the lost YPC in franchise history, and I’m sure that doesn’t sit well with him. Bell is lighter than last year, has more quality linemen blocking for him and a coach taking accountability for his poor usage. Still, how much of that is fools gold. Bell is still struggling to keep frustrations quiet, and we know what happened last time a Jet did that. The offensive line could fail to gel and prove to hinder the offense early on. Most of all, Adam Gase may decide to take more of a committee approach and not give Bell the reps he truly deserves. I think Bell will be more improved this year, but I can’t say have I have the same confidence in Adam Gase to use him properly.

RB 2: Frank Gore

Fresh off another year of not looking like he’s slowing down. The 37-year-old running back is being counted on to play two roles this season. After jumping to #3 on the all-time rushing yard rankings, Frank Gore has continued to be an aggressive and productive back. He’ll be counted on to get meaningful reps early.

Gore is also being counted on as a leader and mentor to the younger backs in Perine and Bell. Gore is going to have his hands full trying to keep Bell quiet and still mentor Perine as a rusher. If anyone can do it, though, Gore can. Gore has been touted as one of the most impressive rushers in camp, and I’m genuinely excited to see his impact with the squad. I just hope Gase doesn’t overuse him in lieu of Bell.

RB 3: LaMical Perine

Perine suffered a low-grade ankle sprain that had potential to be A LOT worse. I and Jets fans everywhere feared the worse upon the report he was carted from practice. Now, Perine will hopefully be back quickly and able to contribute by Week 2 at the latest. Perine has the potential to be a change of pace back that really compliments the punch you in the mouth rushing style the other two backs have. Perine has flashed his impressive speed early and often in camp, and I’m excited to see him take the field as well. Perine needs to get some reps early to see if he is capable of being the long term back for this team. I’m weary of his durability and overall productivity, but ultimately I’m hoping for the best.

Grade: B

I really like this group. It’s one of my favorite position groups on this roster as a whole. I think the combination of potential with veteran presence is something that could really benefit the team as a whole. Plus, the value Bell brings as a pass-catcher adds another dimension to the offense. I have high hopes for this team. My biggest fear is Adam Gase is the reason I get let down. 

New York Jets add former Air Force defensive back to ranks

New York Jets, Zane Lewis

The New York Jets have added a new piece to the secondary in the former track star and defensive back Zane Lewis. Lewis was signed by the Cardinals as a UDFA out of Air Force for the most money of any of the 21 UDFAs they brought on.

When watching him, a few key abilities show why he earned the money he did originally. His speed, versatility, and on-field production are big reasons why and why the Jets picked him up quickly.

How will Zane Lewis fit in with the New York Jets: 

At Air Force, Lewis played in 37 games with 94 tackles, 5 TFLs, and 2 INTs. In 2019, Zane played in all 13 of their games and put up 45 tackles and one pick. He also finished fourth in the Mountain West for pass deflections with 15 as well.

Lewis was a key contributor and leader for a squad that had their best year in a long time, finishing 11-2. Lewis received a lot of compliments during the pre-draft process for his coverage abilities and his vertical speed. His biggest flaws though, came when looking at his tackling. It was evident in watching him shortly that he needs to get better as a tackler to stick in the league.

With the Jets they have a lot of depth at corner currently. That doesn’t mean much, though. Aside from Pierre Desir, Bless Austin, and Brian Poole, there is no clear 4th option. If Lewis comes in and performs quickly, he could fight for that role at some point. Still, with his flaws, he will need to shape up quickly. If he does, the speedy corner could be a nice addition. 

Jets cancel practice, stand behind protests for greater change in society

New York Jets

Following in suit of the NBA, some MLB teams, the Lions, the Washington Football Team, and the Colts, the New York Jets have canceled today’s practice. As teams continue to formulate their responses to the Jacob Blake shooting that occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Jets have been the latest to cancel practice as a way of protesting for greater change.

Yesterday, current Owner Christopher Johnson addressed the team in wake of the shooting as Connor Hughes of The Athletic wrote:

“Christopher Johnson spoke to Jets about the Blake shooting — this after he gave every member of team his cell number to talk about social injustice whenever they need someone. ‘You just don’t see that’, coach Frank Bush says. ‘It is rare. It’s a rare situation.’”

Johnson has shown he won’t take a nonresponsive stance towards the current state of our country which is something that no doubt carried over to the decision to cancel practice.

Another factor in that decision was the player’s outcry. Yesterday in speaking to the media, new safety Bradley McDougald and slot wide receiver Jamison Crowder both were incredibly passionate about the need for change within our country and our communities. Their heads are evidently and understandably focused on a much bigger societal issue and football should no doubt come second to that right now.

So, with a little over two weeks until the Jets take the field, they’ve joined the rest of the pro sports world in taking a stance against social injustice. Where this heads in terms of professional sports returning and the impact it makes remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, just like everything else going on in 2020, this is one for the history books.