Should the New York Jets pursue star New England offensive lineman in free agency?

New England Patriots, Joe Thuney

Heading into last offseason, one of the hottest commodities projected to hit the market was two-time Super Bowl champion and all-pro offensive guard Joe Thuney. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins were reportedly set to back up the brinks truck to Thuney in hopes he would anchor his offensive line. Then, the Patriots threw a wrench in those plans by tagging Thuney. Now, Thuney will reportedly be allowed to seek a new home this offseason. With Mekhi Becton as the solidified anchor of the offensive line at left tackle, here is why Joe Thuney can give the Jets one of the best tackle/guard combos in football.

Who is Joe Thuney?

Joe Thuney grew up in Ohio and was one of four children. Thuney was not a stranger to success early in life, he was a member of two state championship football teams, he was named offensive lineman of the year in the Greater Catholic League, and was class president in his senior year of high school. Thuney was well-liked on and off the gridiron, and this led to an opportunity to play at NC State. At NC State, Thuney played all over the offensive line taking snaps at center, both tackle spots, and guard during his time with the program. Thuney graduated NC State in three years and received All American honors.

After a successful beginning to his football career, Thuney was selected with the 78th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. In five seasons, Thuney has played every single game, not only that, but he has been a team-first guy being adaptable this past season and making the switch to tackle with Marcus Cannon opting out and creating a void. Thuney has been both a depiction of stability and success, winning two rings during his tenure with the Pats.

Why The Jets?

Thuney will command a monster deal this offseason. As one of the most reliable and consistent linemen in the game, he will be paid as such. Now, Joe Douglas has been rather set in his evaluations of certain players in the past, but offensive linemen have been his most focused entity in his brief tenure as general manager to this point. The potential of having two beasts on the offensive line for the long-term future in Thuney and Becton is something the well-traveled exec may not be able to pass up. Not only that, but as we saw just a few weeks ago with Patrick Mahomes, if you don’t have protection, the entire rhythm of the game plan is thrown out the window.

On a relatively young team, Thuney would slot in as a leader and building block for the future. We are talking about a durable, smart, and versatile piece that fits the mold of everything Douglas seems to look for in the guys he wants to fill out his roster with. Add all that into the fact that he is successful no matter the stop. Thuney could be used anywhere on the line, but the idea of Becton and Thuney anchoring the left side could be too much to pass up. No matter where you put him on the line, Thuney would be a massive addition to the team and someone the Jets should not let slip away.

New York Jets positional preview 2021: Offensive line

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

No matter who plays quarterback for the New York Jets in 2021, they’re going to need someone blocking for them.

The Position: Offensive Line
On the Roster: Greg Van Roten, Conor McDermott, Connor McGovern, Jimmy Murray, Mekhi Becton, Cameron Clark, Chuma Edoga, George Fant, Alex Lewis
Free Agents: Pat Elflein, Josh Andrews
Reserve/Future: N/A

If Joe Douglas made one thing clear upon taking the New York Jets’ general manager spot, it was that he was going to work on an offensive line that Mike Maccagnan mostly neglected.

Save for choosing Chuma Edoga with what became the final day two pick of his tenure, Maccagan avoided building the line with his early selections. Prior to Maccagan using one of his final picks on Chuma Edoga in 2019’s third round, Brian Winters was the last blocker chosen within the draft’s first three sessions in 2013. The last premiere choices were the legendary D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Nick Mangold haul during the 2006 selections.

Once Douglas got to work in the late stages of summer 2019, he quickly let everyone know that the Jets were under management by getting to work on the line. He sent a late draft pick to Baltimore to bring in Alex Lewis and convinced Carolina mainstay Ryan Kalil to delay his retirement. While the results have been mixed…the Kalil experiment blew up and Lewis has been in and out of the starting lineup…Douglas had a plan to build the offense up.

He kept things up last season, as Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant joined the team through free agency. During his first draft, Douglas bypassed name-brand receivers like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Justin Jefferson to take Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton. The veterans struggled, but Douglas appears to have chosen a keeper in Becton, who served as a rare silver lining during his debut campaign. Douglas didn’t stop there, taking Charlotte football’s longest-tenured player Cameron Clarke with the last of three fourth-round picks.

Becton appears to be a long-term asset in New York, but many of the deals have opt-outs after a single year. In fact, the only free agent in the entire 2020 free agency class with a dedication beyond last season is Connor McGovern. Some cap saving moves…the release of George Fant would save the team over $5 million, for example…may lead the Jets to a complete retooling of their blocking for the second straight season…with the exception of Becton at the blind side, of course.

Questions plague the Jets’ quarterback situation, as many question whether Sam Darnold will get a fourth year in the franchise thrower role. But no matter who’s throwing, the quarterback’s endeavors will be meaningless if he has no protection. There’s a long way to go to finish building the wall.

Free Agents-to-be 

G Josh Andrews

Andrews was a career-long depth man who earned a Super Bowl ring with Douglas while serving on Philadelphia’s practice squad. He was initially part of the final training camp cuts, but he returned to partake in all but one game. He even started four, including the final three when Van Roten went down, the first starts of his career.

G Pat Elflein 

Bid farewell from Minnesota in November, Elflein was a bit of a peace offering for Adam Gase when the departed head coach Adam Gase butted heads. Since Lewis has been a rare consistent prescience in the Jets’ blocking corps, it’s likely that Elflein will likely ship off in search of new opportunities.

Will They Draft?

It’s a very strong possibility. Douglas knows the importance of picking a lineman and likely won’t hesitate to use an early pick to find either an immediate contributor or a depth option that could raise the heat on any returnees. If the Jets resolve their quarterback situation prior to the draft, many have pegged Oregon standout Penei Sewell to at No. 2. Sewell skipped the entire 2020 campaign but his breakthrough sophomore showing a season prior will not be soon forgotten. But with Sewell lining in the same blindspot as Becton, the Jets will likely seek help on the right side. Thus, choosing Texas’ Sam Cosmi or the versatile Rashawn Slater of Northwestern with the Seattle pick at No. 23 or their regularly scheduled second-round choice at No. 34 seems a lot more realistic.

Veteran Possibilities

G Joe Thuney, New England

Lewis has been serviceable at left guard, but if Thuney presents himself, the Jets would likely be in the running. The Jets targeted Thuney during the last free agency period, but the Patriots put the franchise tag on him. It’s likely that Thuney is going to look for some long-term stability this time around, and the Jets certainly have the cap space to afford such a premier blocking talent.

G Brandon Scherff, Washington

Over the past few tumultuous seasons of Washington football, Scherff has been a rare consistent silver lining…when he plays, that is. The four-time Pro Bowler hasn’t played a full season since his sophomore season back in 2016 but has been a dominant prescience in the nation’s capital. Bringing him in would be the true definition of a high-risk/high-reward situation.

T Daryl Williams, Buffalo

Signed to a relatively cheap one-year deal as a depth option, Williams came up big for the Bills when injuries hit their blocking corps, namely Cody Ford. He partook in over 95 percent of Buffalo’s offensive snaps and became a generally reliable piece alongside fellow free agent Jon Feliciano on the right side. A former All-Pro, Williams will likely seek a bigger contract this time around, but he can be looked upon as not only a solid contributor but as a provider of veteran guidance the Jets desperately need.

Outlook

A poor offensive line can sink even the most potent of offenses. Look no further than what happened to the Kansas City Chiefs during Sunday’s Super Bowl festivities. With Eric Fisher out, Patrick Mahomes was left running for his life constantly thanks to a relentless Tampa Bay rush ordered by Todd Bowles. The onslaught undoubtedly played a factor in the Chiefs’ eventual 31-9 defeat. New York, of course, is miles further from returning to the Super Bowl, so far away that the journey is probably going to take several years. The process should with building up the blocking. Draft Becton was a good start, and it certainly seems like the Louisville product is here to stay. But there’s a long, long way to go when it comes to protecting the quarterback on a reliable basis. Not matter who’s under center, the Jets need to bolster the wall in front of him. Douglas has gotten off to a good start in filling this dire need. Further change is undoubtedly coming, but whether it’s through the draft or free agency remains to be seen.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants should see further offensive line improvements in 2021

New York Giants, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants‘ offensive line was inconsistent in 2020. The Giants have had struggles across their offensive line for years now. It is a problem the Giants seemingly cannot fix. However, they are slowly working towards improving the offensive line, investing plenty of assets into the unit over the past two years.

The Giants traded for Kevin Zeitler in 2019 and signed Nate Solder to a huge contract in the 2018 free agency period. These are the two moves New York has made to acquire veteran talent on the offensive line. In 2020, though, the Giants shifted towards a more youthful approach on the offensive line.

New York spent the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on left tackle Andrew Thomas. They then doubled down at the position in the third round, selecting offensive tackle Matt Peart with pick number ninety-nine. But the Giants were not done there. They also spent a fifth-round pick on offensive guard Shane Lemieux in 2020.

These rookies saw plenty of playing time in the 2020 regular season. However, their performance was not always consistently good. However, there are reasons to believe that the Giants’ offensive line will improve further in 2021.

Continuity is key

The New York Giants’ offensive line severely lacked continuity and experience in 2020. Along with the rookies that saw extensive playing time, the Giants started second-year lineman Nick Gates at center, a position he had never played before. Gates was practically a rookie as well.

Taking that into consideration, the Giants had experienced players at only two of the five offensive line positions last season. Right guard Kevin Zeitler is an excellent, veteran player. Right tackle Cam Fleming is also an experienced veteran. However, the rest of the line was comprised of rookies and inexperienced players for the majority of the season.

The Giants also had no continuity along their offensive line. In terms of calling protections and passing off stunts, continuity and chemistry is crucial. No one on the Giants’ offensive line in 2020 lined up next to a teammate that they lined up next to in 2019.

Kevin Zeitler was placed between a brand new center and a brand new right tackle. The absence of Nate Solder left rookie Andrew Thomas as the Giants’ starting left tackle, sandwiching the left guard position between two newly acquired players.

The 2021 season will see the Giants’ offensive line play with far more chemistry and continuity than they did in 2020. There is not likely to be much overturn at all along New York’s offensive line. There could be a change made at the right tackle position, but the other four positions will likely be manned by the same players from last season. Additionally, the Giants made a change at the offensive line coach position midseason in 2020. Hopefully, in 2021, New York’s front line can enjoy the coaching of a singular coach. This second-year together could allow the Giants’ offensive line to grow and develop into a more continuous and consistent unit.

New York Jets: Connor McGovern rips those calling for tanking

New York Jets

The New York Jets’ blocker hasn’t taken kindly to those hoping for the team’s intentional demise to secure the top draft pick next spring.

Over the final three weeks of a dreary 2020 season, the New York Jets (0-13) are going to try and win a game…whether their fans like it or not.

So scorned have Jets fans been by this season from the depths of the football underworld that some vocal legions have taken to openly rooting against them in hopes of securing the top overall pick in next spring’s draft. The Jets currently “lead” the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12) by one game in the race for the top pick, who is widely believed to be Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. 

Neither team appears destined for a win during Sunday’s Week 15 action, as the Jets head out west to battle the Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox) while Jacksonville heads to Baltimore to face the Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS). Both Los Angeles and Baltimore are in the thick of their respective conference’s playoff chase and are thus heavily favored. 

Jets blocker Connor McGovern, however, isn’t playing into any draft hype. The 2020 acquisition, in fact, had some harsh words for any Jet fan looking ahead to Lawrence-inspired antics and openly rooting for their squad’s demise.

“I don’t put my body through this, I don’t think anybody on the Jets puts their body through it, to lose,” McGovern said this week, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “It might be easy for somebody sitting on the couch, eating pizza, chips, and dip, to say they should keep losing, but if they’ve ever strapped the pads on, that sounds like an impossible thing for me to do. I’m going to do whatever I can to win.”

McGovern, 27, has been a rare beacon of green consistency as the only Jets’ offensive starter to begin each of their 13 games to date, despite dealing with a hamstring issue for a good portion of the year. He is one of the rare offseason acquisitions whose status for next year is relatively safe, as his contract was the only veteran deal the Jets signed that doesn’t include a potential 2021 out. Formerly of the Denver Broncos, he has yet to partake in an NFL playoff game, a streak that will obviously continue this season.

New York Jets, Connor Mcgovern
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nonetheless, don’t expect the Jets’ lost season to prevent McGovern from doing anything he can to add to the left side of their standings columns.

“Honestly, I think it’s been a good growing year for me,” he said, per Joyce. “I’ve seen a lot of personal growth, starting off a little bit rougher than I have from the past and playing at a much higher level here in this homestretch and being the player the Jets paid me to be and hopefully more than the Jets paid me to be.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Alex Lewis among Sunday absentees for NFI injury

The New York Jets’ veteran blocker will not partake in Sunday’s game against Las Vegas after being placed on the non-football injury list.

The New York Jets have placed offensive lineman Alex Lewis on their reserve/non-football injury list.

Head coach Adam Gase announced on Friday that Lewis would not partake in Sunday’s home game against the Las Vegas Raiders (1 p.m. ET, CBS). According to notes from the Jets, Gase said that Lewis’ departure was “an organizational decision”. He would also insist that Lewis’ departure was not disciplinary and that he has continued to attend positional meetings.

“He’ll be out for the game,” Gase said. “He’s been in meetings…As soon as we have a resolution to this, then we can talk more about it.”

With his placement on the NFI list, Lewis will miss at least the next three games, eligible to return for the Jets’ penultimate game of the season on December 27 against the Cleveland Browns.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini shed some light on Lewis’ situation, mentioning that he is seeking help for an “off-the-field issue”. The Jets will continue to pay him during this process.

Lewis, 28, is in the midst of his second season with the Jets, having come over in a late-summer trade with the Baltimore Ravens during the 2019 offseason. Pro Football Focus has Lewis consistently ranked as the second-best lineman among qualifiers behind only Mekhi Becton. Lewis signed a three-year contract extension during the offseason but could be a salary cap casualty with the Jets poised to save just over $5.3 million if he is released.

It’s possible that relative newcomer Pat Elfein could take over for Lewis in his spot on the offensive line’s interior. Elfein took over for Lewis last week against Miami and previously made 43 starts over three-plus seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He appeared in Minnesota’s Week 1 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but was sidelined with a thumb injury that led to a stint on injured reserve. The Jets signed him shortly after Minnesota released him upon activation from IR. Elfein was limited in Friday’s practice with a shoulder ailment.

Despite the loss of Lewis, the Jets (0-11) will be getting some of their blocking depth back, as Gase said that he expects to have both George Fant and Chuma Edoga back from ankle issues after each missed last week’s loss to Miami in East Rutherford. Fant was limited on Friday, but while Edoga was a full participant every day this week.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Greg Van Roten isn’t buying into talks of a tank

New York Jets

As New York Jets fans clamor to clinch positioning for 2021’s top overall pick, Greg Van Roten made it clear that the team wants to win.

New York Jets fans often complain about “having” to watch their team play, but they can opt-out at any time. Greg Van Roten, however, has literally seen everything.

The offensive lineman, working his way through his first season as a Jet, has partaken in every single offensive snap the Jets have had over their first ten games. Van Roten has become a welcome staple of relative consistency on a unit that has seen a drastic amount of in-season turnover through injuries and transactions. He’s provided some of the few silver linings in New York football this season, such as the top guard ranking from Pro Football Focus during Week 5 action.

It hasn’t been enough, however, to keep the Jets away from pro football infamy. New York (0-10) is the only winless team left in the NFL and many believe they’re destined to join the 2008 Detroit Lions and the 2017 Cleveland Browns in the unholy brotherhood of carrying an 0-16 record. They’re also the only team mathematically eliminated from the NFL postseason after 11 weeks of play.

The light at the end of the tunnel in a winless scenario won’t be reached until spring, as imperfection would undoubtedly net the Jets the top overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. With five of the Jets’ final six opponents either holding or tied for a current playoff spot, many Jets fans are willing to bite the bullet and take the goose egg in the win column if it means hearing Roger Goodell inform the NFL world that the team will be on the clock first when the selection meetings commence.

Van Roten isn’t buying into that idea for a second.

“Why would you want to be in that group?” Van Roten asked rhetorically in his Wednesday post-practice availability, per Jack Bell of NewYorkJets.com. “The hunger is there, especially if you’re older. I don’t want to be a part of one season that is historically bad. We have six games left and we will try to win as many as we can.”

“It doesn’t matter to me,” he continued. “If we lose every game it’s possible that I’m not here next year. Nothing in this league is guaranteed. Not the next game, the next year, or the next play. In this league, you can’t concern yourself with the long term.”

The 30-year-old signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract after spending the prior three seasons with the Carolina Panthers, but the Jets can save over $3 million in cap space if they release him prior to June 1 after this season.

Van Roten isn’t the first Jet to speak out against Jets fans’ apparent wishes of 0-16. Veteran rusher and fellow first-year Jet Frank Gore issued similar sentiments after the Jets’ latest loss, a 34-28 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers last weekend. The blocker referenced Gore’s statements and said that they are by no means the only ones in the locker room to believe it.

Furthermore, Van Roten doesn’t want the Jets to stop at one win. If and when that victory comes, he believes the Jets can conjure up more. 

“When we win, it will be a relief for sure,” he said, per Bell. “You never expect to lose this many in a row in this league. When we finally win, we want to get another and another.”

The Jets’ quest for a win continues on Sunday, as the Jets battle the Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, CBS). 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets add to offensive line through waivers

New York Jets

The New York Jets have claimed former Minnesota Viking Pat Elflein, who was released from his NFC North squad on Saturday.

The New York Jets have called for reinforcement to their offensive line as they return from their bye week, claiming veteran blocker Pat Elflein off the waivers list.

Elflein, 26, has worked as a center and guard on both sides. The interior lineman was chosen in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings (70th overall). He went on to partake in 44 games with Minnesota, starting all but one, though injuries have reduced him to a single game this season, starting at right guard and sharing snapping duties with Garrett Bradbury in the Vikings’ opening weekend loss to Green Bay.

A thumb injury suffered in practice has since kept him sidelined. Elflein was placed on injured reserve short after the ailment. He was activated last Friday but was placed on waivers the next day.

The Jets (0-9) are currently working with offseason free agents signees veterans Connor McGovern and Josh Andrews at center while Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten respectively flank the left and right interior roles. Their offense is coming off a season-high output of 322 yards in their last tilt, a 30-27 last-second defeat last Monday night against the New England Patriots. The latest defeat came with a bit of a hefty casualty on the offensive line, as starting tackle and first-round pick Mekhi Becton left in the first half with a chest injury and did not return.

New York will once again roll out Joe Flacco at quarterback in their next contest on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS) as head coach Adam Gase said that Sam Darnold was still nursing a shoulder injury, per notes provided by the team.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: Offensive line showing no signs of improvement in 2020

New York Giants, Will Hernandez

The New York Giants have had issues across their offensive line for years now. Entering the 2020 NFL season, the expectations were set higher for the Giants’ front line. New York invested heavily in their offensive line and upgraded the positional unit’s coach. But so far, these improvements have not shown up on the field.

The Giants have gone up against two of the NFL’s best front-sevens in the first two weeks of the season. New York’s new offensive line has been given two extremely tough tasks to kickoff 2020. But the Giants’ “new & improved” line has not handled these tasks well at all.

A Disappointing First Two Weeks

The New York Giants’ offensive line has surrendered an insane amount of pressure in 2020. Through two games, the Giants have allowed 56 pressures, the second-highest total in the NFL (according to Pro Football Focus). According to Football Outsiders, New York has also let up 7 sacks in two games, the second-highest total in the NFL.

Though Andrew Thomas has held his own against two of the best defenses in the NFL, he has still struggled through the first two weeks of the season. He is currently the lowest-graded of the top four offensive tackles from the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft class.

But the rest of the offensive line has struggled along with Thomas. If the Giants’ offensive line is going to make a turnaround, Week Three is the time to do it.

A Week Three Turnaround?

Originally, the Giants were scheduled to go against another dominant defense in Week Three of the 2020 NFL season. This week, the Giants will host the San Fransisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium. Andrew Thomas and the Giants’ line was projected to face off against the likes of Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and Dee Ford. In reality, the Giants will face none of these talented defenders.

The 49ers were hit with the injury bug in a major way last week. Across the NFL, injuries were abundant. The Giants lost 2018 second-overall pick, Saquon Barkley, to a torn ACL in Week Two. The 49ers lost their 2019 second-overall pick, Nick Bosa, to a torn ACL as well in Week Two.

Solomon Thomas is another talented player on the 49ers’ defensive line. He also suffered a season-ending injury in Week Two. Dee Ford is also injured and out for Week Two, but fortunately, he will not be sidelined for the entire season.

The Giants will not have to face any of the 49ers’ top three defensive linemen in Week Two. San Fransisco signed veteran defensive end Ezekiel Ansah to help fill one of these holes. But overall, the Giants’ offensive line is fortunately not going to be completely overmatched like they have been the last two weeks.

Struggling against the Steelers’ and Bears’ front-sevens is understandable. But against this depleted and injury-riddled San Fransisco defense, the Giants should be able to turn things around. New York’s offensive line will be left with no excuses in Week Three. They need to step up and play a solid match against the 49ers to turn things around.

New York Jets: Mekhi Becton already earning rave reviews as practice opens

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

New York Jets training camp has only just begun, but first-round pick Mekhi Becton is already making a strong impression.

As the New York Jets opened training camp this week, Connor Hughes, who covers the team for The Athletic, humorously suggested that one could play a drinking game for every time someone mentions that Mekhi Becton is big.

With all due respect to Hughes, don’t do that…it won’t end well.

The Louisville alum, the Jets’ first-round selection in April’s draft (11th overall) has joined new Jets teammates in training camp activities in Florham Park this week. Standing at 6 feet 7 inches and weighing 364 pounds, Becton barely needs pads to suggest an imposing prescience. But once he donned his new green gear, he backed up his fierce reputation in style as early reports from NYJets.com indicate that Becton has made a strong first impression in his days in a new helmet.

“He made himself known out there and what he’s capable of doing,” linebacker Blake Cashman said in a report from Ethan Greenberg. “He’s a great player. He’s going to be somebody that’s going to play a long time in this league and has more potential to grow.”

“Every day I just have to watch him and watch film of not just him but everybody,” running back Frank Gore added. “The first day, he was talking to me out there and saying, ‘I’m going to get you four yards’ and I like that. He can move.”

Another report from Hughes, this one more serious in nature, mentioned that Becton perhaps earned the play of the day by knocking down blitzing backfield invader Neville Hewitt during team drills. Becton’s ability to use his renowned size

“He applies it to the field,” Gase noted in Greenberg’s report. “It’s difficult for guys to figure out how to rush him in the pass game and then in the run game it’s hard to hard to move them back, you don’t see much penetration, that line flattens out pretty fast.”

Becton may not be showing up in the Jets’ box score except under unusual circumstances, but he has the potential to be the 2020 offense’s most valuable member. The first blocker the Jets have chosen in the opening round since D’Brickashaw Ferguson in 2006, Becton is expected to take the jobs of Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell easier as they seek to change the fortunes of a stagnant offense. On average, Jets quarterbacks were sacked 3.2 times per game last season, tied for 28th in the league.

In a league dominated by offensive heroics, a stagnant offense is a big problem and leaves a massive hole in the Jets’ future. But if anyone’s going to fill it, there’s likely no better place to turn than the 6 foot, 7 inch, 364-pound blocker from Highland Spring, Virginia.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Adam Gase sounds reinvigorated and ready to change the narrative in 2020

New York Jets, Adam Gase

New York Jets‘ head coach Adam Gase has had a rough offseason. After finishing the season 6-2, the Jets went into the offseason with high hopes for the future. With Sam Darnold getting another year playing in Gase’s system, the return of two defensive leaders in C.J. Mosley and Avery Willamson, and the entire coaching staff returning, continuity was a big theme.

That continuity took a big hit when Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, two of Darnold’s best weapons, ended up leaving (for two different reasons) New York. That was just the tip of the iceberg.

Then, Jamal Adams went on his campaign against the Jets organization with multiple public outcries and an exclusive with the Daily News that shined a light on the organizational instability and internal hypocrisy. The hypocrisy was directed towards Gase, who Adams said openly, never would talk to the team, or make adjustments. He delegated that to assistant coaches. Being able to admit when you’re wrong and make adjustments is what makes a good coach. When you fail to do that or fail to even address your team on your level, you not only lose the respect of the players, but you also build a culture of incompetence. That’s exactly what he’s done.

So, Gase’s reputation took a massive hit with the Adams saga, but then he was traded, and brighter days seemed to loom large. Then, the perspective captain of the defense in the wake of the Adams’ trade, Mosley, opted out for the safety of his family and himself. Now, the Jets defense will play this season without presumably, their two biggest stars.

The New York Jets might have a different version of Adam Gase this year:

When Adam Gase took the podium this week, one thing struck out to me that signaled a potential change of heart… accountability. Rumors swirled this offseason about tension between the Jets and one of their biggest offensive stars, Le’Veon Bell. Gase did something that has been a rarity in his career, take accountability for the way last season went, as he said:

“‘You’ve got make sure you’re using him the right way and making sure that we’re getting him to 16-plus games and not grinding him out, Last year, I feel like I did a bad job at the beginning of the season. I was really trying to get him going, and at the same time, teams kind of knew what we were doing and they were loading up the box and he was taking some shots. I’m sure that wore on him as the season went on.’”

This was a real big issue last season, as Bell was supposed to be the focal point of their offense. It was evident last season that Bell was struggling for a few reasons, poor blocking, fatigue as the season wore on, and poor game planning. If Gase is serious about working to make sure Bell takes more effective rushes, that can change the offense.

The offensive line is presumed to be improved with the overhaul, and Bell has been a gym rat and will hopefully be more physically ready for this season than last year, so those areas should improve. If Gase steps up like he says he plans to, that can not only change the rushing attack but rather the whole offense, and this was an offense that ranked in the bottom half of the league. Change is needed, and that change could be accountability by Gase. Still, actions speak louder than words, and if Gase can’t truly improve this season, then that needed change could be a new head coach of the New York Jets.