FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Fresh off a humiliating shutout loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots in a nationally televised debacle at MetLife Stadium, Adam Gase tried to put his best foot forward as the Jets returned to practice Wednesday. But not before acknowledging the anguish of the Monday night mess.
“If you’re involved in that game on our side, it’s embarrassing to lose 33-0,” Gase said. "You don’t want that to happen, where everybody looks terrible. You put too much time and effort and spend all these hours here practicing. When you’re on national television and that happens for everybody to see, it’s embarrassing.”
No argument there.
Gase has been on the job here for just six games, but he’s already the author of one of the most woeful performances in franchise history, a low moment that rivals so many that this team has experienced over the years.
Now he must try and pick up the pieces, salvage something from a 1-5 season that has gone off the rails sooner than anyone could have reasonably expected and convince skeptical Jets fans that he is the right man for the job.
“We have to move on to Jacksonville, fast,” he said of Sunday’s road game against the Jaguars. “We have to correct the problems. We have to understand how to bounce back. We have to do a better job of playing complementary football.”
The Jets have to do a better job of playing football, period. Gase was thoroughly outcoached by Bill Belichick, whose Patriots moved to 7-0 and could very well be headed for a second undefeated season. How Gase handles his team moving forward will go a long way toward determining his future, especially with the Jets’ schedule finally beginning to soften after a brutal stretch to start the season.
“This is one of those situations where unfortunately I’ve gone through,” said Gase, who was fired in January after three seasons as Miami’s coach. “It’s not fun to go through. As a head coach, you’ve got to put your head down, go to work, focus on the task at hand. It’s easy when you win. When you lose, when you’ve got one win after this many weeks, it’s not easy. If it was easy, there would be a lot more people doing this job.”
Gase certainly hasn’t helped himself, even if his hands were mostly tied while quarterback Sam Darnold was out with mononucleosis. But even with Darnold in the lineup Monday night, the quarterback was an absolute mess, at one point muttering “seeing ghosts” on the sideline while expressing frustration at being unable to deal with Belichick’s complicated defensive schemes.
Gase wasn’t happy with that comment getting out into the public domain – the result of a complicated decision process involving ESPN, NFL Films and the league – and the coach spent a fair amount of time Tuesday complaining about the network running with the quote.
But his reaction was tone deaf in this respect: With all that went wrong on Monday night, and with the mess he finds his team in, there’s simply no need to harp on it. You want something to focus on? Try getting the offensive line’s blocking straightened out so that Darnold actually has some time to try and figure out what he’s seeing. That was some of the poorest offensive line play we’ve seen from a Jets team, and that’s saying something.
Gase was billed as an offensive strategist of the highest order, but his body of work so far has been severely lacking. And until Darnold plays consistently as well as he did in the previous week’s 24-22 win over the Cowboys, then Gase will continue to leave himself open to criticism.
This is on him. He knows it. He thinks he can fix it.
“Right now, I’m the one in the position to do this and I have a lot of experience to do this,” he said. “I mean, I don’t have to sell my job, this is what I do.”
He needs to do better.