There is nothing that will change the downward trajectory of the Jets this season. At 0-6, there is every reason to believe they will create a new bottom for themselves in the coming weeks, especially after a torturous hat trick of playoff opponents in the Bills, Kansas City and Patriots that almost certainly will see them fall to 0-9.
You want Adam Gase gone? Completely understood. He should be gone. And he will be gone. It’s simply a matter of when, because there is zero chance he will continue beyond this season. That he wasn't shown the door after Sunday’s 24-0 embarrassment in Miami is a surprise to many, and owner Christopher Johnson would be completely justified in making a change, for no other reason than to placate fans who are understandably enraged at how far this team has fallen.
Gase has proven he is not up to the job, and there is no justification to keep him as the coach. Just as there was no way for Rich Kotite to continue beyond the two-year nightmare of 1995-96, as he bottomed out at 1-15 before walking out of Weeb Ewbank Hall for the final time.
I’d expect Johnson to make the call soon, because his team is being humiliated on a weekly basis. Gregg Williams hasn’t covered himself in glory as the defensive coordinator this season, but with previous experience as a full-time head coach and an interim, he’s a sensible alternative to at least send the message to the players that the status quo is unacceptable. Williams might not win many games – and in fact, it’s in the team’s best interest to finish with a poor record to improve their draft positioning in 2021 – but Johnson just can’t continue much longer with Gase.
Jets fans are tuning the team out with each successive loss, and there’s nothing an owner hates more than the paying customers not caring about the product. The fans that are still paying attention are enraged. And they should be.
Gase is out of answers. He was hired as an offensive innovator, but his offense is a mess. The Jets were the first team to be shut out this season – this in a league that makes it as easy as possible to score points. He stubbornly uses 37-year-old Frank Gore at the expense of younger running backs La’Mical Perine and Ty Johnson. His play-calling is mind-numbingly predictable. His leadership skills are lacking. There is no presence, something head coaches need as much as knowing Xs and Os.
Once again, the only salvation for Jets fans lies in the future. And they can only hope that the year after this latest nightmare is similar to the one more than two decades ago. The Kotite years were unbearably abysmal, but what happened next turned out to be a godsend. Bill Parcells erased all the misery with a magical three-year run, coming within a game of getting the Jets back to the Super Bowl for the first time since Joe Namath’s miracle season in 1968.
There is no Parcells to bail them out this time, but there is a scenario that might turn this year’s sorrow into next year’s joy.
First, general manager Joe Douglas must find a capable coach, one he can partner with in reconstructing the roster that is currently incapable of winning. Get Eric Bieniemy, the longtime lieutenant for Andy Reid. Or Lincoln Riley, the Oklahoma coach who makes quarterbacks great. Or Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who works for the organization Douglas thrived with in his formative years as an NFL executive and who has helped Lamar Jackson turn into an MVP quarterback.
Just as importantly, Douglas will be operating from a position of strength in the draft – possibly with the first overall pick and possibly with Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Douglas may yet decide to keep Sam Darnold as his long-term quarterback, but with his team in rebuilding mode, there is a case to be made to start over with a rookie quarterback on his first contract and not invest upwards of $25-30 million per year on Darnold, who will be in his fourth season in 2021.
If not Lawrence, there are at least two other promising quarterbacks – Justin Fields of Ohio State and Trey Lance, the North Dakota star who has attracted heavy interest from the NFL.
And if Douglas decides he can choreograph a situation where his next coach can grow with a younger, more affordable and perhaps a better player, then he’ll have to make that hard choice.
But the reality is that there will be choices. And some very good choices at that. Add in the fact that Douglas already has two first-round picks from the Jamal Adams trade. And if he deals Darnold, there could be another high-round pick or more.
Unfortunately, getting from here to there will be a painful process, and no coach – not Gase, or Williams, or assistant head coach Shawn Jefferson – can make things substantially better. And even if the season goes from bad to worse, that still might mean things look better in 2021 and beyond.
At this point, that’s the only thing for Jets fans to believe in.