Adam Gase didn’t waste much time in letting his players know the goal is to beat the Patriots. It was the new coach’s message to the Jets in the first meeting to kick off their offseason workouts last week.
“He’s going for that one team that’s been winning every year in this division,” new linebacker C.J. Mosley said during a conference call Wednesday. “He said that’s one of the main reasons he came here. We all believe that. The guys that are new additions to the team, we’re pretty much here for the same reason.
“We know what team’s been up top for a long time. We feel we have the tools and the players and the game plan to get that done.”
No doubt these words will find their way to Foxborough, Massachusetts, where Bill Belichick and the Super Bowl champion Patriots take pleasure in knocking off the Jets. The heated rivals will play each other in Week 3 in Foxborough and on Monday night in Week 7 at MetLife Stadium.
Gase’s message wasn’t Rex Ryan saying he didn’t come to the Jets “to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings.” But it does tell you a little about Gase’s personality and drive.
Another new Jet, receiver Josh Bellamy, who played for Gase when he was an offensive coordinator in Chicago, said Gase is fiery and competitive and does whatever it takes to win.
“He’s a dog,” Bellamy said. “He has a dog mentality. He’s always attacking. He’s a winner and he wants to be a winner at all times in whatever he does. He’s highly competitive at everything he does. You want to play for a guy like that, a guy that wants to win, a guy that’s confident. That’s the kind of dude that I want to play for and everyone around here wants to play for.
“He’s going to build a culture of just everybody being a dog, having that type of mentality, of being aggressive. He’s ready to win and we all want to win.”
Gase seems to be the perfect guy to coach Christopher Johnson’s team. The Jets chairman and CEO said in December that the Patriots’ dominance “keeps me up at night.” Gase apparently has a similar mentality.
“His mindset is that he came here to win,” Mosley said. “At the end of the day, history shows who we have to beat to get to that top spot. Not overlooking anybody else in the division definitely or anyone else on our schedule, but we know if we want to get where we want to be, we know what team we got to knock off.”
Gase reached the playoffs once in three seasons as Dolphins coach, and went 2-4 against New England. He will try to break an eight-year streak of the Jets missing the playoffs. Ryan was the last coach who guided the Jets to the postseason. He also led them to their last playoff win in 2010 at New England.
The Patriots have won 16 of the last 18 AFC East titles, including 10 straight. But after an offseason in which the Jets made huge improvements on both sides of the ball — and they still have the No. 3 pick in next week’s draft to add a potential game changer — they believe they have at least closed the gap.
The Jets acquired Mosley, a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker, to lead their defense and running back Le’Veon Bell to be a major weapon on offense. They also believe Sam Darnold will develop into the type of franchise quarterback who gives them a chance to win every week.
The personalities and determination of Gase and new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who is always aggressive and intense, give the Jets more confidence that they eventually can overtake New England.
“It starts from a mental standpoint,” Mosley said. “You got to know who you are. You got to know who the team is with a new set of coaches on both sides. The attention that coaches put themselves to get us in the right position, that brings a mentality to players. We feed off that energy.
“If they’re confident, that makes us confident. When we’re both confident together and we know our game plan and know what we can and can’t do that can make us a dangerous team.”