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Bill Belichick gives high praise to Adam Gase ahead of Jets-Patriots matchup

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots speaks with head coach Adam Gase of the Jets prior to the game at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2019. Credit: Getty Images/Steven Ryan

Adam Gase is expected to be relieved of his duties after Sunday’s finale against the Patriots. But the opposing coach made it sound as if the Jets would be making a mistake.

Bill Belichick often speaks highly of Gase, who has a history with the Patriots coach. During a conference call on Tuesday, Belichick praised Gase for his offensive acumen, game planning and overall coaching.

"I think Adam’s done a great job this year of continuing to improve the team with coaching," Belichick said. "As usual, his excellent game plan and play calling are problems for the defense. This is a team that’s gotten better. How many guys are on some kind of injured list? It must be 20. It’s a long list. They continue to plug guys in there and play very competitively in all three phases of the game."

There is speculation that Gase could be a candidate to join Belichick’s coaching staff in 2021, presuming he’s not back with the Jets. There is a definite fit.

Gase started out as a graduate assistant for LSU working for Nick Saban, a close friend of Belichick’s. Gase also worked under Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels when he was the Broncos head coach.

Under McDaniels, Gase served as receivers coach and quarterbacks coach. He eventually became the Broncos offensive coordinator and ran the most prolific offense of all-time with Peyton Manning as quarterback. Gase uses many of these offensive principles he learned under McDaniels in his system.

"He’s a good coach," Belichick said. "They have a good system. He’s a good play caller. He puts a lot of pressure on defenses in the way he sets things up and uses personnel. His players improve. They get better. They execute better, gain confidence and perform better over the course of time. That’s weighted offensively. But you see it through the team. You saw that in Miami as well."

The Jets started the season with 13 consecutive losses before winning their last two games. Their offense has been a mess.

The Patriots (6-9) haven’t been much better. They’ve struggled mightily since Tom Brady took his talents to Tampa Bay. They have their first losing season since 2000 when Brady was a rookie and attempted just three passes.

But the Jets rank last in the NFL in overall offense, passing offense and points scored. They have shown signs of improvement, even before their current two-game winning streak. That won’t be enough to save Gase’s job.

It could have been three victories in four games if former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams hadn’t called an all-out blitz in the waning seconds of a loss to the Raiders. The Jets also nearly beat New England in Week 9 at MetLife Stadium. They led by 10 with under seven minutes left in the game, but melted down and lost, 30-27, on Nick Folk's 51-yard field goal as time expired.

If nothing else, Gase has done a good job of keeping the Jets focused on competing and playing hard.

"They’ve got a good level of play the second half of the season from a lot of guys, defensively, especially along the front seven," Belichick said. "They’ve been productive, offensively, running the ball, throwing the ball with different quarterbacks with Joe [Flacco] and with Sam [Darnold]. They’ve both played well.

"His offense is well designed and well called. Fundamentally you can see the improvements that they are making steadily through the course of the season. Coach Gase and his staff have done an outstanding job. The plays have individually gotten better and collectively they’ve performed better. They’ve done a good job there."

Notes & quotes: The Jets activated tight end Ryan Griffin from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

New York Sports