The Jets are set to begin another coach search after parting ways with Adam Gase on Sunday night.
Team CEO Christopher Johnson relieved Gase of his duties after the Jets returned home from their season-ending 28-14 loss at New England, ending his tumultuous and overall dreadful two seasons as coach.
The Jets went 9-23 under Gase, including 2-14 this year.
"It is clear the best decision for the Jets is to move in a different direction," Johnson said in a statement Sunday night.
Gase’s eventual ouster was the worst-kept secret in the NFL. The Jets started the season 0-13 and were not competitive in many games. There were rumors that the Jets were going to fire Gase last weekend so they could begin the process of interviewing coaches. But the Jets beat the Browns.
The Jets’ two late-season wins were never going to save Gase’s job. All it did was knock the Jets out of the No. 1 draft spot and ended the dream of taking Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jets will pick second now with Jacksonville owning the No. 1 selection.
Gase’s time with the Jets was littered with disagreements with players, offensive ineptitude, many head-scratching decisions and lopsided losses.
Under Gase, who replaced Todd Bowles as coach and still has two years remaining on his contract, the Jets lost 17 games by at least two scores.
"It wasn’t good enough, obviously," Gase said after Sunday’s loss.
Among the candidates to be the Jets’ next coach are Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
General manager Joe Douglas has ties to Roman and Martindale from his days with Baltimore.
College coaches, including Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, also could be on the Jets’ radar.
The next coach will be tasked with trying to end the NFL’s longest current playoff drought — 10 years.
"To our fans, it is obvious we have not been good enough," Johnson said. "We are committed to building a strong organization, on and off the field, and will continue to provide the necessary resources to field a team that you can be proud of."
The Jets chose Gase after interviewing Bieniemy, Matt Rhule, Kliff Kingsbury, Mike McCarthy, Todd Monken and Kris Richard. Johnson believed Gase was an innovator on offense and someone who could help develop Sam Darnold into a franchise quarterback.
Johnson said Gase is "coaching football to where it’s going" and called him a "brilliant offensive mind." But those qualities were never evident.
The Jets were too predictable, mostly ineffective on offense, and, worst of all, Darnold regressed. He hasn’t taken the steps the organization hoped for when they drafted him third overall in 2018.
Darnold threw two interceptions on Sunday. He ended the year with nine touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. And for the first time, Darnold voiced some uncertainty about his own future as Jets quarterback.
"I’m not sure," Darnold said.
Douglas and the new Jets coach will decide whether Darnold is a part of the future. They could draft a quarterback and trade Darnold for more assets.
The Jets ranked last in total offense and 31st in points last year. This season, they were last in points, total offense and passing offense. The Jets failed to score an offensive touchdown in eight games overall — four times each season.
Gase made his mark as an NFL play-caller as offensive coordinator of the Peyton Manning-led Broncos in 2013 and 2014. Denver had the highest-scoring offense in NFL history in 2013 when Manning threw a record 55 touchdown passes.
But Gase’s offense hasn’t looked electric or even effective without Manning running it.
In three years as Dolphins coach, Gase was 23-25 and his offense ranked in the bottom third of the league twice. It’s been worse with the Jets.
Gase started 1-7 in his first season as Jets coach but led them to a 6-2 record in the second half. Johnson praised Gase for his leadership and keeping the team together, and believed things were heading in the right direction.
Now the Jets are going in a different direction — again.
"We knew there was a lot of work that needed to be done when Adam joined us in 2019," Johnson said. "Our strong finish last year was encouraging, but unfortunately, we did not sustain that positive momentum or see the progress we all expected this season."
Potential replacements for Adam Gase
1. Greg Roman: The Ravens offensive coordinator has overseen a top 10 scoring offense the past two seasons and has ties to Jets GM Joe Douglas.
2. Eric Bieniemy: The Jets interviewed the Chiefs offensive coordinator two years ago and may not want to pass on Andy Reid’s protégé this time.
3. Brian Daboll: The Bills offensive coordinator has run one of the best and most creative offenses in the league and helped develop Josh Allen into a top quarterback.
4. Robert Saleh: The 49ers defensive coordinator devises great game plans, and is a fiery, passionate coach who inspires players and gets the most out of them
5. Wink Martindale: Another coach with ties to Douglas, the Ravens have had a top 10 defense all three years Martindale has been coordinator.
6. Matt Campbell: The Iowa State coach declined the Jets interview request before they hired Gase, but they could reach out again.
7. Arthur Smith: The Titans offensive coordinator has helped turn Tennessee into a top 5 offense and former Gase protégé Ryan Tannehill into Pro Bowl QB.