Adam Gase is still the Jets coach and still calling the plays. Since those things haven’t changed, Gase should try changing what he calls.
The Jets are 0-5. They released their most accomplished offensive player, Le’Veon Bell, on Tuesday. No need to hold back and just hand the ball off to Frank Gore or La’Mical Perine over and over on Sunday when the Jets play in Miami.
It’s long overdue that Gase gets a little more creative and opens up the offense. More play-action. Take more shots. Running the ball up the middle hasn’t worked.
Injuries have contributed to the Jets’ woes. But not even the most jaded Jets fan who has been through decades of misery could have predicted things going as badly as it has. Here’s a little refresher:
- Sam Darnold will miss his second-straight game with a sprained shoulder. Joe Flacco starts again.
- Flacco’s passer rating is higher than Darnold’s.
- The 37-year-old Gore’s 66 touches are three times more than any other Jet.
- Breshad Perriman’s five receptions are four fewer than Kalen Ballage, who has been cut.
- Braxton Berrios’ two touchdown catches are tied for the team lead.
- Josh Adams’ one rushing touchdown is tied for the team lead with Darnold. Bell didn’t have a single touchdown in the two games he played.
- Denzel Mims hasn’t played in a game.
- The Jets rank last in scoring offense, passing offense and red-zone efficiency.
It wasn’t hard to figure out that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was referring to Gase’s offense when he was asked about the Jets allowing 32.2 points.
"A lot of it is not all defensively," Williams said.
The Jets have underperformed on both sides of the ball. There are still 11 games left. Many fans want the Jets to "Tank for Trevor" — Clemson’s quarterback Trevor Lawrence. But they are trying to win games, believe it or not.
At the very least, Gase has to find ways to improve this offense and make the Jets competitive. Try to leave them in better shape than he got them. Some suggestions:
Gase toyed with giving up the play-calling at least temporarily, but he said the coaching staff told him it wasn’t "the right move."
"Our issues on offense are bigger than play-calling right now," offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. "We have a lot more issues than that that we’re working through right now."
OK, then call different plays. Stop being conservative and predictable.
Most plays involving Jamison Crowder have looked good. He’s caught 22 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns in three games. But Gase can’t go to him every down.
Bell being targeted only once last week was a big problem. But so is running the ball twice on third-and-1 and once on fourth-and-1 — and getting stopped each time.
The Jets ran the ball on first down 42.9 percent of the time last Sunday — the second most in the league in Week 5.
There’s very little variety or creativity. This isn’t about injuries. You have to put your players in position to succeed and taking more chances isn’t a bad thing. Ever, and especially at this point.
Loosen up, Adam. You look as tight as your players.
Everyone knows what Gore can do. He’s not part of the future. Perine may be.
Perine was a dual-threat back at Florida. Get him touches — a lot of them — and see what you have.
"Getting Perine involved is going to be very critical for us," Gase said.
That was the plan for Bell too and that didn’t work out the way anyone hoped. If Perine is healthy, he has to featured going forward.
Chris Herndon’s play has been a major disappointment. Much was made about Herndon’s importance to the offense. He has 13 catches for 98 yards, a few drops — one in the end zone — and a fumble.
"A lot of it," Herndon said of his struggles, "is just self-inflicted."
Gase called Herndon a "unicorn type of player" because of his ability to block in the run game, pass protect and his skills as a receiver. Herndon didn’t start, played just 29 of 69 snaps, and he was targeted just three times.
Go to Herndon more. He should be a red-zone target all the time. Yes, he dropped one. So did Crowder last year in Baltimore. They went right back to him in the same game and Crowder scored.
"The biggest thing to do is just keep feeding him the ball in practice," Flacco said.
That could help getting Herndon’s confidence back. But you have to feed him in the game, too.
"I feel like this is one of those things where if he just gets that one play where he gets going, that could be a good snowball effect for him," Gase said.
Perriman is expected to return after missing three games with an ankle injury. Gase said there will be "no restrictions" on Perriman. So, take a shot, take more than one.
Perriman replaced Robby Anderson, who is lighting it up in Carolina. He’s fourth in the NFL in receptions (36) and receiving yards (489). Perriman has seven targets in 76 snaps this season.
"We signed him with the expectation he’ll be able to take the top off the coverage and create some explosive plays," Loggains said. "We haven’t had that to this point.
"Those 20-to-25-yard chunk plays and the long touchdown plays, we haven’t been able to get those. We’re hoping he’s part of that."
Flacco certainly has the arm strength. Take a few shots with Perriman.
The also Jets activated wide receiver Vyncint Smith and linebacker Blake Cashman off IR and elevated quarterback Mike White from the practice squad.
They released safety Marqui Christian.