FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Jets CEO Christopher Johnson expressed extreme trust and confidence in coach Adam Gase that he is the man who can turn the team around. And Gase will get the chance.
Johnson said Gase would be the coach for the remainder of this season and into 2020. Johnson cited Gase’s relationship with general manager Joe Douglas and quarterback Sam Darnold as two main reasons.
This vote of confidence, which probably won’t go over well with frustrated Jets fans, came in an impromptu news conference during Jets practice Wednesday.
“I want to assure you there will be no changes in coaches,” Johnson said. “Adam has the trust of this team. He has the trust of Sam. He has Joe’s trust. He has my trust. He’s a good man. He’s a good coach.”
When asked specifically whether Gase was safe beyond this year, Johnson replied, “Even after the season.”
Johnson said he met with the team last Wednesday and told them that there would be no changes in coaches. He said the players’ reaction was “very positive.”
The Jets’ 2-7 record in Gase’s first season as coach doesn’t sit well with Johnson. He called it “exceedingly frustrating.”
But Johnson is buoyed by seeing how the players and coaches “grind away every day” and have remained committed to getting better.
The offense has sputtered many games. Gase is an offensive coach, so he does deserve blame for their struggles. But Johnson said there has been “a lot of adversity,” and he believes Gase and Douglas will be able to make this team a perennial playoff team.
"I brought in Joe earlier this year to help build a team with Adam,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of work to do. Everyone understands that. There’s a great deal of work to do, and we’re just getting started. I feel really good about this team moving forward.”
Johnson loves the way that Gase and Douglas work together. He said, “It’s a whole new dynamic in this building.” Former general manager Mike Maccagnan and Gase didn’t see eye-to-eye in their few months working together.
This is crucial for the Jets, as is Gase’s relationship with Darnold.
Johnson said he likes the way Gase and Darnold interact and work together. He sees “trust” there. Johnson said he’s spoken to Darnold about Gase and everything is “very encouraging.”
Stability also is a factor in Johnson’s thinking. Darnold worked under Todd Bowles and Jeremy Bates last season. Johnson said it would hurt Darnold’s development if there was another shakeup.
“Changing systems year after year is just a disaster for a young quarterback, especially,” Johnson said.
The Jets’ performance this season under Gase has led to radio talk show hosts and fans to plead for his ouster. An airplane flew over New York City's West Side last weekend with a banner that read “Fire Adam Gase Now.”
Johnson said no one is more upset than he is, and that making changes is not the answer now.
"I understand it. I’m frustrated too,” Johnson said. “I hate to lose. I hate to lose. Every player on this team hates to lose . . . It’s terrible. I want it to stay terrible. Who wants to get used to that? But I can assure you that this entire building is about getting this team to a better place."
Johnson also has come under scrutiny because of his decision-making and the Jets’ record since he assumed the role of acting owner while his brother Woody Johnson is serving as the United States’ Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
The Jets are 11-30 under Christopher Johnson’s watch. But he promises things will get better.
“It’s been said you are what the record says you are,” Johnson said. “That’s not very impressive. But looking forward I think this is going to be a good team. I have so much faith in Adam and Joe to put together a great future for us.”