TODAY'S PAPER
39° Good Morning
39° Good Morning
SportsFootballJets

Can Sam Darnold and the Jets' offense solve Patriots' defensive puzzle?

Jets head coach Adam Gase looks on in

Jets head coach Adam Gase looks on in the first half against the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Adam Gase isn’t ready to say everything is fixed and the Jets have their offensive identity after just one game with Sam Darnold back.

Gase was able to be much more creative in Sunday’s win over the Cowboys with Darnold under center for the first time in four games. But he still doesn’t know what the Jets’ evolving offense will become.

“Last week was the first time where we actually put something together where we looked like we can play-action pass and do some things and push the ball down the field a little bit,” Gase said Wednesday. “We’re still in that weird stage of figuring out who we are. Once you kind of figure out who you are, commit to it.

“Sometimes it takes some time during the season, four or five games. We haven’t been a whole offense. Last game was the first time.”

Gase wants his offense to be tough, be able to adjust and be “a chameleon.” But it’s hard to mask things against the Jets’ next opponent.

The undefeated Patriots, who visit MetLife Stadium on Monday night, have the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense.

They take away what your offense does well. Gase said they also “do a good job of putting the quarterback in doubt of what to do.” So this will be a huge challenge for Darnold and the Jets.

The Patriots (6-0) are allowing just 161 passing yards per game and have given up only one passing touchdown.

Gase said the Jets cannot be too conservative or predictable on Monday.

“If you become predictable when you play a team like we’re playing this week you can find yourself in trouble because they’ll tee off on you,” he said. “You have to find that fine line of how do you hide things that you’re good at? How do you make them guess a little bit and not be all over it?”

Darnold missed the Sept. 22 game against New England. Luke Falk ran an offense that totaled 105 yards and no touchdowns. The Patriots completely took Le’Veon Bell away. He averaged 1.9 yards on his 18 carries against New England.

Gase wants to be able to get Bell going, while also making sure the Patriots’ defense doesn’t make Darnold indecisive. He threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys, but their defense is far more giving than the Patriots'. This will only be Darnold’s second time facing a Bill Belichick defense. He was 16-for-28 for 167 yards in a 38-3 loss at New England in the final game of his rookie season. 

“We try to do a good job as a play-caller and an offensive staff to design plays that we can get [the] No. 1 [option] open,” Gase said. “It’s tough because you’re counting on guys to beat man coverage. A lot of times the way their linebackers are, you’re not really sure who’s rushing and who’s dropping. They do a great job of doing what they’re doing right now. That’s why they’re having a lot of success and causing a lot of problems.

“You have to try to find those things to where you can get [Darnold] in a rhythm and he starts seeing it to where he’s not doubting in himself. Sometimes it slows down for these guys. Last week I felt like he was seeing it really well. He knew where the guys were.”

Darnold being back will enable the Jets to run more and different plays than they did last month at New England. But this will be Gase’s 11th time calling a game against Belichick’s team since 2013. He said they know each other well.

“It’s just trying to find some things you can do well against them and work on changing things up,” Gase said. “They do the same thing.

“They’re different than what they were last year. They’re different from game to game. They do a great job of taking away what you do well. That’s what makes it a challenge, and it’s what makes it fun at the same time. Guys know what kind of challenge they’re in for.” 

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports