Adam Gase began his second offseason program as Jets coach on Monday planning to be very hands-on — or at least as hands-on as he can be in this new online world in which everyone is living.
With teams unable to meet in their facilities or work out together because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is done virtually through software called Microsoft Teams. Gase said he and his coaches will hold videoconferences with the players in what will be a classroom setting. Those meetings, which are voluntary, will take place for the next three weeks, four times a week and two hours a day.
The plan is to start with positional groups for the first two weeks and break off into bigger ones after that.
“I’m going to be very hands-on in this,” Gase said during a conference call Monday morning. “Whether it’s meeting with certain positions, quarterback, any of the offensive positions, the best thing about this program is I can jump in and out of a lot of different meetings.
“The video stuff we can do is pretty cool. We can share our screen and watch film with players and be able to diagram and talk through some stuff. It’s a unique way that we’re doing things, but it’s going to be very beneficial.”
This is the new normal in the NFL. Everyone has to adapt, and that’s what Gase is doing. He said he would address the entire team before players go in the virtual position rooms.
“It’s going to be about how we can move forward with everything that’s been going on and the unknown going forward,” Gase said. “Just how we can stay focused on what we’re doing and find ways to get better throughout this whole process.”
Gase said all of the prep work is done and that the Jets got “a huge jump” offensively because they “were ready to go before the building closed down” after the stay-at-home order.
He also said he’s not concerned about the players staying in shape. They have training regimens and programs to follow. Gase expects them to work out on their own until they’re able to go to team facilities or train in bigger groups.
The Jets went 7-9 in Gase’s first season as coach, ending the year by winning six of their last eight games. They want to build off that as they try to snap a nine-year playoff drought.
General manager Joe Douglas has upgraded the roster in free agency and the draft. He totally revamped the offensive line and added speed and talent at receiver and running back. The moves were made with third-year quarterback Sam Darnold in mind.
Darnold didn’t take that huge leap in Year 2 that many quarterbacks do, in part because he was slowed for a month by mononucleosis. The offensive line also underperformed.
That makes this next season a critical one for Darnold and his development, but Gase believes the quarterback and his teammates will be ready whenever it’s time to return to Florham Park.
“I feel like things are going to move in the right direction,” Gase said of Darnold. “It’s hard for me to talk about these mythical steps that everybody’s talking about. All I know is we need to find ways to win games and put ourselves in position to where we can make the tournament. That’s what the goal is. That’s what every team in the NFL is trying to do.
“Joe and the personnel department have done a great job as far as lining this thing up the right way and finding the right type of guys and really the right fit for what we’re trying to do. I’m not worried about what anybody else thinks our expectations should be. We’re going to focus on getting better this offseason. Once we get the opportunity to hit the field in the fall, we’ll worry about getting better in training camp and we’ll see how the season goes.”