FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The Jets apparently aren’t only slow and sluggish in games. They’re like that in practice, too.
That’s what two veteran defensive players said after the Jets’ 31-13 loss to the 49ers on Sunday, leading to Adam Gase having to defend how he runs his practices.
"Everybody has a different feel of how practice goes," Gase said on a Zoom call on Wednesday. "If that’s the feeling that they have, we have a chance to really ramp it up and make sure that we’re doing what we need to do in individual [drills] and pick up the tempo. I haven’t necessarily felt that."
Safety Bradley McDougald said the Jets had "some slow practices, and it correlates to the game," during a postgame interview on Sunday.
Linebacker Avery Williamson, during his weekly spot Tuesday on WFAN, was asked about McDougald’s comments. Williamson agreed, saying, "Sometimes in practice, guys are missing tackles or we’re not doing things right. We haven’t been as crisp as we should be."
It’s not surprising that the Jets are scuffling in practice. They are 0-2, and haven’t been competitive in either game.
But the fact that two defensive players are making this claim is an indictment of Gase and coordinator Gregg Williams, who is known for being a hard-driving coach. Both players, in their own way, denied that they were criticizing the coaches.
Gase said he received a text from Williamson on Tuesday night, letting him know what he said "wasn’t really what was reported." Gase joked that he wasn’t even aware.
"I don't even open internet browsers right now," Gase said.
McDougald clarified his comments Wednesday afternoon, saying he was referring to the players.
"We are the ones that’s on the field," McDougald said. "We step on the field on Sundays to play. My comments weren’t pointing a finger at anyone because I feel like this is a collective effort to turn this ship around. I’m not coming for my coaches. Our coaches do a great job preparing us. We’re all in this together.
"If we go down the line and ask that question to anybody on this team I think everybody would agree: We’ve had slow practices. We’ve had down practices. That is players moving slow or players not making the plays that we’re expected to make."
McDougald, who came to the Jets from Seattle in the trade involving Jamal Adams, wouldn’t compare his new team and how they run things to his old one. He also said he didn’t feel the need to clear the air with Gase or Williams.
"I didn’t feel like I disrespected anybody or came at anybody, so I didn’t feel like I needed to go to speak to anyone," McDougald said. "Our coaches aren’t really sensitive at all. I don’t really see them getting their feelings hurt about minor comments in the media, especially when no one is pointing a finger."
The Jets began preparing for Sunday’s game at Indianapolis. McDougald said he felt "an uptick around our whole building" on Wednesday and "a lot more energy." But McDougald acknowledged that it is a problem that some practices have been sluggish.
"It is," he said. "It starts with the players. We have to want it in practice the same way we have to want it in games. A team that’s in position that we’re in, we’re in trying to fight, we’re scrapping for a win, we have to be willing to fight and scrap on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and do whatever it takes to win.
"It is a problem. It starts with the players. It starts with our mindset and it starts with us going out there and executing."
Gase said if anyone had any issues with how practices are run, the door is open and they can talk to him.
"No one said anything during the week," Gase said. "I felt like we had really good tempo to practice. Sometimes an individual guy if he wants to change something, we talk about it every week. It’s not like it’s not an open forum. If somebody doesn’t like the way something’s going, we can easily speak up."