F LORHAM PARK, N.J. — Adam Gase cleared the air with Jamal Adams after the Pro Bowl safety voiced his displeasure about being taken out late in Monday’s loss to the Browns.
It was Gase’s call to remove Adams for the final five defensive snaps. But Gase wouldn’t classify it as a benching and said it wasn’t performance related.
“Absolutely not,” Gase said
The same can’t be said for another member of the Jets’ secondary. Trumaine Johnson was benched for performance reasons, and it’s looking like he will be watching from the sideline again when the Jets play in New England Sunday.
The high-priced cornerback didn’t play well in the season-opening loss to Buffalo. Johnson needs to re-earn the trust of a coaching staff that believed he would play well after reuniting with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
“It just hasn’t worked out as well as we need it to,” Gase said. “The good thing is we got a long ways to go.”
Nate Hairston started for Johnson, and played well. Johnson entered the game with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter, after Hairston cramped up. The Jets could stick with Darryl Roberts and Hairston as the starting corners Sunday with Brian Poole the nickel corner. “I thought the guys did a good job last week,” Gase said. “Our corners weren’t our problem last game.”
Johnson signed a five-year, $72.5 million contract in 2018, and has not played up to his paycheck. He missed five games last season because of injury, was benched for the final game for being late to meetings, and he struggled in coverage.
His best seasons came with the Rams under Williams. The Jets were optimistic Williams could bring out the best in Johnson again, but it hasn’t happened yet. All spots are earned under Gase, who doesn’t take into account a player’s contract.
“That’s irrelevant to me,” he said. “I don’t care how much money you make.”
Johnson said he was going to speak to his coaches face-to-face to understand why he was benched. He said he hasn’t gotten any clarity. He admitted he was “upset” and he “didn’t agree” with the coach’s decision. But he continued to downplay it, saying his focus is on helping the team win games. “When my number’s called, I’ll be ready to play,” Johnson said.
Gase doesn’t worry about that with Adams.
He loves Adams’ attitude and aggressiveness, which is why he made him a captain. But with the game decided and the emotional Adams frustrated by the score and charged up to make a big play, Gase told his defensive coaches to remove him.
Adams had just been whistled for back-to-back penalties. Gase didn’t want anything to happen that would lead to him being without one of his best players.
“That was me,” Gase said. “I thought he was getting fired up pretty good. I clicked over and I was like, ‘Hey, we need to be careful,’ because I was worried that something bad was going to happen. We needed him for the next week. They were smart and they pulled him off. I said, ‘Just calm him down,’ and they were off the field. I didn’t look at that as benching. That was more, ‘Let’s calm him down.’ ”
Adams went on WFAN Tuesday and said he was “benched” and “upset.” Adams is scheduled to speak to reporters Thursday.
“I’m going to go off of my experience,” Gase said. “I’ve been through some situations where I’ve seen it go the other way. I thought that was the right move for us at that moment. Right or wrong, there was no hidden meaning behind it. That was my gut reaction. I feel like if I would have went the other way and said don’t worry about it, let’s just see what happens and something bad happened, then I’m going to regret that. I’d rather not regret something.”
Gase said he wasn’t surprised at Adams’ reaction. He tried to defuse the situation Wednesday when he talked to Adams privately. “He’s a competitor, man,” Gase said. “He’s intense. He’s all in. I didn’t get to see him until after the game. I one-hundred percent understand why he was not happy.”
Adams also caused a firestorm because he stopped following the Jets on his social media platforms. But Gase shrugged that off. “Good thing I don’t pay attention to that,” he said. “So I don’t care.”