The Jets are furious with themselves and how they’ve played this season, according to their embattled coach.
Adam Gase used the same word to describe both the mood of the 0-3 Jets and quarterback Sam Darnold after his three-interception game Sunday in Indianapolis.
Bringing some of that anger and a sense of urgency into Thursday night’s game against winless Denver might help the Jets and Gase. But he believesf the Jets are going into it with the right attitude and approach.
"Guys are talking about how to clean things up, talking about what we need to do to fix things," Gase said on a Zoom call Tuesday afternoon. "Guys are trying to figure out the little details of where are we going wrong and how can we fix it?
"I like the fact that guys are looking for solutions instead of [expletive] and complaining and not really working in the right direction. I feel like our guys are looking for the right things, looking to the solutions to the problems."
Rumors are swirling that Gase’s job may be in jeopardy if the Jets lose on national television to a team that’s starting its third-string quarterback and playing without its two best players.
The Broncos have 11 players on IR, including disruptive pass rusher Von Miller and receiver Courtland Sutton. They’re both out for the season. Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and starting right tackle Elijah Wilkinson went on season-ending IR this week.
Starting quarterback Drew Locke (shoulder) also is sidelined. Broncos coach Vic Fangio is giving Brett Rypien his first career start Thursday. Rypien appeared in his first NFL game Sunday, replacing Jeff Driskel against Tampa Bay. Rypien was 8-for-9 for 53 yards and one interception. Fangio said Driskel could be "mixed in some" as well.
This clearly is a must-win game for the Jets and certainly gettable. But Gase doesn’t want the players to put that much pressure on themselves.
In their three losses – by a total of 57 points – the Jets have shown an inability to respond to adversity. They’ve let a bad play or series or two "avalanche on us," Gase said. His message to his team is relax.
"Be loose, make plays, have fun," he said. "You’re playing on Thursday night. Enjoy the moment. I just want our guys to be present and just go after a win."
Injuries have impacted the Jets, but they should be getting some players back.
Top receiver Jamison Crowder is expected to return after missing two games with a hamstring injury, and can surely help the NFL’s worst offense.
"We just got to find a way to win any way we possibly we can," Crowder said. "That’s the psyche for everybody – just try to get a win somehow, some way."
The Jets starting offensive line could be together again as well. Left tackle Mekhi Becton left Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury and right tackle George Fant didn’t play because of a concussion. Gase sounded optimistic that both players would play Thursday.
This is good news for Darnold, who is coming off one of the worst games of his young career in the Jets 36-7 loss to the Colts. Darnold’s three picks essentially resulted in a 21-point swing. Two of them were returned for touchdowns, and one was in the end zone on first-and-7.
Gase said Darnold was very upset with himself and he expects him to respond Thursday.
"He does not like to lose," Gase said. "It eats at him. I love the fact that it drives him to keep coming to the building and try to find ways to improve. I can see it on his face after that game. He was not only mad at the score, but just how it went down, things that he knows he can do better and things that may have been out of his control that we just got to move on from, we can’t hold onto."
Gase has remained upbeat and positive despite all the negativity around the Jets and his job. A win Thursday would help him, but Gase says he’s treating this like just another game.
"I can’t focus on that. It’s wasted energy for me," he said. "It’s not going to help me at all. … We have so much stuff we got to get in to get ready to play this game. That has to be my focus. If I waste my energy on anything else, it’s just counterproductive to what we’re trying to do."