Don’t put one in the 'W' column just yet.
The last time the Jets played a winless team, things went horribly for them and their coach. The Jets lost to the Dolphins, who were 0-7 at the time, and fans took to the talk radio airwaves to demand that Adam Gase be fired.
But a few days after the loss, inside the Jets facility, CEO Christopher Johnson gathered the players and told them that he believed in Gase and that he would remain the coach. The Jets have been a different team since then.
It may be coincidental, or it just may be that the players needed to hear from the owner that there would be no changes. The Jets (4-7) will go for their fourth straight victory on Sunday against the 0-11 Bengals in Cincinnati.
“That day that Christopher talked to those guys I thought it was something that was good for our guys to hear,” Gase said. “We do have a lot of young players that have not been through a lot of the situations that get thrown at them in the NFL.
“I think him talking to the guys was just good for those guys to focus on getting better, focus on a good day at practice, let’s put a good week together and go play a game and do everything we can to win it. I think guys were able to do that.
“They just focused on that, they ignored all the outside noise. It was a good thing that that happened and guys were able to put their head down and go to work.”
It started with a victory over the Giants, then the Redskins and finally a demolishing of the Raiders. Each win was more impressive than the one before it.
The once-anemic offense has scored 34 points in three straight games and the NFL’s No. 1 run defense has allowed 48.3 yards on the ground and no rushing touchdowns during this win streak.
All signs point to the Jets having turned the corner, but Gase is trying to keep them grounded.
Some might consider this week’s game a “trap” game because of the Bengals’ record. As well as the Jets have played these last three weeks, they can’t go into this game believing they already have it won. A few weeks ago, they were just as hapless as the Bengals.
“When we get rolling on Wednesday, I expect our guys to be the same that they’ve been through the entire year,” Gase said. “We have a new opponent. This is a different coaching staff. We have a lot to learn from all three phases as far as what they’re scheme is going to be, how we’re going to play them.
“It’s hard to win an NFL game. Record aside, every game is tough. I know it’s hard for anybody to believe that, but it is.”
The Jets need only look at what happened in Miami on Nov. 3, when veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick carved up his former team for 288 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 118.7.
They will be facing another veteran who is capable of putting up big numbers. Bengals coach Zac Taylor has gone back to Andy Dalton, ending the Ryan Finley experiment for now.
With Finley, the Bengals have been in their last two games, losing by seven and six points to the Raiders and Steelers, respectively. That has Gase’s attention, and it’s sure to be brought up to his players.
“They’ve played two teams extremely tough,” Gase said. “Both those games were tight to the end. This is going to be a tough game for us. Anytime you go on the road in the NFL it’s not easy.”