Adam Gase is innovative, an offensive genius. Peyton Manning loves Gase and has recommended him to various franchises around the league, most recently the Browns, who passed in favor of Freddie Kitchens.
And most recently the Jets, via call to Christopher Johnson.
Gase is — or should be — the best thing for Sam Darnold.
Whether he is the best thing for the Jets is another matter entirely.
No one can say with any certainty whether Gase will be more than a quarterback whisperer and be better the second time around — well, Bill Belichick was, right? — after sinking with the division-rival Dolphins.
It is a red flag that he could not get along with wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and it is an even redder flag that he reportedly became power crazy enough to bark at owner Stephen Ross.
Jets tap Adam Gase as their new head coach
The Jets chose a familiar face as their new head…
And this is New York, which swallows imposters whole.
If you do not have armadillo skin, you have no chance here. The jury is out on whether Gase does.
And these are the New York Jets, who will be “celebrating” the 50-year anniversary of their one and only Super Bowl championship on Saturday, in case you haven’t heard.
The good news is Gase, as a wonder-boy offensive coordinator, worked wonders with the likes of Jay Cutler and even Tim Tebow. And a faded Manning. He has learned at the feet of Mike Martz, Nick Saban and John Fox. John Elway called him a genius.
“The smartest guy I know,” Manning once said.
“I’ve seen some of the best do it,” Gase said on Jan. 9, 2016, the day the Dolphins introduced him.
He was 23-25 with the Dolphins, a reason to be optimistic only if you compare it to Todd Bowles’ 24-40 mark. In fairness, he inherited an injury-prone Ryan Tannehill and first-round draft bust DeVante Parker, and a disenchanted Landry.
But there was Mike McCarthy and there was everybody else. Gase and Matt Rhule, who stayed at Baylor, belonged in the field of everybody else. Did McCarthy spar with Aaron Rodgers? Yep. Had his offense showed creativity? Yep. Did he win a Super Bowl? Yep. Has Gase? Nope.
At least Gase is an offensive coach after all the defensive coaches the Jets have hired since Rich Kotite (cough, cough). At least he has head-coaching experience after all the assistants the Jets have hired since Bill Parcells. Or since Belichick’s one day on the job as HC of the NYJ.
If he develops Darnold properly and steers him toward stardom, he will at least have a chance.
And general manager Mike Maccagnan better get him some playmakers with the third pick in the NFL draft and that $100 million in free-agent money.
But you just never know. Joe Walton was an offensive genius, remember? Didn’t work out. Bowles was a defensive genius. Didn’t work out. Sean McVay has worked out. Matt Patricia has not.
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Gase has passion, energy, work ethic, intelligence, all that good stuff. His outburst after the Dolphins were routed 40-0 in the middle of the 2017 season would be music to Jamal Adams’ ears:
“We’re the worst offense in football. It’s hard to go lower than that.
“We’re not putting the work in,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to. If you can’t remember it, you shouldn’t be in the NFL. At the end of the day, guys have got to actually take this stuff home and study it. They’re not going to just learn it all in meetings. We’ve got to find guys that’ll actually put forth effort to actually remember this stuff, and it starts with our best players.”
Gase will promise to have Darnold’s back. He will field a better coaching staff than Bowles had.
“Jon Kitna told me in 2007,” he said, ‘Players don’t care what you’ve done in the past.’ They want to know how you can help ’em on the field, how can you make ’em a better player, and how can you get ’em paid? And if you can do those type of things, guys will respect that,” Gase said at his introductory Dolphins press conference.
The Dolphins finished 24th or worse in total offense in all three seasons under Gase. Three players groaned to ESPN that Gase held Tannehill to a different standard.
Here’s what I can tell Adam Gase:
I froze in the upper deck of Shea Stadium watching the Jets survive the Raiders 27-23 in the 1968 AFC Championship game.
Now brace yourself:
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I covered the ignominious 14-0 Mud Bowl defeat in the 1982 AFC Championship game when Richard Todd threw three interceptions to A.J. Duhe — and five in all — at a rain-soaked Orange Bowl in Miami.
I was in Denver when the Jets blew a 10-0 halftime lead and lost the 1998 AFC Championship to Elway and the Broncos.
I was in Indianapolis when Peyton Manning and the Colts beat the Rex Ryan-Mark Sanchez Jets in the 2009 AFC Championship game.
I was in Pittsburgh when the Ryan-Sanchez Jets spotted the Steelers a 24-3 halftime lead and lost the 2010 AFC Championship game.
From the press box, I witnessed a Fake Spike and a Buttfumble. And a frightening collision with a teammate rushing the passer that left Dennis Byrd paralyzed. And Vinny Testaverde suffering a torn Achilles in the 1999 home opener. And $25 million free agent Neil O’Donnell slipping on the Jets logo in the end zone and suffering a torn calf muscle.
There’s more. But it’s the guy’s first few hours on the job. He better not scare easily. It’s Adam’s apple now.