The Jets agreed to a deal with Adam Gase on Wednesday to be their new head coach, a decision that has been met with plenty of pessimism from Jets fans. Here are some of my thoughts on the hire:
1. This hire was largely about Sam Darnold. Who can help develop Darnold, who can get the most out of him and who can put him in an offense to succeed? Gase has a long background working with quarterbacks. You can argue he should have gotten more out of Ryan Tannehill in Miami, but Tannehill could not stay healthy and his ceiling may not be all that high.
Here is the most important thing to me: Gase will be running the offense. He will be the voice in Darnold’s ear. It won’t be an offensive coordinator, who if he has any success will become a head coach in a year and you’ll be starting all over again. If the Jets are right about Gase and Darnold, this will be a partnership for the next decade. Darnold is already going to be on his second offense in two years. The Jets can’t be in a situation where they are changing offenses every one to two years like they have been since 2011. This should create some stability for Darnold.
2. Gase’s success or failure is not completely in his hands. This is the problem for all head coaches. Gase needs to hire a good staff. General manager Mike Maccagnan has to get him some talent to work with. Then he needs some luck. He has to hope his team stays healthy. He has to hope the schedule breaks the right way.
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It is on Gase to get the organization going in the right direction. He can create the atmosphere for the team and chart the course, but he will need plenty of things to go his way as well.
That is the hard part about evaluating these coaching hires when they happen. No one knows. There are plenty of examples of coaching hires that looked good and then did not work out and plenty of examples of coaching hires that were panned that did work out. There are so many variables and luck is a big part of it.
3. One thing that does concern me is Gase landing a head coaching job right away after failing in Miami. It does remind me of Eric Mangini landing in Cleveland immediately after the Jets fired him and Rex Ryan going to the Bills after losing his job with the Jets.
I thought in both instances they would have been better served by stepping away from being a head coach for a few years to figure out what they did wrong and how they would go about the job differently the second time. Both rushed right back in and repeated many of the same mistakes they made with the Jets.
Will that happen with Gase?
There are two things that give me a reason to think this could be different. One is Darnold. The Browns and Bills were not in good shape when Mangini and Ryan went there, respectively. I think the Jets are in better shape because of Darnold and the $100 million in cap space.
Also, I think one of the big issues in Miami was Gase’s personnel decisions. He had control over the 53-man roster and did not do a great job with it. With the Jets, he won’t have that same control and he can focus on coaching.
4. This decision is clearly unpopular with many Jets fans. I don’t think the Jets should care. They have won the press conference before when hiring a head coach. Ryan won the press conference in a rout in 2009 and Bowles was widely applauded when he was hired in 2015. It did not work out with either coach.
The only thing that matters is winning. If the Jets think Gase can turn their franchise around, the outside noise is just that. If the Jets win under Gase, fans will jump right on his bandwagon.
I’ve also heard some people talk about Gase not being media-friendly and whether that is a worry in New York. It should not be. Again, winning is all that matters. If he wins, the relationship with the media won’t matter. If he loses, the media will criticize him no matter how friendly he is.
5. Finally, the candidate who seems to have generated the most interest who did not get the job is Mike McCarthy, the former Packers coach. My understanding is McCarthy was never the favorite, as some people viewed him. The Jets wanted to talk to him as part of this process because of his success in Green Bay, but they had plenty of reservations about him. There were questions about his game management, his offense and what happened in Green Bay.
Clearly, the Jets did not love the answers they got to those questions during his interview. The Jets were the only team to interview McCarthy, so they are not the only team that had some concerns about him.