The Jets are set to hire Adam Gase as their next head coach.
Andy Vasquez, Staff Writer, @andy_vasquez
Adam Gase, the Jets’ choice to be their next head coach according to a source, is not walking into an easy situation.
The team is in the midst of an eight-year playoff drought, the second-longest in franchise history and the third-longest active streak in the NFL.
The fan base was already frustrated by the constant losing. And now they’re deeply skeptical of their new coach. And understandably so. A few days ago, fans viewed Gase as a guy who beat up on the Jets (5-1 in the last three years) but wasn’t good enough to stick with one of their rivals.
Now he’s the Jets’ great hope – along with Sam Darnold – to turn everything around.
So how can Gase be successful with the Jets? Here are a few things he must do.
ADAM GASE: Twitter reacts to New York’s coach decision
Win, and win quickly
Gase is only 40, so he has potential and room for growth as a coach. But given that he failed in this division the last three years, and the building frustration around this franchise, he’s not going to get any sort of honeymoon period from fans or critics. Gase needs to get the Jets off to a good start in his first season, or there will be relentless pressure from the fans and, as a byproduct, a lot of difficult questions in press conferences.
If Gase can get some quick wins, and the Jets can get some early momentum, he’ll start to get the benefit of the doubt from the fans. But if it starts out poorly, it could get very ugly very quickly.
Story continues after gallery.
Develop Sam Darnold
The Jets believe they got the total package in Gase, in terms of leadership, charisma and football acumen. But they also believe they found the coach who can bring along their young quarterback, Sam Darnold. The 21-year-old made significant strides at the end of the season, showing his ability to make plays in an offense that wasn’t very good or creative.
It’s Gase’s job to put Darnold in a position to succeed. He needs to know how much his young quarterback can handle, tailor the offense to his strengths and there needs to be significant improvement in Darnold’s sophomore season. If that happens, there’s a good chance the Jets will improve, too.
Fix his own offense
Gase arrived in Miami with the reputation for being an offensive guru. But in three seasons with the Dolphins, proved to be less than a mastermind. According to ESPN, the Dolphins were ranked 27th in scoring, 31st in yards per game, 19th in yards per play, 28th in total quarterback rating and 25th in red-zone efficiency during his three years in Miami. That’s, um, not good.
The Dolphins did not have a lot of offensive weapons. And their quarterback situation, with an old Jay Cutler and a banged-up Ryan Tannehill, was less than ideal. Somehow, Gase found a way to go 23-25 with the Dolphins’ lack of production, which is impressive. But if he’s not better at moving the ball with the Jets, who should have more weapons, it could be a short stay.
Hire the right staff
One of the places where Bowles fell especially short was in assembling a quality staff. In his four years as coach not one of his assistants was plucked from the Jets for a better job. Gase has got to get his staff right. ESPN reported that Dowell Loggains, Gase’s offensive coordinator from Miami last year, will join him as his top assistant.
Multiple outlets reported that the Jets will look at former Broncos coach Vance Joseph to be their defensive coordinator, which would be a nice pickup. Gase would be smart to take a long look at keeping Brant Boyer, who presided over the NFL’s top-rated special teams unit, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings.
Beat the Patriots
Really, this is the only thing that matters, isn’t it? The Patriots have owned the division for the last two decades. Herman Edwards couldn’t dethrone them. Eric Mangini couldn’t. Rex Ryan had one beautiful night, but fell short. Todd Bowles beat them only once in eight tries. And Gase couldn’t get the job done in Miami, going 2-4 in his three seasons.
Tom Brady is getting older, and the Jets finally have their young quarterback. At some point in the next few years, a window is going to open up in which the Patriots are vulnerable. If the Jets can jump through it, the fans will quickly forget how angry they were when Gase was hired.