New York Jets: Stability at head coach isn’t a reason to keep Adam Gase

New York Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
New York Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets may look to keep head coach Adam Gase in the offseason in order to retain stability. But that absolutely shouldn’t be a rationalization for retention.

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase has had a tumultuous first season in New York. But despite his failures and shortcoming as a coach this season, reports seem to indicate that the plan is to keep him around for next season.

Gase wasn’t exactly a popular choice upon his arrival in the Big Apple. The former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator had just endured a disappointing three-year stretch in Miami where he failed to lead the Dolphins to the heights of his first season with the team.

Yet, despite his failures with the Jets’ division rivals, he was given a shot at redemption with his new team.

It was a puzzling hire at the time, but one that was worth giving a chance. But after a 1-7 start to the season that featured embarrassing loss after embarrassing loss, it was clear that Gase wasn’t the man for the job.

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I mean honestly, what rationale is there for his retention at this point in time?

Did a subsequent three-game win streak over the likes of the Washington Redskins, New York Giants, and a reeling Oakland Raiders team really do enough? Or was all of that seemingly undone by a blowout loss to the winless Cincinnati Bengals?

Surely a flukey, last-second win over his former team last week couldn’t have been enough to convince detractors?

No, instead it seems as though the primary argument in favor of keeping him next season is to avoid instability at head coach. Many fear this for two reasons.

First, they don’t want the Jets to be a pseudo-Cleveland Browns with turnover at the head coaching position seemingly every season. For years, this was the Browns motto and it’s what led to them keeping Hue Jackson for three seasons despite a career 3-36-1 record.

They kept a bad coach for the sake of keeping said coach.

Everyone outside the organization knew that Jackson was unfit for his position. Heck, everyone inside the organization likely knew the same. But the Browns front office/ownership wanted to shed their reputation of firing head coaches after a short reign.

After all, no Browns head coach was given more than two years to control a team from 2009 all the way until Jackson’s hire in 2016.

But in shedding that reputation, they sacrificed wins.

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For the Jets, others have also argued that they would rather not have young quarterback Sam Darnold undergo yet another coaching change. At the end of the day, his development remains paramount over everything else.

Darnold was saddled with a subpar coach while at USC in Clay Helton, given Todd Bowles in his first NFL season, and now he’s been stuck with Gase. If Gase were to be fired, that would mean Darnold would have to learn his fourth offensive system in as many years.

That could spell disaster for a young quarterback.

But again, look at the question at hand. If it’s pretty universal that Gase had done a terrible job with the Jets, what are we really arguing?

Keep a proven bad head coach for another season to avoid any more damage to your young quarterback or fire that head coach to avoid any more damage to your young quarterback.

Which is it? Which is more damaging?

To me, this seems like an obvious answer.

If you’re already pretty certain that the head coach you hired is unfit for the job, you need to bite the bullet and let him go. That is how you mitigate damage to your young quarterback and that is how you avoid falling into a Hue Jackson-like trap.

Many will continue to make excuses for Gase. Injuries have decimated the roster, the offensive line has been a mess, and even Darnold has missed time and battled through nagging injuries this season.

But ignore their 5-9 record for a moment. Forget about the injuries. Forget about the poor roster construction. Essentially, stop making excuses.

Is there anything about what Gase has done as a coach this season that leads anyone to believe that he is the correct man to continue molding Darnold and leading this organization into the future?

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That answer should be a resounding no.

Nearly every player has regressed, Gase has shown no ability to make second-half adjustments, and he remains stubborn to his system at the expense of wasting talent like Le’Veon Bell.

Or in laymen’s terms, every issue that plagued him in Miami continues to be an issue with his new team.

Gase has shown no growth as a coach and no reason to believe that growth is imminent. So then why are the Jets planning on keeping him?

It simply comes down to avoiding that reputation and refusing to own up to their mistakes.

Or in essence, the Hue Jackson effect.

The Jets are in danger of making the exact same mistake that allowed the Browns to remain the laughing stock of the NFL world for so long. And they’re making that decision with faulty rationale and out of pure stubbornness.

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You could upgrade the ship with fancy new features all you want, but as long as you have the wrong captain steering, you’ll always be moving in the wrong direction.