It is never too early to fire Adam Gase

Save Sam Darnold!

In a generous attempt at returning normalcy to a terrible year, the New York Jets embarrassed themselves in an opening day loss. Once more, the Fire Adam Gase chants trickle in.

New York never stressed the Buffalo Bills, never resembled anything close to a competent football team, and lost their entire fanbase one half into the 2020 season. Daily News beat writer Charles McDonald summarized the game in one tweet. 

A normal team could be forgiven for week one sloppiness, especially with the extenuating circumstances of no preseason and general COVID-19 chaos. However, the Jets are no normal team. Systemic incompetence plagues this franchise. 

Nothing ever changes

wrote this in December of 2019, weary after yet another disappointing Jets season. Every word echoes louder today.

Ultimately, the Jets need to decide what they want out of the franchise. One winning season in a decade makes you a laughingstock, and as they enter yet another offseason with a high draft pick and endless question marks, the streak doesn’t appear in any danger of ending. Gase in his best season produced a thoroughly mediocre Miami team that lost by three scores in the playoffs, and he’s offered little to no signs of optimism in this disaster of a Jets year. 

What does the franchise want to stand for? 

If he’s still the coach in 2020, an already-empty apathetic fanbase might turn in their allegiances for good. Life’s too short to watch another 5-11 season go up in flames. The Jets need to move on from Adam Gase.

Gase represents a failed hire from the start. He arrived as an offensive mind, but exactly zero Jets players improved under his watch. Most egregiously, he’s failed his quarterback.

Adam Gase and Sam Darnold

We’re nearing a point where the USC Trojans may consider blocking their students from speaking to Jets general managers. After destroying Mark Sanchez, the Jets moved on to Sam Darnold. Darnold arrived with all of the hype and brilliance of a franchise quarterback, and showed just enough of this potential to inspire my fellow hopeless Jets fans to maybe think this was our guy.

In year three, the hope and the patience appear to be in short supply. He posted the two worst seasons by QBR among the first round 2018 first quarterbacks, per Pro Football Reference. I excluded Josh Rosen here to be charitable to the poor guy, who’s on his third team in three seasons.

Seems like that Lamar Jackson guy might have been undervalued, huh?

Darnold, like Mayfield and Allen, showed slight declines in total QBR for his second season. Yet, he’s also the worst of the four in 2020 and third in 2019; he only beats out Lamar in his rookie season, where he played QB part-time and had yet to take over the reins entirely.

Sunday’s loss to Buffalo offered little optimism for this season. Brian Baldinger broke out one particularly brutal miss here.

He missed receivers all game, showed poor decision making, and looks less ready to compete in year three than his rookie season. If Darnold isn’t improving, the team isn’t winning, and they’re getting thoroughly outclassed and unprepared to play, what’s the point?

The king of empty adjustments

Buffalo led the Jets by 18 points at halftime, the precise moment where I gave up on the game and tuned to just NFL Redzone. I know the story too well, and the characters don’t deserve a rewatch. 

A halftime deficit almost always means an Adam Gase loss. According to Pro Football Reference, Gase lost 24 of the 33 games where he trailed at halftime while coaching the Dolphins, good for a 27% winning percentage. 

As the Jets coach, Gase trailed his opponent at halftime by any deficit nine times as the Jets head coach. 

He lost all nine of those games.

Eight of those nine games produced a halftime deficit over 10 points. In five of them, the Jets trailed by two touchdowns or more. Gase demonstrated extreme kindness by sparing Jets fans half of their Sundays. Gase coached the Jets in seventeen games so far, and over 50% of them produced a halftime deficit of at least nine points..

If you expand the search to any deficit at any point, the results stay the same. Gase won 19 of 44 eligible games with Miami and 3 of 13 with the Jets. Between the two, he wins less than 39% of games where his team falls behind by any margin. Consistently out at the first punch, Gase-coached teams never seem to find an adjustment or solve mid-game. Fire Adam Gase, and maybe you’ll see some comebacks.

Gase never takes ownership

The Jets lose often enough to allow their fans to pick up on communication trends in the postgame press conference. Almost without fail, Sam Darnold will stand at the podium, own any mistakes he may have made, and do his best to shoulder the maximum amount of blame and mitigate issues for his teammates. Instead, Adam Gase will search far and wide for any else to take the heat, forever claiming he schemed a perfect game that didn’t get executed.

Nothing changed after this Buffalo loss. Here’s Darnold taking his lumps.

And here’s how his head coach supported the young quarterback.

Consistently unable to attribute an iota of blame to his coaching and putting issues entirely on his players? The Gase Way.

In an unhealthy sport, Gase still stands out

He also shows a worrisome trend of mismanaging workloads and injury risks. Gase faced some heat in the offseason for benching starting RB Le’Veon Bell during much of the training camp, claiming that he was saving his star back from reps. Bell insisted he knew his body and would need those reps to get ready. 

Sure enough, in the first game of the season, Bell got hurt in a controversial way.

Issues with Bell might one thing, but Gase teams consistently produce odd and unprofessional responses to team injuries. Last season, Kelechi Osemele tore his labrum and played through the issue for the first few games. Rich Cimini at ESPN covered the timeline here:

Sources said the Jets opposed Osemele’s position because they felt it was a preexisting injury and that he could’ve played through it, waiting until after the season to have surgery…Osemele said he was hurt Aug. 5 during a training camp practice and had been receiving treatment for his shoulder. He said he took painkilling injections before the first three games.

The Jets accidentally sent blank MRIs to Osemele’s doctor, fined him game checks for missing games, and ultimately cut Osemele after the surgery. In a sport with brief careers for most players, in what world would Osemele inflate or fake an injury to end his season and put his career at risk?

During this process, Gase refused to check in or even speak to his injured player. Osemele filed a grievance with the NFLPA over his treatment from the Jets, and backup QB Luke Falk soon did the same over his hip injury.

After getting cut, Osemele landed on the Kansas City Chiefs. Cris Collinsworth consistently highlighted his stellar play in week one, and Osemele earned rave reviews for his first game with the Chiefs. 

It takes a special type of dysfunction to force out your starting guard, insult him publicly, inspire him to file an injury grievance, and then watch him thrive on the defending Super Bowl champs. 

One graphic’s enough to fire Adam Gase

Ultimately, nothing I write will be more persuasive than this CBS graphic from Sunday.

Gase maintained the entire coaching staff that produced that nightmare of an offense, and seems ready to defend his 32nd place finish in 2020. 

This is the closest we’ll (hopefully) get to answering the question I’ve always wondered: would it take an apocalypse to get the Jets to win? With Gase, the answer’s always no.

Show some courage and fire Adam Gase before the season’s lost.