Everyone wants the next Sean McVay, and now the Jets got the guy who was Sean McVay before Sean McVay was Sean McVay. The Jets have hired former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, according to multiple reports, and poached the former division rival to groom their quarterback of the future, Sam Darnold.
Offensive head coaches are all the rage in the NFL, but for the Jets, it’s long overdue. Gase is the first head coach the Jets have hired from the offensive side of the ball since Rich Kotite in 1995, and, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter pointed out, he is the first Jets head coach who has previous NFL head coaching experience since Bill Parcells. The direction wasn’t the question as much as which coach the Jets would choose. Earlier on Wednesday, reports came out that former Packers coach Mike McCarthy was considering only the Jets as his next gig (or, perhaps, that the Jets were the only team left considering him). New York’s other candidates were former Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken and Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. Rhule reportedly told the Jets he would decline if the team wanted general manager Mike Maccagnan to have control over coach staffing decisions. It’s unclear whether Gase faced similar restrictions as Baylor’s Rhule, but Jeff Darlington reported that Miami’s 2018 offensive coordinator, Dowell Loggains, will be Gase’s top assistant.
Gase has worked with about as eclectic a group of quarterbacks as you can find: Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, Jay Cutler, and Ryan Tannehill. In Gase’s first year as a coordinator at any level, he orchestrated Denver’s record-breaking offense in 2013, when Manning set the NFL record for passing touchdowns and passing yards. Gase was Denver’s quarterbacks coach when Tebow won a playoff game. (That was the canary in the coal mine for us living in a simulation.) Manning once called Gase “the smartest guy I know.”
According to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, Manning may have made a deciding phone call with Jets CEO Christopher Johnson last night.
It was an exhaustive process that included countless discussions, but I’m told Jets CEO Christopher Johnson took a phone call on Tuesday night from an especially impressive reference who advocated for Adam Gase:— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 10, 2019
Gase’s pedigree made him one of the most sought-after offensive coaches in the league when he took the Miami job in 2016, but Gase’s 23-25 tenure in Miami was tough to read. On the one hand, he failed to live up to his highly regarded status, ran consistently mediocre-to-abysmal offenses, and won 13 games in his last two years. On the other hand, Miami might have the single worst roster in the league next year, and Gase’s coaching may have masked one of the worst teams in football.
The Jets are banking on the latter and hoping Gase’s experience will provide the right atmosphere for Darnold, whose development seemed to be hampered while playing the 2018 season under Todd Bowles. Yet Darnold is the first truly young quarterback prospect Gase will get to groom, aside from Tebow. How Gase, 40, adapts to a quarterback half his age may define his tenure.
The move leaves Cincinnati and Miami as the only two head coach openings in the league. Five black head coaches were fired either during or after the 2018 season—Hue Jackson, Vance Joseph, Todd Bowles, Steve Wilks, and Marvin Lewis—and no black head coaches have been hired thus far this cycle.
If Gase turns Darnold into an upper-echelon quarterback for the Jets, he’ll be hailed as a hero in New York. Whether he can remains to be seen, but the Jets finally hired a coach to help their offense get off the ground.