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The Jets’ Adam Gase Era Is Finally Over

New York moved on from the head coach after a season that was bad enough to turn the team into a laughingstock, but not bad enough to earn the Jets the no. 1 overall pick in the draft

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

The New York Jets are finally officially moving on from Adam Gase. Following the Jets’ 28-14 loss to the Patriots on Sunday, the team announced they had fired Gase. The 42-year-old coach spent the past two seasons leading the Jets to a combined 9-23 record, including a 2-14 mark this year, which was enough to turn the team into a leaguewide laughingstock, but not enough to secure it the no. 1 pick in April’s draft. New York’s season was either a botched intentional tank job or simply a product of organizational ineptitude. Now, the team will move forward with a much-needed fresh start.

“While my sincere intentions are to have stability in our organization—especially in our leadership positions—it is clear the best decision for the Jets is to move in a different direction,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement. “We knew there was a lot of work that needed to be done when Adam joined us in 2019.”

Gase’s ouster was long expected. He did not turn out to be the “brilliant offensive mind” that Johnson described him as earlier this season. The Jets offense ranked among the worst in the league, in large part because of Gase’s unwavering reliance on New York’s Frank Gore–led rushing attack and quarterback Sam Darnold’s lack of development. The Jets’ 40-3 loss to the Seahawks in Week 14 marked the 16th consecutive game in which the Jets’ opponent passed for more yards than them. In that same span, the NFL’s 31 other teams had out-passed an opponent at least five times, according to Football Perspective’s Chase Stuart.

“I’m sure at the end of the year when we go look at the big picture,” Gase told reporters after the December loss, “there’s going to be things that we definitely need to do better and get corrected.”

Now, Gase won’t be around to see that laundry list of issues remedied. Throughout his tenure, Gase did attempt to correct areas of weakness. After the Jets’ miraculous loss to the Raiders in Week 13—when then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams dialed up a cover zero blitz on the second-to-last play of the game, allowing Henry Ruggs III to get behind New York’s secondary for a score—Gase fired Williams. “[I] just felt like that was the best thing for our team moving forward,” Gase told reporters. “Organizationally, we had a discussion this morning and we felt like that was the best move for us to make.”

But defense wasn’t New York’s only problem. Entering Week 17, the Jets ranked 31st in offensive DVOA and 20th in defensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The team’s offense reached the final week of the regular season tied for 31st in Pro Football Focus’s overall grade (63.9), including 32nd in offense grade (63), and 24th in defense grade (61.7).

When asked to sum up the season after Sunday’s loss, Gase told reporters it was too soon for him to analyze it beyond noting, “It just wasn’t good enough, obviously.”

There have been no real offensive revelations during Gase’s tenure aside from rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton. However, the Jets did boast three defensive players ranked in the top 50 graded players in PFF’s database (safety Marcus Maye at no. 31, and defensive linemen Folorunso Fatukasi and Quinnen Williams at nos. 35 and 37, respectively) entering Sunday. Even when the Jets have had talent, though, they’ve found ways to squander it. Safety Jamal Adams, defensive tackle Leonard Williams and big-ticket free-agent tailback Le’Veon Bell—whom Gase had a public tiff with—have each left for greener pastures since Gase took over. Up until Week 15, the Jets at least seemed destined to start their rebuild with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence as their QB of the future.

But then, after New York reeled off back-to-back wins over the Rams and Browns, the Jaguars locked up the coveted no. 1 pick. Ohio State’s Justin Fields and BYU’s Zach Wilson could be wonderful consolation prizes, but it’s baffling to not at least net the first choice after this long-standing run of futility. The Jets opened the season 0-13 and still weren’t truly the best in the league at losing. If it was a tank job, it went wrong. And if it wasn’t, then Gase was simply not good enough to guide New York back to relevancy.

“We are committed to building a strong organization on and off the field,” Johnson stated, “and will continue to provide the necessary resources to field a team that you can be proud of.” Only time will tell if the next Jets’ coach can live up to their owner’s words.