Newly-tabbed head coach Adam Gase takes the optimistic offensive lien approach while New York Jets fandom feels like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
Folks, Adam Gase isn’t panicking over the New York Jets offensive line.
It matters not that the Mike Maccagnan offensive line has suffered greatly four years running. It matters very little that the Mike Tannenbaum-Eric Mangini duo took a porous version and flipped three starters over the course of a sole offseason (with so many holes to fill)—eventually leading to back-to-back AFC title game appearances.
Forget all of that noise. Bodies are needed, but Gase simply doesn’t see the blazing fire burning up an entire offensive football unit, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
“I would say that we’re a work in progress right now,” Gase said. “We’ll see how the draft goes. The last three years, we’ve added so many guys during that waiver claim (period) after training camp … whether it’s guys that we’ve had in the past, whether it’s young players that got cut or moving on and we end up picking them up. We make some changes up front. Trades. So many things that can happen. We’re at a good starting point right now.
“I’m not in the same place you guys are,” Gase said. “One, we’re going to keep adding competition and depth to that group. I watched enough last year on Jonotthan that I know what he brings to the table, especially his intelligence. His ability to kind of run that group I was really impressed with.”
That’s nice. It’s comforting. Nevermind the fact Gase has just arrived and hasn’t experienced the prior four seasons.
Gase doesn’t feel the urgency. He’s “not in the same place” everybody else is concerning the dire state of this crucial five-man unit.
It’s Groundhog Day.
Ryan Clady was acquired for a fifth-round selection to replace D’Brickashaw Ferguson during the 2016 offseason. That didn’t work. Kelvin Beachum was then signed to replace the failed Clady experiment. That hasn’t turned out as a saving grace.
Here come the centers—the spot left so curiously open during the free agency period.
When Nick Mangold retired after 2016, Wesley Johnson was good enough to plug-and-play. What a disaster. The free-agent addition of Spencer Long and Brian Winters‘s return from a nagging injury was supposed to equal success in 2018. Forget about it.
The patchwork offensive line job has led to older veteran signings and fifth-round leftover deals. Kelechi Osemele is the newest great hope for the O-line in 2019. It’s the Maccagnan strategy that’s simultaneously brought with it a 2-of-28 draft strategy (two offensive linemen drafted of a total 28 selections over four seasons; zero over the last two).
Every offseason has brought a brand-spanking new excuse for why this season will serve as the offensive line turning point.
Oh yeah, a kid named Sam Darnold is now the quarterback. His right arm is the very definition of hope and good wishes moving forward.
But hey, “Where’s this offensive line fire y’all are seeing?” To Adam Gase, everything’s just fine and dandy while simultaneously labeling it a “work in progress.”
“I would say that we’re a work in progress right now,” Gase said. “We’ll see how the draft goes. The last three years, we’ve added so many guys during that waiver claim (period) after training camp … whether it’s guys that we’ve had in the past, whether it’s young players that got cut or moving on and we end up picking them up. We make some changes up front. Trades. So many things that can happen. We’re at a good starting point right now.”
Admittedly, Gase is in a tough spot. He understands the importance of the five-man unit that nearly represents 50 percent of the entire offense (5-of-11 players). He’s appropriately playing the cool, calm and collected game.
It falls on Maccagnan.
New York’s offensive line starters have been cemented for four-years running. Rarely should that ever be the case, especially for such a mediocre group. Of all positions on the field and in the locker room, O-line grows from competition at the highest percentage. Something’s desperately wrong when Kelvin Beachum is still a lock to start at left tackle for a Sam Darnold line. The depth chart is out of whack when Brandon Shell is in no danger of being pushed come July.
In 2016, Clady didn’t work. In 2017, Johnson was a disaster. In 2018, Winters didn’t flawlessly rebound from injury and Long couldn’t help but get abused on a routine basis.
Patchwork within this unit is a major no-no. Just look around at the better teams in the league and understand how each’s line grew to what it is today. There’s always a nucleus that arrived as premium NFL Draft talent. New York is still starting from scratch in that department.
Adam Gase can throw around optimism all he wants. Until Mike Maccagnan drafts premium talent in the NFL Draft, just go ahead and label every New York Jets fan Bill Murray. It’s Groundhog Day until a big heavy is selected early in the talent pool.