Unlike previous regimes, Adam Gase’s words and actions convey a serious thought within the organization, and the New York Jets know it.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—“Yes, I do.” With those three simple words, Adam Gase turned the eventual problematic narrative on its head.
“Yes, I do” regret leaving Avery Williamson on the field.
“I wish I would have gotten him out of there a series earlier but I’ve talked with him and it’s on me,” Gase said. “I’m the one that has to make that call and get him out of there but we didn’t and that’s a shame because he was having a good camp.”
Instead of utilizing obvious talking points such as “this is football” and “these sort of things happen,” the first-year Florham Park man was locked and loaded, ready to blurt out fault at the drop of a hat on the night the team put forth its Green & White Scrimmage.
The man nobody wanted may just be the same guy everybody respects.
The coach everybody laughed at could possibly be the leader the New York Jets already know they have.
New York concluded its preseason on Thursday night with a heartstomping 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Joe Douglas’s old boys. Placekicker Taylor Bertolet emerged as one of the nightly topics.
Finishing of 2-of-5 (makes of 23 and 39 yards, misses from 53, 56, and 49), the young kicker didn’t do himself any favors. The position is as bleak as ever since Mike Maccagnan allowed Pro Bowler Jason Myers to walk this past spring.
That was the obvious and painstaking narrative, the one the entire world obeyed. Anybody dropped in on the postgame press conference from Mars would believe Bertolet is a Hall of Fame man who experienced a rough night.
“He hit the ones under 40. He had two 50-plus yarders, one 49 that he missed,” Gase explained in defense of his kicker. “We were late coming out twice. That doesn’t help a kicker when we’re trying to get in rhythm. We’ll keep going through what we’re talking about tomorrow with our personnel department and see what they’re thinking, and make a decision going forward.”
Optics. Leadership. Confidence. There are no rash decisions or comments coming from the mouthpieces of the Jets, head coach included.
“Mine’s good,” Gase proclaimed when asked to state his confidence level in Bertolet. “I saw guys running out late on two of those. You just can’t do that to a kicker. You can’t bust his rhythm like that.”
In fact, one can make an argument Gase intentionally tested his kicker on the final attempt. With a Jet running late onto the field, he had the obvious option to call a timeout and save five yards. He bypassed the option, instead opting for the 49-yard try.
A hidden test from the man in charge of the sideline? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Perhaps Gase has zero confidence in his kicker at the moment. I mean, let’s discuss it bluntly: how could anybody feel great about the situation at the moment? The Jets kicking situation is as shaky as a John Rocker bobblehead.
But just as the message conveyed a specific “Mike Maccagnan is safe” narrative months ago, the Jets locker room leader is doing the same with his positions, ensuring his hand is never tipped and the plan is never unveiled.
Emotion and honesty always count as tremendous human traits. Friendships are cultivated and love blossoms when such traits are present. Luckily, for the Jets, Gase understands the NFL isn’t for the friendly and that Valentine’s Day falls after the season concludes.
Remember, if the Jets truly still cared about public perception, this man would not be the head coach. Mike McCarthy would be living in Morristown while salivating over young Sam Darnold. If the Jets still cared about public perception, Maccagnan would still be running the front office.
There are many lingering questions. Can he run an entire 53-man roster, defense included? Is he suited as a total program builder who can play nicely enough with this new age of athlete? Will he remain calm over the long haul?
All fair questions that only time can answer. Right now, however, the New York Jets understand what they currently have in Adam Gase, and he’s answered every call thus far.