An NFL head coach receives far too much praise or criticism, but in the case of New York Jets HC Adam Gase, it’s out of control.
The NFL head coach is always the big man at the facility. He’s the boss, the top dog, the dude who steers the entire ship while strutting his stuff for the entire football world to witness.
Of course, that strutting is only satisfying when the wins severely outnumber the losses. Just one remembrance of Rex Ryan’s Florham Park ways provides the most concrete of examples.
The very same NFL head coach, who also steers the sinking ship, is vilified in the midst of a losing program. These guys receive far too much credit for winning and entirely too much blame when things aren’t going the organization’s way.
Adam Gase understands these head-coaching ways all too well. The New York Jets first-year head man is neither strutting nor boastful. Sitting at 0-3 through the first four weeks of the season, combined with a failed Miami Dolphins regime on his resume, the supposed quarterback whisperer is taking it from all angles.
A terrible blown lead against the Buffalo Bills blended quickly into blowouts at the hands of the Cleveland Browns and hated New England Patriots. There’s very little defense for incompetence in New York City and, rightly so, Gase is taking the punches as if he’s looking to fatigue Mike Tyson.
Of course, the injuries are a problem. Playing without the starting and backup quarterback in this league is an obvious issue. Looking to overhaul an entire defense without its top-two inside linebackers raises concerns. Let’s also raise the crucial point that is a horrid offensive line, one that was handed to Gase and his partner in crime, Joe Douglas, one that hasn’t seen an injection of a first-round talent since 2006 and second-round talent since 2010.
Still, no excuses. That is, until, somebody actually takes the time to look at the tape. While, it’s true, Gase deserves his fair share of criticism, the man is far from the team’s most disturbing problem. In fact, he put his players in a position to execute in Week 3. It just didn’t happen.
Drive No. 1
After a first-down play that picked up seven yards on a nicely-blocked split zone with Le’Veon Bell, the Jets were faced with a manageable 2nd-and-3. Gase dialed up a pass, thinking he could do a little damage on a rushing down.
The problem lies, as usual, upfront. With Ryan Griffin remaining in to block, a Patriots defender actually splits him and Kelvin Beachum to put pressure on young Luke Falk.
It’s an inexcusable football play. If the offense can’t block the opponent, the playbook is meaningless. If not for a nicely-thrown Falk ball and a Jamison Crowder veteran move (coming back for the ball), the up-front blocking fails the offense.
Facing a 3rd-and-6, the Jets quarterback flat-out misses an easy one. He misses Crowder in the flat which would have picked up the first down.
It’s a perfect example of Gase putting his players in position to get it done. Nobody wants to get on Falk, but fair is fair, and the actual examination of what’s gone wrong needs to commence.
What else can the Jets head coach do? He called a third-down play that yielded a wide-open flat man.
Drive No. 2
On the next drive, 2nd-and-6, the inexperienced signal-caller missed another one. Actually, he missed two.
With the six-man rush on and the Jets only having five to block, Falk needs to understand where his hot reads are. Gase could possibly be questioned if the route concept didn’t yield an open weapon, but two weapons are running wild.
Griffin on the short cross and Braxton Berrios in the flat are wide open against the Cover 0 blitz. Instead of a first down, it’s on to 3rd-and-6 and another failed drive.
Drive No. 3
The third drive starts with an embarrassing display of offensive line play. Brian Winters is an excellent run blocker. He, along with Ryan Kalil and Kelechi Osemele are solid when grinding it out on the ground.
When Winters stands up, it’s oftentimes tough to watch.
On this one, he shoves his man, which immediately puts him out of position. A four-man rush completely wrecks the entire play.
What can you say? In what world can Adam Gase improve his starting right guard’s pass-protecting ability? This isn’t a communication issue. It’s a talent issue.
Finally, Gase essentially throws his hands up on 3rd-and-long. He runs the wide receiver screen. Yeah, I know; you’re sick and tired of witnessing draws and screens on 3rd-and-long. But guess what? It’s actually the higher-percentage play.
Check out the Pats defense and how aggressive it is on this 3rd-and-15. It’s a Cover 0 accompanied with an all-out blitz. If the Jets execute it properly (and possess the right playmaker out wide), a one-on-one situation unfolds.
Dialing up the wide receiver screen against an all-out Cover 0 blitz is a perfect play call. There’s no question throwing the ball deep and taking those shots yield net-positive results in today’s NFL. The rules allow for it. The rules call for it. The rules scream for it.
At the same time, Gase understands what he has. His third-string quarterback and offensive line don’t allow for enough time to think five-to-seven-step drops will produce worthwhile results. At evidenced by what happened, Gregg Williams’s defense possessed a far better shot of scoring than his offense.
In the end, sure, go ahead and criticize Adam Gase. The man isn’t perfect. Much can be buttoned up (route running, cleaner route concepts, pre-snap options, etc.). Just don’t, for one moment, believe he’s the main culprit.
This New York Jets team was in position to defeat a good Bills squad with a quarterback who was suffering from mono. After that, with all of the injuries, everything’s off the table (in reality).
As usual, it comes down to the main issue that’s plagued this organization for years: the personnel isn’t good enough, mainly the offensive line. Until that’s fixed, don’t think the head coach is the problem.