Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, Adam Gase
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Disrespect on defense (and mutual respect on offense) has fueled the re-energized New York Jets as of late.

Robby Sabo

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—This cannot happen. How Jamal Adams felt while walking through the tunnel at MetLife Stadium, prior to his team’s critical contest against the 6-4 Oakland Raiders on Sunday, wasn’t fit for kids. Disney+ couldn’t house such raw emotion, such dark content.

An R-rated Adams knew it wasn’t right. This is New Jersey. This is MetLife Stadium. This is his team’s home.

To hear boos cascade down as his boys stepped on the turf for their pre-game routine was unacceptable.


“I’m not gonna lie to you,” Adams said after the New York Jets’ dominant 34-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. “We got booed and all, in our home stadium by Oakland fans, and we came back into this locker room and there was a hell of a talk.”

Sunday’s weather featured as bad a day as possible in Northern Jersey for a late November NFL game. A cold, wet, dreary backdrop, combined with a 3-7 record, had many Jets fans bolt for the third-party ticket market.

Similarly to Dallas Cowboys fans earlier in the season, Raiders Nation took advantage. The result was a MetLife Stadium crowd donning black and silver.

“There was something that needed to be said,” Adams said. “We felt disrespected … and it was put up or shut up.”

When asked who led that charge, Adams didn’t shy away.

“Yeah, I said something. We needed to spark it up.”

Adams, 24, continued his mesmerizing play against a good Raiders squad. Playing in an aggressive Gregg Williams defense that now showcases a true identity, Adams tallied seven tackles, half a sack, half a tackle for loss and three quarterback hits on the often confused Derek Carr.

Wins against the New York Giants and Washington Redskins are one thing, but the best safety in the NFL backed it up with a competent club in town.

Offensively, the recent Sam Darnold surge didn’t miss a beat. Throwing for 315 yards and two scores on 20-of-29 passing, the quarterback artist formerly known as the “Ghost Spotter” is officially on fire.

A big deal has been made about Darnold standing up to his head coach. Finally walking into Adam Gase’s office with a chip on his shoulder is a narrative many are pointing to as the great offensive turnaround.

While the improved offensive line is the greatest reason for an upright Darnold making plays with his god-gifted ability, the mutual respect dished out from head coach to young signal-caller has accelerated the process.

At the 8:40 mark of the third quarter, the offense assumed a grand opportunity to pounce.

Having just stopped the Raiders on downs, both Gase and Darnold were on the same page: take advantage. Specific shot plays are only used at the most ideal of times. Snagging the ball back after a turnover, while near midfield, is one of those times.

The head coach’s respect for his quarterback took control and the double-reverse flea-flicker stunned Jets fandom.

“He (Adam Gase) asked me if I wanted to do it, and I felt it was a good time, for whatever reason, I just felt it in my gut,” Darnold said.” If I put the ball out a little further, I think Robby scores, but he made a heck of a catch and we finished the drive.”

The everlasting image of a lonely Adam Gase with his head buried in the play sheet on the bench in Miami is long gone. Instead of a tyrant, young Darnold seems to have a big brother.

Such mutual respect between play-caller and quarterback, especially in today’s NFL, travels a long way. Picking the young man’s brain while attempting to grasp his thought process represents an effort at leadership.

Still, the Jets maintain the correct one-week-at-a-time mindset. It’s the mantra that carries through every nook and cranny of the Jets Atlantic Health Training Center on a daily basis. It’s that, coupled with improvement, that has them riding a three-game winning streak.

“Yeah. Close to it,” Gase said in response to whether or not this is how he envisioned the offense heading into this season. “I still think there are a lot of things we need to improve on. We need to be more consistent in the running game.”

A rabid disrespect factor that allows for more aggression on defense and mutual respect that allows the free-flowing information highway to accelerate on offense is the current Florham Park formula.

The goal now is to get to Baltimore at 6-7. Scratch that. Erase such a silly thought from your memory. These are the Jets, the individuals who don’t look ahead. It’s one game at a time with a 20/20 eye on improvement in all areas.

The only current goal is preparing for the Cincinnati Bengals. But hey, while they prepare, the defense should continue to look for disrespect in all places while the offense continues its mutual respect Kumbaya sessions.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. They’ll need it if true NFL noise is created from the fellas who represent Gotham Green.


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