The former Miami Dolphins coach is under a hot lamp of scrutiny and criticism and his trademark cap is threatening to catch fire.
Because his team is winless.
And his offense is last in points.
So the NFL’s biggest and perhaps most unforgiving media market has portrayed the coach as a villain. And a dunce.
But Adam Gase is drawing on a familiar experience to try to turn things around for the New York Jets. He’s recalling how he turned things around in 2016 with the Dolphins.
“It’s interesting because that 2016 year, starting out 1-4 and just finding a way to just win one, and short-term focus about getting better every day and really not look too far ahead, I felt that was a big reason for us to be able to turn things around,” Gase said Wednesday.
“Guys weren’t focused two, three weeks ahead of time. They were just focused on the task at hand. And that’s something that applies to what we’re going through right now. It’s not easy. That’s what the NFL is. It’s a day-in and day-out test of can you handle adversity and how to stick together and how you prepare for the next game.”
It seems somewhat ironic Gase is using what he learned with his playoff Dolphins — a team that rallied to a 10-6 record after that 1-4 start — to try to turn his Jets around, starting with Sunday’s game at the Dolphins.
And, yes, the Jets are desperate to turn things around.
Because they’re 0-5.
And Gase has been asked on more than one occasion how he assess his job security.
So I ask him how he’s doing to start off his interview with South Florida reporters Wednesday and he answers, “Fantastic,” in a voice dripping with sarcasm.
“We struggled those first three games,” Gase said later. “When we went against Denver (two weeks ago), we finally had some things going for us. But we had a lot bad penalties that game, really hurt us, put us in a bad position.
“We end up losing that game. Last week, (against Arizona) we have a chance to swing the momentum of the game and we didn’t get it done. And that game just didn’t work out the way it looked like it was going there in the third quarter.
“So the positives are there was improvement from that Denver to Arizona game, but we have to find ways to finish our drives in the red zone. It’s really hurt us on offense. And defensively, we have to figure out a way to play better complementary football. We haven’t been able to do that when we get back in a game, or make it tight or take a lead. We need a shutdown on a series and we just haven’t gotten there yet.”
Gase doesn’t mention it but the Jets are clearly out-classed in talent just about every time they step on the field. His starting quarterback Sam Darnold is going to miss his second consecutive game on Sunday and his best linebacker opted out before the season.
New York’s top receiver for three games was Chris Hogan, who was on the street when the Jets added him in late August because of injuries. And now Hogan’s on injured reserve.
Starting left tackle and top draft pick Mehki Becton is nursing a shoulder injury so he didn’t play last week against Arizona and missed most of the previous game. He did not practice Wednesday, either.
So the Jets are something of a mess even as Gase is hoping veterans such as Joe Flacco can rise to some former height and contribute.
Oh, did I mention Le’Veon Bell is gone?
The Jets basically conducted a fire sale for the disgruntled, high-priced running back earlier this week after trying to trade him for quite some time before that. But even at a discount no one showed any interest in Bell.
The Dolphins who are 30th in the NFL, averaging 3.7 yards per rush, showed no interest.
The staggering four-year, $52 million contract Bell signed with the Jets last year — when since-fired general manager Mike Maccagnan was making the personnel decisions — was an obvious reason no team was interested.
Because no team wanted to take on even the remaining portions of that toxic deal.
So the Jets have the look of team with little chance of immediate recovery.
“It’s obviously not the way we’ve pictured things going,” Gase said. “I do think our locker room has done a good job of coming out every week and trying to find ways to improve. The way these guys practice, I said it after the last game … we’re making mistakes that are surprising on game day where if we can get some of those things cleaned up where we do what we do in practice then we put ourselves in a different position.
“Our guys are doing a good job kind of the outside noise, staying away from it. We just got to put together a good week of practice, then on Sunday go out and execute and play a 60-minute game where there are less errors than the week before and we make more plays than the week before.”
Sounds a little like the 2016 Dolphins except for, you know, the wins.
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