BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. – Especially in the New York market, a refreshing, honest take from a player or coach after a game is not only welcomed, but embraced. Players and coaches that take the “Derek Jeter route” are often labeled as ‘vanilla’. Which, is not a bad thing in the tri-state area: the Jeter approach, as everyone knows, has ‘staying-power’… provided that the skill level is there.
When Adam Gase was brought in to be the new head coach of the New York Jets, the market was expecting his personality to be more “Rex Ryan” and less “Todd Bowles”. Gase falls somewhere in the middle, but, for sure, on the Ryan spectrum.
Major fallout has occurred from his conference call (!) with reporters yesterday. If I were Gase’s advisor, here is how I would coach him to rephrase his comments, without changing their meanings:
On the offensive line’s effectiveness and how it affected the offense’s play, on the whole:
What Gase said: “Some of it was the O-line, but I would say if we read the coverages correctly with the receivers, some of that isn’t a problem.”
What Gase should have said: “The offensive line certainly did not play up to expectation. That, coupled with some other breakdowns in coverage-reading, at all levels, did not put us in position to win the game.
In a conference call to recap the Jets’ week one woes (in particular, the four points the kicker muffed):
What Gase said: “I’m not talking about the past, it’s irrelevant.”
What Gase should have said: “I realize that our kicker cost us four points, however, all of the onus for our loss should not be placed on his shoulders. He, of course, was the most visible, but there were, for example, penalties that kept Buffalo’s drives alive- one of which directly lead to points on the board for them. While it is important to acknowledge this aspect of our game as needing improvement, we need to improve in all three facets of our game.”
On the Front Office allowing Pro-Bowl kicker Jason Myers walk this March:
What Gase said: “That was a long time ago, I don’t even remember what the discussion was.” When pressed, he responded: “I might remember, I just don’t want to tell you”.
What Gase should have said: “That decision was out of my control. You will have to direct that question at our team’s general manager”.
On Sam Darnold averaging a week one 6.25 yards per completion (which, according to my research, happens to be the league’s worst):
What Gase said: “Yeah, if we just make plays on the balls that we actually threw down the field, that’s a different number… We had opportunities. We had a chance to win the game. We have to come out of our double move. The guy falls down and we don’t come out running. So if we do that, then all of a sudden we’re scoring a touchdown. Guys need to do a better job of executing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
What Gase should have said: “As a play caller, I did my best to try to mix it up and create variety. Our players didn’t execute on 100% of the plays – [they] need to do a better job of executing what they’re supposed to be doing. We’ll work on that this week at practice in preparation for the Browns on Monday Night Football.”
On the cornerbacks’ lackluster play?
What Gase said: “I feel like we have some slight room for improvement. I’ll say that nicely.”
What Gase should have said: (Without the sarcasm) “Our cornerbacks did not play well enough for us to win the game. I expect that they, over the next week at practice, will pay closer attention to technique and will study the opposition’s schemes. We have a loaded assignment with the Browns’ wide receiving corp on a national stage and we cannot, in that game, replicate our performance against the Bills.”
On defensive captain Jamal Adams’ comments that the Jets’ energy dipped in the fourth quarter:
What Gase said: “We didn’t handle the fact that we lost our middle linebacker very well… That was something that we addressed today and basically we need to understand that when we lose somebody, the next guy has to step up. We can’t have any blowups, we can’t lose our mind.”
What Gase should have said: “I will speak with Jamal about his comment and together, I will rectify that with him, a defensive captain. Furthermore, I didn’t prepare my team, especially the ‘next man up’, adequately enough in order to deal with a loss of our middle linebacker. We will evaluate his health moving forward and will game plan accordingly”.
Being open and honest is a breath of fresh air for the fans and for the media. However, putting players on the spot and calling them out, as a first year coach in (arguably) the toughest media market in the country is a fantastic way… to get players to quit on you. Know your audience. The type of talk exemplified by Gase in his phone call with media members should be reserved for the guys in the locker room behind closed doors.
“The nail that sticks up gets hammered down”. Hopefully after listening to the fast and furious criticism this week, Gase will hunker down and keep the accusatory comments in the locker room and out of the media. That is, if he wants to stick around as head coach in New York City for more than a one-and-done (plus a few)…see: Ben McAdoo.