Jets CEO Christopher Johnson, coach Adam Gase and general manager Mike Maccagnan answer questions from the media during a news conference on Jan. 14, 2019, in Florham Park.

USA TODAY Images

Lichtenstein: After Odd First Impression, Gase Must Change The Narrative By Hiring Competent Staff

Steve Lichtenstein
January 15, 2019 - 9:30 am
Categories: 

Better to win football games than Twitter wars.

At least that’s the Jets’ spin when they introduced Adam Gase on Monday as the team’s 19th head coach in franchise history. At the news conference, CEO Christopher Johnson pooh-poohed any negative reaction from fans who preferred that he went in a different direction.

Gase, unfortunately, did little to allay concerns in his initial meeting with the New York media. I can get past the look of a man who was either on heavy medication or who decided to have his kids affix googly eyes to his countenance at the most inappropriate time of his career.

What bothered me more was his lame excuse for the offensive production, or rather the lack thereof, at his previous place of employment. Under Gase, a supposed offensive guru, Miami ranked 26th in points scored this past season, three places lower than the inept Jets.

LISTEN: 'Boomer & Gio': Adam Gase’s Eyes Tell A Story Of Their Own

Gase made it seem like it was intentional, that the offense’s primary mission was to avoid turnovers.

Besides being absurd, the Dolphins were tied for the 12th most giveaways. There’s no way to play safe football.     

On one hand, the very definition of first impressions does not allow for mulligans. We can’t erase Gase’s performance on the dais from the record.

However, Gase has the ability to twist the narrative in the coming week or so should he make do on his promise to bring aboard a quality staff.

MORE: Twitter Reacts (Hilariously) To Adam Gase's 'Crazy Eyes'

He got off to a strong start when the Jets announced Sunday they will retain special teams coach Brant Boyer, whose unit was rated as the league’s best by FootballOutsiders.com.

The most crucial hire, though, will be defensive coordinator. Gase said that he “needs to spend my time with the quarterback,” referring to Sam Darnold, who had an up-and-down rookie season but showed enough promise to pique Gase’s interest. Dowell Loggains, Gase’s offensive coordinator in Miami, is reportedly among the options to reprise that role in New York.   

Gase, who called the Dolphins’ offensive plays, will likely continue hoarding that responsibility, but it is assumed that he will give his defensive coordinator free reign on that side of the ball. Therefore, it is imperative that Gase’s hire has experience in both designing a system and calling plays.    

Gase would not address the rumors regarding Gregg Williams, who has a solid track record coaching defenses but would increase the volatility index in the Jets locker room to an 11. Williams was most recently the interim head coach in Cleveland, earning a promotion from defensive coordinator in midseason after the Browns fired Hue Jackson. 

MORE: Maccagnan On WFAN: Johnson And I Chose Gase Together, But He Had Final Say

I’m not sure what the delay is between the Jets and Williams -- the Redskins are now reportedly interested in bringing him in for an interview -- but it raises questions. Unlike others considered for the job, Williams is out of his contract. Who would Gase be waiting on? Or is Johnson balking at the cost?

At the news conference, Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan denied until the cows came home that they were insisting during the interview process on the right to approve or disapprove members of their head coach’s staff.  That flies in the face of leaks to the press from the camps of passed-over candidates such as former Packers coach Mike McCarthy and Baylor coach Matt Rhule.

Gase emphasized that one of the main things he learned from his first go-round as a head coach was to be patient when selecting a staff. No mea culpas for any of the reported confrontations he had with his owner or his players in Miami. No mention of improving his game management. 

Just patience during this process. 

I’m sorry, but I found that to be one more oddity in another very odd day in Jets land.

For a FAN’s perspective of the Nets, Devils and Jets, follow Steve on Twitter @SteveLichtenst1.