Gase didn’t have any real success with the Miami Dolphins. He promised a creative, up-tempo offense and delivered neither. Part of that was he never had a good, healthy quarterback. That wasn’t the entire problem.
After Sunday’s loss to the previously winless Dolphins, who looked like they might be the worst team of the Super Bowl era, you have to wonder what the Jets are thinking. Gase looks like the guy who failed with the Dolphins, not the guy who was the offensive coordinator of the record-setting 2013 Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning. Maybe, just maybe, the success of that offense was due to five-time MVP Manning and not Gase. Just a thought.
The whole Gase era in New York has been weird, starting with his first news conference. He won a power struggle with general manager Mike Maccagnan after reportedly disagreeing with the signings of running back Le’Veon Bell and linebacker C.J. Mosley. He reportedly sulked during the draft and purposely sat out of view of the war-room camera, the type of petulance that should have been a red flag to the Jets, not a reason to give him the keys to the franchise. But these are the Jets.
You could excuse a bad first season on Sam Darnold’s bout with mononucleosis. But the Jets have been bad when Darnold has played, outside of a win against the Dallas Cowboys. They blew a big lead on opening day against the Buffalo Bills. They were absolutely miserable against the New England Patriots. Gase forgot to use Bell against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Darnold struggled again. Then came rock bottom and the Dolphins loss.
Back in May, when Maccagnan was fired and Gase had to defend himself and tell the world he wasn’t actually a backstabber, he had an interesting comment.
“If we win games, no one will remember this,” Gase said.
Well, what happens when you’re 1-7 and just lost to the team that seems to be actively trying to lose?
It’s hard fire a coach after one season, and considering the Jets seemed to think Gase was the second coming of Bill Walsh when they realigned their organization for him, perhaps they don’t realize how bad he has been. But what reason is there to keep him around? That Manning had a great season with him six years ago?
Darnold is regressing. Bell isn’t being used right. The offense is bland, like it was in Miami. Gase often comes across poorly in a rough market. The Jets aren’t winning games. The Dolphins were 32nd in the NFL in points allowed and 30th in yards allowed before Sunday. After the Jets scored a touchdown on their opening drive Sunday, Gase’s offense didn’t score a touchdown on its final 10 drives. And it’s not like the Jets have no offensive talent.
Gase was asked after Sunday’s embarrassment if the Dolphins’ decision to fire him was validated.
“I don’t know,” Gase said, via the Miami Herald. “I’m not going to answer that. That’s ridiculous.”
Maybe. But what might be really ridiculous is the Jets going into another season believing Gase is the one to turn around this bumbling franchise.
Here’s a look at the coaches, players, executives or anyone else feeling the heat on Monday, after Week 9 of the NFL season:
HOT: Kirk Cousins slides instead of getting the first down
Cousins didn’t play poorly on Sunday. He didn’t have a huge game, though he did have three touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs.
But one play he’d surely like to have back.
On a third-and-6, Cousins took off and ran. He had an easy first down in front of him. And, probably because it has been pounded into his head to slide early rather than late, Cousins slid ... giving himself up before he got the first down. The Vikings punted from their own 45 yard line after that. The Chiefs got a field goal on the next drive. No game has ever been won or lost on one second-quarter play, but it was a pretty big mistake in a game the Chiefs won on the final play.
The Vikings had issues on Sunday and Cousins was low on the list. But his lack of awareness on that play doesn’t help the notion that the Vikings can’t trust him in the biggest games. Every time Cousins, who has been under tremendous pressure since signing his $84 million fully guaranteed contract last year, faces a good team he’ll hear the same criticism. There’s only one way to end that.
HOTTER: The Lions’ final play call was bad
At least what happened at the end of Sunday’s loss to the Oakland Raiders won’t be the worst call of Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s career.
The Lions faced a fourth down at Oakland with their game on the line in the final seconds. They are stacked at receiver, with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola. Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson was a top-10 pick. And for some reason, the Lions took Golladay, Jones and Amendola off the field to run a jumbo package. Then called a play-action pass to tight end Logan Thomas, a former quarterback with 25 career catches and one touchdown before Sunday. It didn’t work.
Under Matt Patricia, the Lions have made some strange decisions. Also, Patricia came into Detroit touted as a defensive mastermind and his defense has been awful all season. Derek Carr picked it apart on Sunday. Had the Lions not given up 31 points, there’s no need to score at the end and no terrible play call to Thomas. Comments from cornerback Darius Slay after the game don’t reflect well on Patricia (via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News):
No Lions player offered specifics why the defense is failing, but Darius Slay offered harshest criticisms, saying they aren't putting the puzzles pieces in the right spots and every opponent is beating them the same way with the same plays, since Week 1.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) November 4, 2019
The Lions are fading, and the coaching isn’t helping.
HOTTEST: Did Packers players lose focus on California trip?
Aaron Rodgers is a smart, veteran player. He understands what he’s saying and the message it will convey.
The Green Bay Packers left a day early for a road trip to face the Los Angeles Chargers, to get acclimated to the changes in time and weather. What were the Packers doing during their extra time in California? You can read whatever you wish into Rodgers’ comments:
"We've got to be honest about our routine and decisions we made the last 48 hours and make sure that our heads are in the right place the next time we come on a big road trip, which will just be in three weeks [Nov. 24 at San Francisco]," Rodgers said, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.
"I think it can happen to any team. I don't think it was complacency at all. Whether it was the trip, not everybody taking care of themselves the right way over the two days or we were just tired or the differences in temperature, but those are just excuses. The facts are that we weren't locked in from the start, and that's a little disappointing."
The Packers were served “humble pie,” according to Rodgers. They were strangely flat and blew a great opportunity to gain a game on the second-place Minnesota Vikings, who also lost. Rodgers’ comments might send a message for the rest of the season.
INFERNO: Matt Nagy has lost his confidence
In a Week 8 loss, Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy was so concerned about something bad happening on offense that he took a knee instead of trying to get his kicker closer for a game-winning field goal. That kick missed.
His Week 9 decision wasn’t as egregious, but it was strangely conservative. In the third quarter, trailing 19-7, Nagy punted on fourth-and-6 from the Eagles’ 44. That’s not the worst call you’ll see on an NFL Sunday, but it probably wasn’t the right one and it was out of character. At least out of character from the free-wheeling Nagy we saw last season.
And it’s telling that in Nagy’s explanation for why he punted, he explained that he talked himself out of going for it.
“I liked the way our defense was playing at that time,” Nagy said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Trust me, I thought about (it). I really, really wanted to go for it there. I had to pull back, from the way our defense was getting stops and field position was pretty imperative for us at that point. I thought we could back them up, get a stop, then get the ball back. I did think about going for it, and it took a little bit for me to not.”
Mitchell Trubisky is getting a lot of the scorn in Chicago, and he’s not playing well. But maybe Trubisky would play with more confidence if his coach rediscovered the same swagger he had a year ago.
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