New York Jets head coach Adam Gase maintains a playoff goal this coming season, despite significant losses in key places.
Not only does the New York Jets second-year head coach understand it, but he also acknowledges it with a flare of authority. Next man up. Nothing changes. January football is still the goal.
“Playing in January is always going to be the goal,” Gase told reporters on a Wednesday conference call.
Gase, 42, enters his sophomore season with the Jets seemingly already behind the eight-ball. Dealing with the ongoing pandemic presents its own unique challenges, but to also lose the team’s best two defensive players (perhaps two best players in general) so close to August has already brought out the “tanking” narrative.
Besides, has he had another choice? Ryan Tannehill could play in just 24 of a possible 49 games for Gase during his three seasons in Miami. We all know what happened to the Jets in 2019. Injuries can never serve as a legitimate excuse.
“(We) have to do everything we can to make sure that’s where we end up,” Gase added. “We’re always going to be shooting to do that and that’s gonna be the goal of this year.”
Criticism of Gase has bordered on the delusional at times. Piling on the man for finding a way to make Le’Veon Bell work on the ground while operating with the 31st ranked offensive line in football is patently insane.
But that does not mean criticism that reaches into the communication and leadership are of head coaching is unwarranted. Key questions surround Gase in that regard.
As it relates to the Jets hip-hop workhorse, a man who has serious competition this season (Frank Gore, La’Mical Perine), and has been known to be tied to Gase in headlines, the head coach sees something special at the moment.
“I would say he’s extremely motivated,” Gase said when asked what his expectations were for his top back in 2020. “I mean, he looks great. He’s coming in (in) phenomenal shape.”
Not arriving at all, of course, is C.J. Mosley. While his recent opt-out has to be frustrating for any coach, Gase appreciated Mosley’s communication throughout the process. By no means was the news “sudden” for the organization.
Adam Gase said C.J. Mosley had multiple conversations with the team (him, Joe Douglas), and he appreciates that communication/process.
He's highlighting the "next man up" mentality. #Jets
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) August 5, 2020
“We had multiple conversations,” Gase said when referring to Mosley’s decision to opt-out. “Fairly early in the process he was at least thinking about it. I appreciated that he did that (communicated).”
Avery Williamson does not care where he plays
While Bell will help the playoff cause on offense, Avery Williamson has no other choice but to jump on that wagon for the defense. After missing the entire 2019 campaign due to an ACL injury suffered in the preseason, the Jets head man is looking forward to having No. 54 back in Gregg Williams’ defense.
The question now, is (without Mosley), “Where will he play?” Will he hold down his familiar spot or will he assume MIKE responsibilities?
The linebacker simply does not care, and, furthermore, understands the interchangeability of the two spots in this specific scheme.
“Whatever position they wanna put me in, I feel like I’ll do a good job at it,” Williamson told reporters on a Wednesday Zoom meeting.
“Both the positions are interchangeable (MIKE and WILL), Williamson added. “I feel like I was getting a grasp of it and covering the tight ends. At the end of the day, I’m making sure I learn both of them.”
Remember, this isn’t a strict 4-3 look—the particular scheme Williams featured so often throughout his 30-year NFL career as defensive coordinator. The 4-3 brings more rigid stand-up linebacker positions (MIKE, WILL, SAM), while the 3-4 inside guys are much more interchangeable.
Williams runs multiple fronts in New Jersey, and, besides, 11 personnel is the true base in today’s league. This makes those two second-level linebacker positions that much more similar in nature.
Like Mosley, however, Williamson is attempting to return from a full season missed—one Gase still feels responsible for. A-Will has heard his coach’s pain on the topic.
“Yeah, he (Gase) definitely talked to me since the injury,” Williamson said. “It definitely makes you feel better. There’s definitely a lot of frustration that comes with that. I was excited. I feel like I was getting a grasp of the defense, then ACL. I had my moments when I was in some dark places. I feel like I moved past it.”
Score one for the folks who continue to hold judgment on the Jets head man.
“Coach Gase, he definitely told me a million times, ‘Hey, I hate that it happened,'” Williamson said.