Adam Gase changed addresses, but not divisions. The former Miami Dolphins head coach is now the head coach of the New York Jets and managed to work his way into being the acting General Manager as well after the firing of Mike Maccagnan. Gase won’t be saddled with a mediocre, but entrenched, starting quarterback in the person of Ryan Tannehill. Instead, he’ll have the upside of second-year signal caller Sam Darnold.
That must have been a pretty big selling point for Gase, who inherits a 4-12 team that went nowhere fast during the final years of Todd Bowles’s tenure. Bowles seemed to be fairly overmatched from the jump, as he had some malcontents on his roster and not much knowledge on the offensive side of the ball. Gase has head coaching experience and plenty of coaching experience on the offensive side, so maybe this is a good fit.
On the other hand, maybe it’s not. Gase has an air of “my way or the highway”. That may be what the Jets need. It’s not what Mike Maccagnan needed, though it’s fair to wonder if he still deserved that GM job anyway. The Jets were 3-3 through six games last season and lost the next four games before the bye week by 68 points.
Hopes seem to be higher for the Jets than the rest of the non-New England AFC East teams. Let’s see if those folks are misguided or if they have a pretty good argument.
Super Bowl Odds: +5000
Odds to Win the AFC: +2500
Odds to Win the AFC East: +600
Season Win Total: 7
(lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
|3||@ New England||+10||.16|
|7||New England (MNF)||+4.5||.33|
|15||@ Baltimore (TNF)||+5.5||.31|
|17||@ Buffalo||+2.5 (est)||.45|
Total Expected Wins: 7.24
Along with the switch from Todd Bowles to Adam Gase, the Jets spent a whole lot of money. They made three big free agent splashes by acquiring CJ Mosley, Le’Veon Bell, and Jamison Crowder. They also made some depth signings like James Carpenter, Josh Bellamy, and Brandon Copeland. Chandler Catanzaro appears likely to replace Jason Myers as the kicker.
The best acquisition could very well have been the trade to add Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. The Raiders shed some money and the Jets picked up a very solid piece in the trenches. The Jets needed trench players on both sides. They allowed 37 sacks and only had 39 on the other side, along with allowing 4.6 yards per carry.
Which is why the Jets prioritized and selected Quinnen Williams with the third overall pick. The mountain of a man from USC should bolster the team’s run defense in a dramatic way. Jachai Polite will work into the edge rusher rotation and Chuma Edoga could very well start on this offensive line right away. The Jets also picked TE Trevon Wesco, linebacker Blake Cashman, and defensive back Blessuan Austin.
Leading rusher Isaiah Crowell signed with the Raiders after the Jets made the big splash to pick up Le’Veon Bell. They also scored a really underrated player in Ty Montgomery. There wasn’t enough talent around Sam Darnold last season. The 21-year-old rookie quarterback did the best he could with a plethora of wide receiver injuries. Quincy Enunwa was limited to 11 games. Robby Anderson played 14 games, but was visible some days and invisible on others. Jermaine Kearse played 14 games, but was never a consistent threat because of double coverage.
Bell will be a tremendous help. He’s got real fresh legs after sitting out last season. He’s a great safety net in the passing game and should still be an effective runner. We’ll see how much Jamison Crowder helps in the receiving game, but he’ll also provide a boost on special teams. Crowder only caught 29 balls after catching 66 and 67 because of injuries. Will he be healthy for the Jets? They’ll need him because the other options are spotty at best, even with Bell taking more attention from opposing defenses.
Quinnen Williams will play from Day One and be a huge presence on the interior to slow down the opposition’s running game. The Jets need more help than that, though. New York managed only 39 sacks last season and allowed 29 touchdown passes. The Jets were awful on first and second down defensively. They were actually second in third-down conversion rate against, which was kind of crazy, but this is a defense that lacked playmakers.
The Jets had 20 takeaways. They didn’t generate enough negative plays with sacks or tackles for loss. In fact, they had all 20 of their takeaways in eight games. They went half the season without forcing a turnover. They forced only five turnovers over their final 10 games. Somebody has to step up and be that guy. I don’t know if that is leading tackler Jamal Adams or if their collection of defensive backs can make a leap.
Notes & Nuggets
The trade-off for having an early bye is that the Jets only play back-to-back road games once. They do have three short-week road games at New England, at Jacksonville, and at Baltimore on Thursday, but that Patriots game was likely a throwaway game anyway. It also means that more of their winnable games are at home.
How quickly will Sam Darnold progress with this new Adam Gase offense? He goes from learning the scheme of Jeremy Bates in his rookie year to dealing with another new offense. At least he has more help around him this time around with a better offensive line and Le’Veon Bell. Darnold is the key to this entire bet. The Jets defense isn’t bad, though, as mentioned, it does lack playmakers.
Somebody outside of New England has to win games here. Most people seem to think that it will be the Jets. I think Buffalo has more upside, simply because they have a much stronger defense. Maybe Gase and Darnold hit it off quickly and the Jets meet and maybe even surpass those expectations. With some tumult in the organization already, I’ll look to the under in Gase’s first year and see if that leap is more likely next year.