In a GGN podcast circa 2016 John B and I debated firing Todd Bowles after the first of several losing seasons under Bowles. The predominate argument against firing Bowles that year wasn’t based on his on-field product, but rather what message it sent to the rest of the prospective coaches in the NFL. Keeping Bowles around was the right move at the time because you didn’t want to be the team that cycled through coaches ala the Browns or Redskins who give up on coaches after one year.
In 2017, we punted again on firing Bowles, giving him another benefit of the doubt despite a lack of progress from the team or coach. 2018 was as much about Sam as it was any progress of Bowles the coach. There was hope he’d learn and grow as a coach, eventually becoming more aggressive and managing players and games better. Bowles remained erratic and made decisions that made little to no sense during the games. Punting on 4th down down a few scores late in games became the norm. So did kicking meaningless field goals when touchdowns were needed. His teams were penalty prone in the worst moments.
We cut ties. In hindsight, giving him two more years was a mistake.
Now let’s go back to the present and Adam Gase. We now have 3.5 years of data on Adam, and the results have not been good. This is his second team so he’s not learning on the fly. Worse, it’s the same old story with Gase from his Dolphins tenure.
His offense have ranked 18th, 27th and 27th with the Dolphins based on DVOA. Other than going 10-6 in 2016, his teams have never had a winning record. He bristled at any negative comments about his job performance. Players openly and publicly quit on the team last year with the Dolphins.
The Jets are setting records for offensive futility this year. A star said he wanted out and made a public spectacle out of it (even if he has backtracked since). Jamal Adams who was always vocal about keeping Bowles, resorted to, “Right now, Adam is our coach and I’m pretty sure he’s going to continue to be the coach, so we have faith in him,” when asked. Gase seems incapable of taking blame for problems, instead blaming execution versus his gameplan. It’s fair to say hiring Adam Gase was a mistake. This isn’t Bowles where you could make an excuse there is hope for a brighter future. It won’t get any better under Gase.
A few years ago when firing Bowles was an option we didn’t want to be the team that cycled through coaches. Now, I fear we are the team that lets mistakes fester due to inaction. Bowles was given another year (and then another) and refused to change his ways. Gase inexplicably was hired and shocker has refused to change his ways.
The difference this time versus when Bowles was given a second year comes down to management. It can be sold as a clean break from the previous regime which is looking like a low point for the Jets organization as a whole. This could be spun as management ending one era and starting a new (and hopefully) much better period of Jets football.
One last point. The way to change a culture isn’t by gradually letting it change over time. It’s about seeing a mistake, rectifying it, and admitting it out loud while taking decisive action, this season’s results be darned. It’s holding coaches accountable rather than give them chance after chance.
In this case, it means sending Gase packing ASAP even if it means firing a coach after one year (or less).