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What’s up with Jets beat writers defending Adam Gase and criticizing fans?

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently yesterday an airplane flew over Manhattan with a banner calling for Adam Gase’s firing. Jets fans raised money for the plane with a Go Fund Me drive.

What followed on Friday was an odd freak out among the beat writers who cover the team rushing to condemn this airplane and to defend Adam Gase.

I don’t know the dude who orchestrated this airplane. I also don’t know any of the beat writers that well. It’s possible I had a brief chat or held a door open for one of them at Jets training camp once or had a short e-mail exchange. But I’m not regularly in contact with any of them.

To be honest I think sometimes people are too hard on them. There are points where fans ascribe the sins of one or two bad apples to everybody who covers the team.

This is not one of those times. Yesterday we saw a collective effort from beat writers to defend the indefensible. A year ago I saw similar defenses of Mike Maccagnan and almost always let them go. Only occasionally did I speak up as the writers who covered the team argued for a terrible general manager to get more time.

We saw where that got us.

I’m not going to make that mistake again. There are lots of bad arguments floating around to defend this coach, and I’m going to refute them.

The problem with this statement is it treats success or failure in black and white, either or terms.

But there are degrees of failure. If Adam Gase had this team 3-5 right now, I don’t think you could call his body of work successful, but I also think the calls for his job would be much more muted.

The failure of this current Jets team is much deeper. This is a 1-7 football team. It is being outscored by an average of two touchdowns per game. The Jets just lost to a Miami team that looks like one of the worst in modern NFL history.

At his hiring, Christopher Johnson used the word “innovator” to describe Gase’s offensive mind. In eight games this team has scored 96 points, which includes multiple touchdowns scored by the defense and special teams.

Gase’s ability to develop with Sam Darnold was also mentioned. Darnold is regressing.

I could go on with other problems on this team’s coaching, but I won’t for the sake of brevity. I think what I said can suffice.

This isn’t about getting eight games to prove yourself. It’s about not being this bad over eight games, immediately on the heels of an unsuccessful tenure coaching another team.

This is known as attacking a straw man. It is refuting an argument that nobody is making.

Ok, maybe some random guy sitting on his couch on Long Island honestly believes firing Gase alone will magically transform the Jets into a Super Bowl team, but I think most fans understand the issues on this team are numerous and complex.

A team can suffer a lot of injuries. Those injuries might have significant negative effects.

That same team can also have abominable coaching. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

This is simply a case of moving the goal posts after the fact.

The Jets spent a record amount in free agency to upgrade their roster this offseason. Gase’s experience as a head coach in the AFC East was touted. These things were supposed to help him hit the ground running. Under no circumstances at the time of his hiring or at start of the season was anybody viewing this as the ground floor of a long turnaround project.

In fact, one of the reasons Gase parted ways with the Dolphins was reportedly that he had no interest in leading the total teardown Miami was planning.

To act like there were no expectations for success this year is simply inaccurate.

In any event, the Jets are a dysfunctional organization from top to bottom right now. They had to give their new general manager a six year contract to convince him to come. Such an extraordinary measure might be necessary to hire the next coach. That’s the price of being dysfunctional.

Let’s say the Jets bring back Gase for 2020. What happens if he fails then? Are you going to fire him? Well, a two year tenure is also pretty short. Then are you going to argue, “What coach would come here when the team only gives him two years?” You’re in the same situation. The only difference is you’ve wasted another year.

I do think there’s a cost of making quick changes, but sometimes the cost of not doing so is greater. Are you going to let a bad coach run this thing into the ground for four years out of fear?

Yes, constantly making changes has a cost. No, it is not ideal.

But do you want to know one of the driving forces of the organizational dysfunction over the last eleven months? It’s Adam Gase.

In an ideal world, Gase never would have been hired. The Jets would have a quality coach who would be here long-term and laying a foundation that would lead to stability. Unfortunately that is no longer a possibility. Maybe somebody has perfected the art of time travel. If so, we can go back in time and prevent the hiring of Gase. I don’t think that’s the case, however.

So we have to figure out the best path forward. Is the path to stability always to keep the people in place?

I think it’s pretty obvious in retrospect that the Jets’ decision to keep Mike Maccagnan last December made the organization more dysfunctional that firing him would have.

The same might be true of Gase.

Do I think a bunch of fans flying an airplane calling for Gase’s firing is going to impact the Jets’ decision? No, I don’t. I don’t think the fans who put a billboard up calling for John Idzik’s firing in 2014 had much to do with his termination either. The sorry state of the franchise dictated that move. So it will likely be with Gase.

Am I going to donate money for future Fire Gase airplanes? I won’t. I don’t think it’s good use of my hard-earned dollars. If somebody is asking me advice as to whether they should donate, I’d say the same thing.

But I’m certainly not going to demonize the people who were part of this. This is America. You have the right to spend your money however you see fit. A lot of fans are frustrated and looking for a way to express it and to be heard. This provided an outlet for that.

After a decade of irrelevance, the Jets should feel lucky that their fans still care enough about the team to do something like this.

What we don’t need here are beat writers lecturing fans on how they spend their money. It’s their money.

Stypulkoski near the end of his article poses a question.

But how does canning him now and making Jim Bob Cooter the acting offensive coordinator help Sam Darnold?

I’ve seen Gase gameplans. I’ve seen Cooter gameplans. Cooter’s are better for a young quarterback.


I have nothing against any of these guys personally, but the fans are not the problem with the team right now. Let’s focus on the real issues here.