Week Four begins with a couple of teams that hope to avoid an 0-4 start to the season. As to the home team, a question has emerged as to whether another loss will result in the head coach being sent packing.
Radio host Colin Cowherd claimed on Monday, citing an unnamed source, that the Jets will fire coach Adam Gase if they lose to Denver on Thursday night.
While that’s not out of the realm of possibility given the manner in which the team has played this season, the result doesn’t necessarily flow from the factual basis of the report. Cowherd claims that Jets surrogate owner Christopher Johnson already has reached out to a “top coach agent” and started asking questions. (Cowherd later used the plural form, saying that the Jets are reaching out to “big-time agents.”)
This doesn’t automatically mean the Jets will be looking to hire an interim coach as soon as Friday, if they lose. Indeed, teams rarely if ever hire interim head coaches from outside the coaching staff. It’s possible that, independent of the outcome of Thursday night’s game, the Jets have begun the process of identifying the universe of potential head coaches in the event a new hire is made after the season ends.
This could mean Gase is out after the season, that he’s out during the season, or that he’s ultimately not out at all. It’s merely proof (if the report is true) that the Jets are looking to see who could or would be available to take the job, if the job comes open.
Also, there aren’t many “top coach agents”; Jimmy Sexton (who represents Gase) is one of the few. Have the Jets called Sexton about other Sexton clients who could replace Gase, while Gase is still employed? That would be awkward, but remember this: Bob LaMonte talked to the Raiders about hiring Jon Gruden while LaMonte client Jack Del Rio still had the job.
There’s another angle to consider here, an important one as it relates to the looming election. Depending on the outcome, owner Woody Johnson may be coming home. Christopher Johnson therefore may decide to do nothing at all until he and Woody know whether Woody will be back.
If/when Woody comes back, there’s a chance that a full reset button will be pushed, with Woody (not Christopher) hiring a new coach and perhaps a new G.M.
The question about Cowherd’s report isn’t whether it’s right or wrong, but whether the actual information — that Christopher Johnson has begun doing due diligence on new hire — has a direct connection to the question of whether the employment of the current coach hinges on whether the Jets avoid an 0-4 start. There’s a good chance that there are two unrelated dynamics, especially in light of the possibility that the current mess may be cleaned up not by Christopher Johnson, but by his brother.
UPDATE 12:36 p.m. ET: The Jets have denied the report that Christopher Johnson has begun reaching out to agents representing coaching candidates.