In some respects, the coach of an 0-9 team that faces seven remaining games that each look like, on paper, another loss would welcome the reprieve that comes from being fired before registering the NFL’s third winless 16-game season. For Jets coach Adam Gase, it looks like he’ll be given the opportunity, if that word even applies, to help an overmatched roster avoid losing all remaining games.
Six days after a 30-27 loss to the Patriots, Gase remains employed at the bye. Which makes it much more likely that the Jets won’t be making a change until the season ends.
Most presume that the change will come after the season ends, but most also presumed that the change was coming during the bye. (At least one person insisted Gase would be gone after an early-season Thursday night loss to the Broncos.) Interim owner Christopher Johnson has vouched for Gase. G.M. Joe Douglas has done so, too, explaining that the talent simply isn’t there to compete.
As Rich Eisen noted during a Friday visit to PFT PM, the absence of fans in the stands actually makes it easier to keep Gase through the balance of the season, since the Jets don’t have to worry about fans not showing up in protest or, even worse, showing up and protesting in person, with bags on their heads and “Gase Must Go”-style signs and chants. That thinking potentially trickles into 2021, if (as it currently appears) the next NFL season won’t entail all or most or many or, in New Jersey, any fans attending games.
Another wildcard in this process continues to be owner Woody Johnson. He serves as the U.S. ambassador to the UK, and at some point after January 20 he will be returning — unless he decides to resign his post prematurely. If Woody intends to re-take the reins of the Jets after the 2021 hiring cycle, his brother Christopher may decide to hold all key employees in place for the next season, so that Woody can decide on his own whether Gase and Douglas are the right duo to turn around a team that was led astray by Woody’s most recent G.M. hire, Mike Maccagnan.
The possibility that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will pull an Elway/Eli on the Jets absent a new coach also looms. It’s one thing to huff and puff, however; it’s quite another to blow the NFL’s norms and conventions down. Unless Lawrence pushes back against a clear trend of submission to the process (even though more incoming players should indeed push back), it’s all just talk.
The bottom line is this: Until Gase is fired by Christopher or Woody Johnson, Gase remains the coach. No number of media members and fans screaming for his head will change that basic fact of life in the NFL.