Adam Gase doesn’t surrender. He made sure the public was aware of that Monday.
The Jets head coach Gase spoke to media Monday about the remainder of the 2020 season and what the outlook is for the 0-8 Jets after a blowout loss to the Chiefs in Week 8. The Jets are expected to continue as sellers ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, but Gase doesn’t see that as giving up.
“(That’s not) waving the white flag,” Gase told reporters Monday. “… That’s not in my DNA.”
As of Monday afternoon, the Jets have already moved on from three players. Defensive tackle Steve McLendon was sent to the Buccaneers, linebacker Jordan Willis went to the 49ers and linebacker Avery Williamson was traded to the undefeated Steelers. Williamson celebrated the move from a winless team to an undefeated team on Instagram.
Other Jets have had their names floated as possible trade candidates, including quarterback Sam Darnold and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. Neither young player is expected to be moved before the deadline, though, with Darnold’s battle with a throwing-shoulder injury not helping the likelihood of him being traded. Darnold is scheduled for an MRI and second opinion on his shoulder, per Gase.
“We need him out there,” Gase added of Darnold. “He gives us the best chance to win on Sunday.”
Gase’s comments about whether trading veterans is like waving the white flag come at the beginning of Week 9, which is scheduled to be capped off with the winless Jets taking on the 2-5 Patriots on “Monday Night Football.” On one hand, Gase makes a fair point — New York still has eight more games to play to determine the future of many of its players, not the least of which Darnold, who’s a candidate to be replaced if the Jets get the No. 1 pick in the draft and take Trevor Lawrence.
On the other hand, an army wouldn’t wave a white flag if the battle was already lost. While the Jets aren’t mathematically eliminated from the postseason yet, that could happen in the next few weeks. And there are certainly no illusions about putting together an eight-game winning streak with one of the worst rosters in football.
Gase might want to wave the white flag on usage of some veterans and instead embrace young players as best he can. The Jets gave double-digit carries to the oldest running back in the league, Frank Gore, against the Chiefs. More of those touches will likely go to rookie back La’Mical Perine down the stretch. The Jets could also take the training wheels off rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims and rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton in the hopes of a trial by fire making them better in the long run.
There’s also the matter of Gase’s job as Jets head coach, which could very well be gone by the end of the season. That will certainly contribute to Gase trying to win games the rest of the way to help his reputation, but the long-term future of the Jets will depend on which players that aren’t traded at the deadline find ways to improve in a lost season.
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