Jets don’t look far for next coach, hire Gase

Went 23-26 dur­ing three-year stay with Dol­phins

The Star Democrat - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets stayed in the AFC East to find their new head coach.

For­mer Mi­ami Dol­phins coach Adam Gase agreed Wed­nes­day night to take the Jets job, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the de­ci­sion told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The hir­ing ends a 10-day, wideopen search for New York, which met with seven other coaches about their va­cancy, in­clud­ing Mike Mc­Carthy, Kris Richard, Jim Cald­well, Eric Bie­niemy, Todd Monken, Matt Rhule and Kliff Kings­bury, who took the Ari­zona Car­di­nals job.

The per­son spoke to the AP on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the team had not yet an­nounced the hir­ing.

Gase was 23-26 in three years with Mi­ami, in­clud­ing a play­off game in the 2016 sea­son, be­fore be­ing fired last week. It turns out he’ll re­main in the divi­sion, and face the Dol­phins twice ev­ery reg­u­lar sea­son as a ri­val head coach.

Gase re­places Todd Bowles, who was fired af­ter he went 24-40 in four sea­sons and no play­off ap­pear­ances. He’s the Jets’ first hire with pre­vi­ous full-time NFL head coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence since Bill Par­cells’ three-year ten­ure from 1997-99.

The 40-year-old Gase is also the first of­fen­sive-fo­cused coach since Rich Kotite in 1996.

Re­garded as one of the league’s top young of­fen­sive minds, he’ll be tasked with fur­ther­ing the de­vel­op­ment of quar­ter­back Sam Darnold and help­ing New York snap an eight-year post­sea­son drought.

While he had con­trol over per­son­nel in Mi­ami, Gase will work closely in New York with gen­eral man­ager Mike Maccagnan, who was re­tained by team chair­man and CEO Christo­pher John­son, to put to­gether a com­pet­i­tive ros­ter around Darnold. The Jets are ex­pected to have around $100 mil­lion in salary cap space this off­sea­son, and will be ver y ac­tive in free agency.

Those fac­tors com­bined, John­son in­sisted lead­ing into the team’s search, made the Jets an at­trac­tive spot for a head coach to land.

“If you can make it here, you’re a freakin’ leg­end,” John­son said. “That counts for some­thing.”

Gase will get his shot to do just that.

He be­gan his coach­ing ca­reer as a grad­u­ate as­sis­tant at LSU in 2000 un­der Nick Sa­ban be­fore be­com­ing a re­cruit­ing as­sis­tant for the Tigers for two years. Gase’s first NFL job came in 2003 un­der Steve Mar­i­ucci in Detroit, where he worked his way up to quar­ter­backs coach in five years with the Li­ons. He also worked for Rod Marinelli and Mike Martz in Detroit.

Gase fol­lowed Martz to San Fran­cisco in 2008 be­fore head­ing to Den­ver the fol­low­ing sea­son. He worked as the Bron­cos’ wide re­ceivers coach for two years be­fore be­com­ing the quar­ter­backs coach — where he worked closely with Man­ning — and was pro­moted to of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor by coach John Fox in 2013 and Den­ver’s of­fense set sev­eral league records dur­ing Gase’s two sea­sons call­ing the plays.

Fox brought Gase along with him to Chicago in 2015 as his of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor. Seen as a ris­ing star in the league, he was hired by the Dol­phins as their head coach the fol­low­ing sea­son.

Gase had a promis­ing de­but in Mi­ami, go­ing 10-6 in his first sea­son and lead­ing the Dol­phins to their first playof f ap­pear­ance since 2008. But the team strug­gled the fol­low­ing year, go­ing 6-10 with quar­ter­back Ryan Tan­nehill side­lined all sea­son fol­low­ing knee surger y.

Gase was fired af­ter this sea­son as part of an or­ga­ni­za­tional shakeup af­ter the Dol­phins fin­ished 7-9 and missed the play­offs for the 15th time in 17 years. There were also ques­tions about whether Gase had lost the sup­port of some play­ers.

Mi­ami ranked 31st in the NFL in of­fense, a fran­chise worst, and 29th in de­fense, al­low­ing a fran­chise-record 6,257 yards this sea­son.

Gase’s Dol­phins were par­tic­u­larly good in one-score games, go­ing 7-1 in those sit­u­a­tions this sea­son and 20-6 in three years. Their record in games de­cided by more than one score was 3-20, in­clud­ing 0-8 this sea­son. Mi­ami also lost its last seven games on the road.

He’ll try to change his for­tunes — as well as those of the Jets — with a new op­por­tu­nity.

ESPN re­ported that Darnold spoke with Gase on FaceTime on Mon­day night, and the two clicked. It also re­ported that Man­ning called John­son Tues­day night to pro­vide a sparkling ref­er­ence for Gase.

The hir­ing was met with some trep­i­da­tion from frus­trated Jets fans, many of whom were pulling for Mc­Carthy, Monken or Rhule to be hired to turn the fran­chise around and end a Su­per Bowl drought that’s 50 years and count­ing.

The fran­chise’s hope is that the com­bi­na­tion of Gase and Darnold will be able to get there some­day soon.

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