What I’m Hearing: Jet’s young QB Sam Darnold says these last two games have been the worst of his life.
FLORHAM PARK — There’s an amazing calmness in the Jets’ clubhouse these days.
Given all the drama of the last week, you might have expected a couple of 6-foot-6, 305-pound linemen wrestling on the floor or a diva defensive back continuing his personal campaign for redemption.
Not here, although Jamal Adams was center stage again on Friday, saying he had met with team owner Christopher Johnson the day before and Johnson had an appreciation for Adams the man, as well as the football player.
Since he has not yet met with general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Adam Gase, who had the audacity to listen to trade offers for their third-year safety, does that mean Adams’ bosses don’t appreciate him?
“I’m tired of all this,” a teammate said as he headed for the exit, hoping for a peaceful night before the Jets leave for Miami today.
Oct 27, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell (26) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. (Photo: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports)
There’s an easy (not too easy) way to end the constant drama that began with quarterback Sam Darnold “seeing ghosts” disguised as New England defenders; the trading of Leonard Williams to the Giants (at least he didn’t need a moving van), and the post trade deadline tirade of Adams, who insists Douglas went behind his back and shopped him, although the first-year GM says he merely listened to offers and then decided to keep Adams.
Through all the circus-like back and forth, the way to end all this is to beat the winless Dolphins on Sunday.
If the Jets lose, there will be bigger problems coming. Like the pressure to beat the Giants next week and Washington, another of the weak sisters of the NFL, after that.
A three-game winning streak, a near impossibility to many, would be a cure all for what ails the Jets.
Pulling that off would be quite the accomplishment, no matter what teams they beat. At 1-6, the Jets are card carrying members of the worst teams in the league club. With the exception of their win over the Cowboys, the Jets have been as entertaining as a public TV documentary on birds migrating to Florida for the winter.
Now their injury list is much longer than a Donald Trump tweet. They’re down five linebackers and starting cornerback Trumaine Johnson has two, not one, sprained ankles. Tack on that the offensive line can’t protect anything, including franchise quarterback, and you’re getting the jist of what’s gone wrong.
There are potential solutions. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams could have a few surprises up his sleeves, and Gase, who calls the offensive plays, has promised that running back Le’Veon Bell will come out of witness protection, after only nine carries and 11 touches in last week’s loss to Jacksonville, and earn his big pay check against Miami, which has the worst run defense in the league, allowing 160 yards per game.
Maybe that all happens. But underneath all the calls for the next man up to fill the injury vacancies and Williams’ weekly overdose of praise for his defense on a 1-6 team, you get the impression that the changing of the Jets’ culture is going to need a lot more effort that changing the head coach and general manager.
It’s too early to judge Douglas’ work as GM, but Gase was supposed to be an offensive innovator, yet his early work has been below average. He needs a win over the team he used to coach as much or more as his players need to add a second notch on their belts.
As for the culture, ownership spends too much time coddling the best players. Instead of asking Adams to meet with him, Christopher Johnson should have told him to meet with his general manager and coach first. Instead of offering an apology to Bell for not getting him the ball more, Gase should have explained why he couldn’t get the ball to Bell, beginning with the score. Think Bill Parcells would have sat down for coffee with his running back? Heck no.
The heat is on all the Jets today and we’re not talking about the 85-degree Florida heat. Don’t beat the Dolphins and this nightmare of a season gets worse.