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Today was one of the better . . .
Adam Gase press conferences since he arrived.
He was loose, informative and even funny, joking with Rich Cimini after one of his questions – “You were a little more positive than I thought you would be.”
It was actually a Zoom teleconference today. His press conference last week was a telephone conference call with no video, leading to some speculation he didn’t want to do Zoom.
But he did the Zoom today, and like I said, this might have been his better press conference performances since his arrival.
I have one theory on this. Some might find this controversial, but here goes:
Gase’s gadfly Manish Mehta wasn’t on the Zoom conference today. Charles McDonald was covering for the Daily News. As you know, Mehta has turned Gase into a pinata in his Daily News column, and on Twitter.
Perhaps Gase is more relaxed when Mehta isn’t at his press conferences. Let’s be honest – it’s not a good relationship. If you are at a party, and somebody you don’t like is in the room, doesn’t that make it harder for you to relax?
But getting back to football – there was a lot of questions about Le’Veon Bell, and you will see a lot of articles and columns about Bell coming out of today’s press availability, because not only did Gase speak about Bell, the running back also addressed the media.
You will see a lot of Bell’s comments all over the internet about playing better this year, but I want to focus on a few things Gase said.
Gase feels the play-calling for Bell was too predictable last year, and obviously, by saying that, he was being somewhat critical of himself, since he calls the offensive plays.
“Teams kind of knew what we were doing and were loading the box,” Gase said.
But one factor that nobody will bring up, but can’t be ignored, was Bell not attending his first off-season program with the Jets, setting back the running back. There is no way around it.
In all my years covering the NFL, I can’t remember a player signing a big money deal, and then attending his first off-season program to get acclimated. So especially during the first half of the season, that was a factor in the predictability.
After missing almost the entire off-season, aside from two practices during the mandatory minicamp (they went to a golf range for the third practice), this set back the installation of the offense, and also the running back’s timing with Darnold in the passing game. Bell is a great receiver. The off-season is a great time to work on passing game timing.
So now, entering the 2020 season, Bell is much more comfortable with the offense, and they can add more bells and whistles with this unique weapon who is not only a great runner, but is like an elite receiver in the passing game.
Gase said, “we need to keep the defenses guessing with [Le’Veon].”
And they should be able to do that this year with a year under his belt in the offense, along with the virtual off-season program, which was a great laboratory of ideas.
“It’s about getting the ball in his hands and letting him do his thing,” Gase said.
And Gase should be able to do that more effectively with Bell now in a much better place mentally with the system.
The other thing that needs to happen for Bell to be more productive is the team having more plays on offense.
Gase said instead of “52, 53” plays a game like last year, they need “65-70” this year. In other words, more sustained drives.
The Jets went 3-and-out on 55 drives out of their 189 possessions last year. That’s a 29.10% 3-and-out drive rate that was 2nd-worst in the league last year behind Chicago (29.14%).
August 12, 2020
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