It’s been a busy week or so for the Jets. Eight days have passed since general manager Mike Maccagnan was fired, after he had been kept on to lead such minor team-building exercises as the search for a head coach, a free-agency spending spree, and a draft in which the Jets possessed the No. 3 pick. Adam Gase, the head coach Maccagnan wound up hiring despite Gase’s history of overpromised success, was named interim GM. Reporters immediately dusted off their best circus and Game of Thrones metaphors, five months ahead of schedule. But the above confluence of circumstances was only the beginning. Here, in no particular order, is a partial list of what’s since transpired out there in Jetsland:
1. Gase traded inside linebacker Darron Lee to the Chiefs. Maccagnan had selected Lee in the first round of the 2016 draft, and he had been trying to deal him in recent months, especially after the Jets signed C.J. Mosley away from the Ravens. Gase pulled the trigger.
2. Interim owner Christopher Johnson up and admitted he only recently began closely monitoring how Maccagnan went about doing his job. Now, Johnson’s résumé consists of being the kid brother to owner Woody Johnson, who of course made his fortune the old fashioned way: by being born into it. And with credentials like that, it’s hard to see how Johnson might have overlooked Maccagnan’s 24-40 record, his abysmal history of drafting players after the first round, and his general failure at other humdrum GM duties, like “making decisions.”
3. Reports suggested lots of passive-aggressive behavior from Gase in recent weeks. Gase apparently didn’t want Le’Veon Bell, one of Maccagnan’s biggest free-agent acquisitions, but he also told people he’d be okay with coaching him. “Fair or not,” Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported, “some saw that as Gase distancing himself from the decision, while lining himself up for credit if it worked, in large part because that matched up with his reputation in Miami.”
4. About that reputation in Miami, here’s the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, in the days after the Dolphins fired Gase: “Gase reported to work every day with the goal of making the Miami Dolphins a winner. But because he had so much power and no one to tell him ‘no,’ he made mistakes.” Some of those mistakes involved personnel decisions. But there also was this: “Gase yelled at [owner Stephen Ross] about knowing more about football than he did. Multiple sources say a high-ranking club official had to intervene and tell Gase he could not speak to the owner—his boss—that way.” Related: Gase finished 23-25 in three seasons as the Dolphins’ head coach.
5. Also, just before the draft, per Breer: “The coaches ranked Quinnen Williams above Houston DT Ed Oliver, but gushed over Oliver in meetings. This was seen, again, as coaches covering themselves on both ends of a decision, this time openly lusting for one player while toeing the line on the league-wide consensus that the other was better.”
6. Draft analyst Tony Pauline, who reported weeks ago that simmering tensions between Gase and Maccagnan were hot enough to potentially result in Maccagnan’s ouster, told the Turn on the Jets podcast that Gase was “the provocateur” in getting Maccagnan pushed out. “There’s absolutely no doubt about it,” Pauline said.
7. After Breer noted that Gase had been “relatively quiet” during draft weekend, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News took it a step further by reporting that Gase strategically placed his chair out of view of the TV camera that was trained on the Jets’ war room, to avoid being seen as even having a role in the team’s draft decision-making. Anyone else sensing a pattern here?
9. A rumor went around that said the Jets were considering making a run at hiring Peyton Manning for some sort of executive role. Peyton Manning has no interest in some sort of executive role with the Jets.
10. Mehta reported that Christopher Johnson sought GM-search input from Fox Sports and NFL Network talking head Peter Schrager; pretty much the rest of the Jets beat denied this was true. It’s possible Johnson did ask Schrager—a personal friend—something about possible candidates, though not in any kind of formal, consultation-type way.
11. Gase shoved an old woman onto the subway tracks. Just kidding. I wanted to see if you were still paying attention.
12. More Pauline on Gase, from that Turn on the Jets podcast: “Gase is a very temperamental guy. He is a type-A personality, squared—and you never know what you’re going to get. He’s a guy who can change on a dime. That’s what happened in Miami often.”
13. Gase traded tight end Jordan Leggett, a 2017 fifth-round pick. He also fired a scout.
15. Williams, whom the Jets took with the third overall pick in last month’s draft, has a calf injury that kept him out of today’s OTA practice. It’s likely minor and not anything that will affect his ability to play games that count in another four months, but Jets fans can be excused for assuming Williams’s leg will have to be amputated.
16. Eagles assistant GM Joe Douglas’s name has been floated most frequently as a possible GM candidate because he and Gase worked together for a year with the Bears back in 2015. But the Jets haven’t yet done any interviews, and it’s fair to wonder if Douglas wants to leave a stable situation like that for, well, this one.
17. At a feisty press conference today, Gase denied having anything to do with Maccagnan’s firing, insisted there was no personal rift between him and Maccagnan, said everything’s fine with Bell, referred to the Bell trade rumors as “ridiculous,” and said the decision on the GM hire would be Christopher Johnson’s, not his. Never mind that the new GM will have to, you know, work in concert with Gase. Gase (and the Jets) lied to reporters a few weeks back when they shot down Pauline’s report about his differences with Maccagnan, and today Gase tried to frame those differences as a normal give and take between co-workers in high-pressure jobs. Look, press conferences tend to be less informative than performative, so it’s odd to see such strong reactions like this one assailing Gase’s credibility. He ain’t the first coach to fling bullshit from a podium, and he sure as hell won’t be the last.
18. As Patrick Daugherty so succinctly put it over at RotoWorld the other day, “In less than six months, Gase has secured both absolute power and plausible deniability.”
19. Right at the end of today’s 14-minute presser, Gase drilled down on an important point: “I think fans care if we win or lose. If win games, nobody’s going to care about this, I’ll tell you that. Our job is to win. That’s it.”
You know what? Adam Gase is right about that. He also has to be.