Adam Gase checks Jets’ boxes but comes with big red flag

A week ago, Adam Gase was preparing for an AFC East game. On Friday, he interviewed for a new job in the division.

The Jets interviewed the former Dolphins coach Friday, the second known interview by the team for their head-coaching opening.

Gase, 40, is an interesting candidate. When Miami hired him in 2016, he was one of the hottest names on the coaching market. After one playoff season and two losing seasons in South Florida, Gase was fired last week after a blowout loss to the Bills and now is trying to get another job. He also interviewed with the Cardinals and reportedly will interview with the Packers.

So is he a fit for the Jets?

He fills the bill in terms of being an offensive coach, viewed as a plus for the Jets in this search as they try to find someone to develop quarterback Sam Darnold. Gase got his start as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban at LSU. He became a quarterbacks coach for the Lions in 2007, learning under offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

“He is very, very bright,” Martz, the former Rams head coach, said Friday. “He has terrific leadership. I think he’s mature beyond his years. I think he has a very engaging personality. I give him high marks in everything.”

Gase has drawn praise for his work with the Broncos as their quarterbacks coach tutoring Tim Tebow in 2011 and as offensive coordinator with Peyton Manning and a record-setting attack in 2013 and 2014.

Gase also has experience, something the Jets have not made a prerequisite, but which CEO Christopher Johnson said could not hurt. People who know him describe him as confident and as someone who won’t pull any punches.

The biggest question with Gase is what happened in Miami. The Dolphins thought they had their new Don Shula in 2016, when the Dolphins made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

“I don’t know what happened in Miami,” Martz said. “I know he had some injuries and that’s tough. I’ve been through that myself. I don’t think any of that is an indictment on him nor the organization. It’s just kind of luck more than anything else.”

But Dolphins insiders said things went bad as Gase got power hungry after owner Stephen Ross gave him control over the roster. Gase grew overconfident after early success in Miami on top of what he had done in Denver as the offensive coordinator. The Miami Herald reported this week Gase clashed with Ross over personnel moves. The Herald report states that following the 2016 season, Gase, who had been given leave by Ross to tinker with the roster, decided to go cheap on offense and spend on defense. Ross pointed out the team needed to fill holes at guard, and Gase yelled at Ross about knowing more about football than the owner did. The Herald report quotes sources saying a club official had to intervene and tell Gase he could not speak to Ross like that.

If the Jets hire Gase, he will not have control over the roster. Johnson has made it clear general manger Mike Maccagnan will retain control over personnel.

Maybe Gase will be chastened after his experience in Miami and figure out how to deal with people better in his second shot at being a head coach.

Those who have watched him say there is no question about his offensive mind. Some people try to discredit what he did in 2013 with the Broncos because of Manning’s presence, but an NFL-record 606 points is impressive no matter who the quarterback is. He also did well in 2015 with the Bears, when quarterback Jay Cutler threw a career-low 11 interceptions, down from 18 the year before. Cutler also posted a career-high 92.3 rating.

Gase was unable to get Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill playing at a high level, but injuries contributed to that. Tannehill missed 24 games over the past three years. The Dolphins went 6-10 and 7-9 in the past two years under Gase.

Darnold also has a much higher ceiling than Tannehill. Will Gase be the one the Jets trust to help him hit it?

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