Adam Gase apologized on Wednesday.
The Jets coach, without hesitation, answered, “Yes,’’ when he was asked if he feels like he’s let down team CEO Christopher Johnson.
“I’ve told him multiple times [that] he deserves better — especially with how he is with our players, our staff, our coaches, anybody involved in this organization,” Gase said. “I couldn’t ask to work for a better guy.”
Maybe Gase ended up doing this unwittingly or maybe he saw the line of questioning about him and Johnson as an opportunity to do the noble thing and passively accept and endorse his eventual firing — giving it his blessing (not that Johnson needs it, of course).
Wednesday’s honest and sincere words from Gase had the distinct sound of a concession speech from a man on his way out … and from a man who knows he doesn’t deserve to stay on based on his body of work.
Gase was hired by Johnson and has grown close with him. This will naturally make firing Gase after just two seasons difficult for Johnson — particularly after his ill-fated and poorly timed double-down on his handpicked coach as an “offensive genius’’ after the team’s season-opening loss.
As the kids say in the social media world: “That tweet didn’t age well.’’
But a 7-22 record entering Sunday’s game against the 9-4 Rams in Los Angeles can — and should — lead to termination of the coach overseeing that woeful mark.
There really isn’t any other choice for Johnson to make — especially when he takes into consideration his irate and disgusted fan base. Those fans cannot —and will not — be sold on another minute of Gase beyond the season finale in New England in three weeks, a game that likely will leave the Jets as the third team in NFL history to finish 0-16.
So, maybe Gase’s apology was his noble way of smoothing the path for his boss to do what his boss doesn’t want to do.
“At the end of the day, it’s about winning,’’ Gase said. “We haven’t done that. For him not to feel a playoff feel of being competitive in December, it’s disappointing to me that we haven’t been able to do that for him.’’
Johnson has become an easy target for the angry fans as an owner who doesn’t care about winning. But that’s not even close to accurate.
Christopher Johnson burned to win while his brother Woody was away in England serving as an ambassador for the Trump administration. He craved to better the record of his brother on his watch, half-joking about it being a sibling-rivalry thing.
Unfortunately, it’s all gone the wrong way for Christopher. And not without any fault of his. He, after all, is the man who curiously became so smitten with Gase despite Gase’s thoroughly mediocre run in Miami.
The Jets were Gase’s rebound relationship, and we all know how rebound relationships go. They rarely work out.
“I’ve never seen anger,” Gase said when asked about Johnson’s frustration from the losing. “He’s like all of us. He wants to win as much as we do. Anything he’s ever said to me after a game really, it’s been more about our guys, how hard they’re playing, what do we need to do different to try to change the result. Do we need to get different guys out there?
“He can see it and look at, ‘OK, are we playing hard or not? Where are we making our miscues?’ Some of them are obvious to everybody of, ‘Hey, we lost that game because of this, penalties or we didn’t finish the game situationally, we let a ball get over our head when we shouldn’t.’ We have those discussions. He can see the effort the guys are playing with.’’
When asked if the team’s “effort’’ has seemed to have been satisfactory enough for Johnson, Gase said, “This is a results-oriented business. Nobody cares about the process for the most part. Coaches and players have to focus on the process. That’s what we have to do. Outside of that, most people are just looking for the end result.”
Gase has known for quite some time now what the end result for him will be once this miserable season mercifully ends.
Maybe he took Wednesday as an opportunity to make it a little easier for Johnson to execute that end result.