Jets' HC Adam Gase Quotes 7.28.20
COURTESY OF NEW YORK JETS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Opening Statement… Good to be back, get our training camp rolling here. Obviously, you guys talked to Joe (Douglas) yesterday, to kind of just follow up on a few things with him, in regard to Jamal (Adams), for us, we look at it as a coaching staff and myself, we wish him nothing but the best. For me personally, he is an incredible talent that I feel lucky enough to be around for that year, playing against him for two years. I know he was always a tough guy to go against and obviously we are going to have to go against him one time this year, late in the season. But our organization, we want nothing but the best for him. Hopefully he has great success in Seattle. I know he is with a great coaching staff, knowing a lot of those guys there. He will fit in great in that scheme and that organization. I really think the whole situation ends up being a win-win for both sides. For us, now it’s we are moving forward. Personally, I am focused on our current roster. 100% of what our coaching staff has to do moving forward is focus on the guys that are here and getting our guys ready to go with the current situation that we are dealing with, with how training camp is completely different than anything any of us have ever experienced before. There is going to be a lot of education that goes into this, preparation, just trying to get our guys ready, not only physically but mentally, keeping guys healthy, not only on the field, just with the COVID pandemic that is going on in the world. The coaching staff and myself, that is our full focus right now, is just trying to make sure that we do everything we can to help our players, put them in the best position, give them the best information we possibly can. I know our staff in this building have been working nonstop with the NFL, getting the protocols all set, just making sure that we are doing everything that we possibly can to put our players in the best position possible. Nothing is going to be easy for any team this year, it is going to be tough. It about everybody as an organization, staff, coaches, players, everybody doing the right thing, not only in the building, but outside of the building. So, it’s all going to be about what teams can stay the healthiest and really that is going to be our focus this entire training camp. Like I said there is going to be a lot of education going on. Now, we have a ton of meeting time, just kind of the way a lot of this camp is structured, before we ever step on the field and we are going to be able to cover a lot of topics, whether it be on the field things or off the field things that we need to discuss as a team. With that, whatever questions you guys have, especially with the COVID stuff, I’ll do the best I can to answer with the things I know and I know you guys have quite a few football questions as well.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Hey Adam, two quick questions for you. The first obviously is, shortly before you guys traded Jamal, he went on the record with the Daily News with some pretty critical comments obviously on Joe (Douglas) and also yourself and I was wondering if you could address that at all? The other question is more football related and COVID related and that is the NFL kind of opening the 80-man roster or 90-man roster. Have you guys decided which route you want to take with that? Yeah, there are a lot of discussions still going on with what the best route for us to take is. I feel like we do have a good idea what we are going to do, I don’t want to put words into Joe’s mouth quite yet, but when it is time to make that decision, then we will make that decision. Like I just said with Jamal, we wish him nothing but the best. That’s a done deal and I want to focus on the players that are currently on our roster.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Adam, you called the deal a win-win for both sides, but the win for the Jets would potentially be in the future with the draft picks. So as a Coach you have to win games now, is it tough to have a deal like this in the short term and lose a player the caliber of Jamal? And my second question was, have any of your players opted out? We have had one player opt out. We will pass that name on when the time is right. I think we kind of have to make sure we speak to that player, make sure everything is in line, but we’ve only had one guy so far. And you know, that is what makes football the greatest sport there is, it’s a team sport. I feel like us being able to get Bradley (McDougald) in exchange, plus the draft picks, I think that really puts us in a good position as far as how we are going to run our defense this year. I do think it is going to take all three phases for us this year to play as a team and to do what we need to do to be playing in January.
Manish Mehta, New York Daily News: Adam, Jamal obviously was pretty explicit to thinking you are not the right leader to take this team to the Super Bowl and he cited a specific example about how you don’t address the entire team at halftime when the team is struggling, so in that vein, in what ways do you think you become a better leader and a more effective communicator and secondly on a completely unrelated note, can you get into why you guys opted to make a change at athletic trainer and replace John Mellody? (Dave Zuffelato) has been our trainer since last season, so if you guys notice that every time I walked to the podium that he was following me, so that took place last year. John was in a different role last year. And as far the alleged addressing at halftime, there were two times in the second half of the season that we were down, one was the Cincinnati game, I addressed the team at halftime and one was the Baltimore game, I addressed the team at halftime. One game, he was in the training room at Cincinnati and the other one he wasn’t playing. So it’s hard for me to answer a question like that when I know the correct answer.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Adam, following up on that to some degree, you called Jamal an incredible player a few moments ago, how do you reconcile trading a player of that talent who is only 24 years old, arguably the best player on your team? What does it say about maybe the organization, that it wasn’t able to keep a player of that caliber happy? Every situation is different with every player and for us, we always look at is as, we want guys that want to be here and obviously he didn’t want to be here anymore, so the decision was made to move on. It’s a team game, we have a bunch of guys that are excited to get going and those are the guys I am going to focus on. I am extremely fired up to get this roster that Joe D and our personnel guys did a great job of assembling this offseason. From the conversations that I’ve had with a lot of guys, they are extremely excited to get this thing rolling.
Charles McDonald: Hey Adam, I have two questions for you. The first is do you plan on addressing the team about the racist and sexist allegations made against Woody Johnson, especially with the push we’ve seen towards Black Live Matter, that might be a topic on guys minds? The second question is how optimistic are you that the NFL can actually play a full 16-game season? Christopher (Johnson) called me the day that all that came out. He pointed out to me what the Johnson family stands for, knowing Christopher and spending the amount of time that I have with him, I believe exactly what he says. I think Christopher has done a great job. He has gone through almost our entire roster as far as contacting these guys himself and spending time on the phone with these guys, whether it be FaceTime or phone call. He has tried to talk to every guy on our roster. Working for a guy that is willing to single handily call every player on our roster and he has been doing that for the last few weeks, I have been very impressed with how he has gone about this.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Adam, just football-wise and COVID-wise, can you talk about the challenge with the less amount of practices you will have, no preseason games, that you are going to have with some of these young guys that you drafted for example, obviously your tackle and a guy like Ashtyn Davis, who maybe you would like to see contribute right away, how difficult that is going to be to do with so much less to work with so to speak as you try to get ready for the season? We are going to maximize the time that we do have available to us here. We have a lot of meeting time, we have covered a lot already this offseason, our participation was phenomenal. I feel like our guys did a great job of being interactive in our meeting, they figured out a way to get the information they need and absorb it in the virtual meetings that we’ve had and we will continue with our virtual meetings as it is and be able to implement walkthroughs and once we get going at practice, we are going to have to kind of see how everything falls into place. It is not one of those things that’s easy to predict of how guys are going to handle getting thrown in the fire, but that’s football. I know I went through it in 2011 when we had the lockout year, we never even had any meeting time, it was basically a deal got done, we got thrown on the field the next day. Football players, they figure out a way to get it done. They figure out a way to adjust the situation that’s at hand and that’s what I expect our guys to be able to do. I do think we have the right kind of guys in this locker room, that they are going to do everything they can to put ourselves in position, so once we get rolling in this thing, we will be ready to go.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Adam, one of the things that I think is going around the NFL that different teams are talking about here, is the idea of keeping a quarterback quarantined throughout the season, just in case something happens to the starter, you know you have someone ready. Is that something you guys have talked about at all internally? Is that something you guys are considering, or you could even kind of discuss a little about how that could potentially work? We’ve talked about that quite a bit. We are still trying to work through some of these things that will pop up of just the best avenue to take. Once you start sticking traveling in there in the regular season, especially with us having some West Coast trips, we do have to keep talking through these type of things and figure out what is the best thing for us to do to make sure, if something happened, that we’d have a really good answer for it. The good thing is, is right now we do have time, we do have time before we ever get on an airplane and have to travel anywhere. We have time before we ever step on the field. There are a lot of discussions to be had between now and by the time we get on the field.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Adam, what can you confidence in this roster and what makes you believe that this team can be better than last year? And also, what are your expectations for Sam Darnold entering his third year? I really like the depth that has been created by what the front office has done, that really gets me excited, just being able to look at our depth chart and just kind of seeing guys that we have competing for starting spots, knowing that some guys that may have started for us last year, if they are not starters this year, than we have stronger backups than what we had last year. I feel like we have a way deeper roster, I really love the attitude that this locker room has, just being around a lot of the guys that are returning that were on that team last year that played that back half of the season. We had a lot of change up there midway through and I feel like those guys, they found a way to win games, they did it right, they came to work everyday, they really tried to do everything that the coaching staff asked them to do and now with the new guys that we’ve added I feel like they are the right guys, especially in the conversation that myself and Joe have had, we’ve talked from the beginning, it is all about the locker room, that’s where it is going to start and end and making sure that when that group is tight, then that is going to give us our best chance to win games. I’ve really liked how this group has worked so far, it will be exciting to see these guys get on the field and come together and see what we can do. Where Sam is right now, I love how he worked through the spring, I love the questions that he’s asking. I can’t wait to see him throw to especially some of the new guys that we have out there. It is going to be nice to see Chris Herndon be able to get out and practice and get him rolling from the beginning. I am excited to see what (Breshad) Perriman and (Denzel) Mims bring to the table and then another year with (Jamison) Crowder, I feel like those two guys had an outstanding chemistry once we got going during the season and I’m excited to see what this offensive line can do. The better that we protect Sam (Darnold) and the better that our running game is with Lev (Le’Veon Bell) and Frank (Gore), I’m really excited to see what we can put together as an offense.
Manish Mehta, New York Daily News: Adam, just following up on earlier, what specific ways can you become a better leader and more effective communicator? Secondly, you mentioned how Dave took over for John last year, what was the thought process in making the change last year at the training spot? As coaches, that’s what you do. After every season you are always trying to look through things that you can get better at doing, whether it be, how you present things to the team, how you do your meetings, how much time you spend with each phase of the game, you are always looking to improve in those areas. There has always been some kind of change up that I’ve always done from season to season, I don’t think anything has just been done one cookie-cutter-type of way. As far as decisions that we make with our organization when it comes to anything whether it be players or personnel, we always keep those things internal.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: With no offseason and an abbreviated training camp and so many new guys on offense, how much will you be relying on Sam because he knows the offense, maybe to take on a greater leadership role? Secondly, unrelated, Le’Veon seems pretty optimistic about his performance this year. He predicted on social media that this is going to be his best year ever, so if you could speak to your expectations for him? I know this, (Bell) is not a guy that I would ever doubt, just seeing what he has done throughout his career, I’m excited to get him going on the field. I know I’m sure he’s about over, even though we have a ton of meeting time still left, I think he is ready to actually get on the field and start doing stuff. Just knowing what I saw last training camp and at the beginning of the year, I think that we have a lot to build on. I think his knowledge of the system is completely different than it was last year, there will be a lot less thinking, a lot more reacting. I know that the addition of beefing up our offensive line and adding the guys that we’ve added up there and kind of mixing those guys in with the guys that we’ve already had, I think that is going to be extremely helpful. I think we spent a lot of time this offseason studying and making sure we can find different ways for him to get the ball, whether it be in the passing game or in the run game. It’s one of those training camps, where you got a guy that has done what he’s done and he’s looking to prove people that he is still at the top of his game, I’m excited to see that. I think Sam has a little different way about him, there is less learning for him, he does know this offense a lot better than what he did when he started last year. I think he’s more detail oriented and what he does know, I think he able to help a lot of guys whether it be upfront, outside, in the backfield. I do think there is a lot more confidence on his part and I think his relationship with defensive players as well, I think he’s always done a good job of making sure he is not just focused on one side of the ball, there is a lot of good communication that goes on between him and defensive players as well.
Charles McDonald, New York Daily News: Hey Adam, just following up earlier, how confident or optimistic are you that the NFL can actually play an entire season and make it through the Super Bowl this year? I don’t have a crystal ball but I do know what we’ve been given as far as how to put our players and our staff in the best position possible, you can tell that these guys has spent a lot of time and there is a lot of work and they went to a lot of different people to try to figure out the best way to give us the best opportunity we possibly can. I think it is going to be on us an organization to do everything we can possibly can to put our guys in the right spot and put our staff in the right position by following the guidelines that they have given us. I think the thing that is really important for us, and this is something we will really emphasize with our players, is asking questions. If there is something anybody is concerned about, if there is something anybody isn’t sure about, is not being afraid to ask questions because what it does, there’s a lot of things that get brought up that you may have to go ask somebody in the league office, we may have to have somebody that is in charge of our protocols of, if there is some kind of gray area, and I don’t think there are 100% answers to anything right now. We are going through this and trying to find the best way to put our players in the best position possible and keep everybody healthy. There is no handbook for this situation and we’re all going through it trying to figure out the best way to do every part of our daily lives in the football world and this is uncharted waters for us.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: I have two questions if I could. I am wondering since Jamal’s departure, the trade of Jamal obviously, have you heard from players, have players reached out to you either to ask a question or even just to chat with you about that. My follow up to that is, which players in particular will you be counting on for leadership given that for many reasons including COVID and the very abbreviated preseason in many ways, it seems like player leadership is going to be so important this season? That is probably an area I feel great about right now as far as our leadership goes. When you are lucky enough to coach a team that has a Steve McLendon on it, Jordan Jenkins, Brian Poole, Alex Lewis, Sam (Darnold), Le’Veon (Bell), (Jamison) Crowder, Jonotthan Harrison, Brian Winters, you have guys that have experience, you have guys that are very strong minded, you have guys that are unbelievable character people that are always trying to do the right things and not afraid to step outside their comfort zone to help other people. When you are in a situation like I am right as the head coach and you are able to turn to a ton of different guys to talk through things and to find out their opinion on things, it’s a good feeling to have. You asked me whether or not I’ve heard from players. Nobody contacted me about anything after the trade.
Ralph Vacchiano, SNY: Hey Adam, I was just curious, you mentioned the young players, the new pieces you have on offense, given that your time on the field is going to be limited this summer, are you worried about having everything click by an opener, or do you just assume that this will sort of be a work in progress early in the season on either side of the ball? Yeah, a lot of the times when you finish training camp it’s always a work in progress. You always want to have your team trending upward. You are trying to avoid the peaks and valleys, you are trying to avoid the one good week and then that downfall where you don’t play as well the next week and you are taking a step back, your guys aren’t absorbing the information, correct the mistakes that are made, where if we can get to the point where we just keep improving. And if we are not hitting on all cylinders in Week One, it is about getting better from Week One to Week Two. We want to get as close to that point as we can heading into that first week of the season, but it is all about getting better as the season progresses. And the good thing is, I love the work ethic that we have in this locker room. I do think that some of these younger players, we’ve drafted the right type of guys, the undrafted free agents are the right type of guys, the new guys that we have are the right type of guys. These guys are going to do everything they can to put themselves in the best position possible and that we just have to do a great job as coaches, making sure that we can correct things and eliminate mistakes as fast as possible.