While Adam Gase was ultimately fired by the Dolphins, Jets fans are hoping their new coach can at least replicate his first year in Miami and actually build off of it this time.
In his first season as a head coach, Gase guided the 2016 Dolphins to their first playoff appearance since 2008. Meanwhile, the Jets last made the postseason when they reached the AFC Championship Game in 2009 and 2010 under Rex Ryan.
Gase is confident the Jets have enough talent to be in the playoff picture heading down the stretch of the regular season.
“I’m looking at it as if we stay healthy, we should be in the conversation in December,” Gase said to New York Jets.com. “That’s realistic. We have a good quarterback, we have a lot of good pieces around him. I feel like we’ve added a lot of pieces to the defense.”
Unlike with Ryan Tannehill in Miami, Gase now has a quarterback in Sam Darnold that has the potential to be a franchise centerpiece. Darnold could make a nice leap forward in his second season with an offensive cast including running back Le'Veon Bell, wide receivers Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson and tight end Chris Herndon. Gase and new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains will have plenty of weapons to utilize on the field.
The Jets also have the chance to take a step in the right direction on defense under new coordinator Gregg Williams. The Jets picked up defensive tackle Quinnen Williams in the draft and added inside linebacker C.J. Mosley in free agency, to go along with returning players such as strong safety Jamal Adams and defensive end Henry Anderson.
Gase maintains if the Jets remain healthy, they'll be in the postseason hunt.
“Injury is a factor into this to where if you’re banged up really bad in December, you have to play good ball. You have to win your home games and you have to steal a game on the road in December if you want a shot at making [the playoffs],” Gase said to New York Jets.com. “If we stay healthy, I think we’ll be in the right spot at the end of the year. If we lost a bunch of really good players, I think our probability goes down.”
With a cast of talented playmakers, Gase's optimism is justified. If the Jets can avoid major injuries and maximize their roster, a Wild Card spot is certainly within reach.