Adam Gase on the sidelines

Ranking Adam Gase Replacements for the 2021 New York Jets

  • Adam Gase
  • Brian Daboll
  • Don Martindale
  • Eric Bieniemy
  • Joe Douglas
  • Matt Campbell
  • New York Jets
  • Pat Fitzgerald
  • Robert Saleh
  • Todd Monken
By Michael Pallas December 31, 2020 0 Comment
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As many have suspected, the New York Jets will be firing Adam Gase following the game against the Patriots on Sunday. Craig Carton broke the news Jets fans been waiting for months on Carton & Roberts on Tuesday. Allegedly, the Jets’ brass informed Gase he will coach his final game on Sunday.

We’ve been talking about the inevitable for months, but now that the time is here, let’s look at potential replacements for Adam Gase to lead the 2021 New York Jets.

College Coaches

There was a time when these would be long-shots, but the game has changed so much. College and the NFL are so much more alike now — especially in terms of game plans — that college head coaches can be the right people for NFL openings. Another thing that makes them special is that they have head coach experience, which can be a huge help over someone without it.

1. Matt Campbell – Iowa State head coach

Before Matt Campbell, Iowa State was a losing program. They were an afterthought, but Campbell turned that program around. After enduring a losing season in his first season, they haven’t had a losing season since. Additionally, they are playing in the Fiesta Bowl this year, their first major bowl appearance.

Having built the Iowa State program basically from scratch, he knows what it’s like to take a losing culture and make it a winning one. The Jets have been a laughingstock for the last ten years, and the combination of Matt Campbell and Joe Douglas would be a great union for Gang Green.

2. Todd Monken – Georgia offensive coordinator

Monken has been seemingly everywhere. He’s coached quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers at the college level, and he’s called plays at both the college and NFL levels. However, where you can say he made his biggest mark for this list was at Southern Miss.

That program had been known for winning and getting to bowl games. However, his immediate predecessor took a 12-2 program and turned it into a winless one. So, when he took over, Monken had a lot of work to do. Three years later, they were back in regular bowl contention. Showing this ability to rebuild a program should excite Jets fans if they hire him to replace Adam Gase, given the last ten years of misery.

Another thing that stands out is the ability to adapt and change. While at Southern Miss he was calling plays. However, when he saw the relationship between the quarterbacks’ coach and their starting quarterback, he gave him the duty of calling plays. That sparked things, and Southern Miss began to win games again.

3. Pat Fitzgerald – Northwestern head coach

Imagine your immediate supervisor dying before he was supposed to land a big deal for the company. Now you have to take over the project and make sure it’s done well within three months. That is what happened in 2006 when Randy Walker, the head coach of the Northwestern Wildcats suddenly died from a heart attack. Pat Fitzgerald was given the task of taking over that program after Walker’s tragic passing.

It didn’t go well for the Wildcats in his first season. However, Fitzgerald slowly built that program from the ground up. They went from 4-8 to 6-6 to five straight bowl games. They fell off the tracks missing bowl games in the next two seasons. But they followed that up with 10-win seasons in two of the next three and three straight bowl wins, and they’ve been in two of the last three Big 10 Championship Games.

Like Campbell, Fitzgerald built his program into one where players want to go. If he wants to go to the Jets, this experience will aid him immensely.

NFL Coordinators

NFL coordinators are a crapshoot. The assistants are just as important as the head coach, and since they’ve never built a staff before, it’s usually a complete unknown. However, sometimes you need to take a chance, and these are the coordinators the Jets should consider when replacing Adam Gase

4. Don “Wink” Martindale – Ravens defensive coordinator

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Don Martindale is a top candidate for the Jets opening

According to Joshua Reed of the Maryland Sports Blog, what sets him apart from the defensive coordinators that are good at calling plays is adjustments and leadership. His leadership is exemplified in empowering players to help with making adjustments. A good leader is willing to recognize that other people can see things he or she misses and listens.

The only question would be his staffing, but as Rapoport shows, he does have connections. Also, it’s good that he’s willing to bring in former head coaches as coordinators. One of them could be someone to lean on for advice when needed.

5. Robert Saleh – 49ers defensive coordinator

Saleh has shown to be a good leader. His defense plays for him and loves doing so. The only issue would be who his offensive coordinator would be. Being able to bring along Mike McDaniel or Mike LaFleur to be the OC would be welcomed and a huge plus. If they go the coordinator route, Saleh would be a fine choice.

6. Eric Bieniemy – Chiefs offensive coordinator

Andy Reid and many Chiefs players have heaped praise on Bieniemy as a leader and a man who would make a great head coach. He has been one of the principal architects behind the NFL’s most dangerous offense over the last few years. The biggest question about Bieniemy is why he’s not been hired after two seasons of interviewing for the top spot.

Some have pointed to him being black as a potential reason, but it could be deeper than that. He did have some legal issues as a player at the University of Colorado in the early 1990s and as a coach later on in his career. People deserve second chances and Bieniemy’s transgressions are long behind him. He has seemingly atoned for them, and they do not impact his ability to coach. However, the question isn’t whether or not his history still lingers in owners’ minds, but how he’s addressing it in interviews.

7. Brain Daboll – Bills offensive coordinator

A Bills insider told me that it’s very likely that Daboll will want to call plays if he takes over for Adam Gase. That can be good and bad. We’ve seen it work in San Fransisco, but obviously, Gase failed.

While it would be preferable to have more of a delegator in the head coach chair, it can work. Daboll has also proven — with Josh Allen — that he can be a good developer of talent and understands how to call plays to a quarterback’s strengths.

That being said, there’s been nothing reported nor said specifically about his leadership or other qualities that make him a good head coach candidate.

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Michael has been covering the Jets since 2015 for various blogs, and he’s the host of Bleav in Jets.


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