FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Jets chairman/CEO Christopher Johnson believes Adam Gase was the right choice to be the team’s head coach — despite some heavy criticism from fans who preferred other candidates.
Gase was formally introduced Monday after he was hired by the Jets last Friday, beating out the likes of Mike McCarthy, Todd Monken and Matt Rhule.
When asked about the criticism by some fans, Johnson said he’s trying to win games, not social media.
“I get it… I have to earn their trust,” Johnson said of the fans. “We’ve just had a couple of down years. So, I have to earn their trust. I think that they will see this as — if not right now — they’ll see it pretty soon as a great hire. I’m not trying to win Twitter. I’m trying to win football games. I think we’re going to win football games here.”
The 40-year-old Gase said his first order of business is putting together a solid coaching staff. Reports have indicated the Jets are hot on the heels of veteran defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was the interim head coach of the Cleveland Browns for the final eight games of the 2018 season.
Gase said he never asked to have control over the roster as he did with the Miami Dolphins because it was not something he was interested in. He added he wanted the job in New York because of the opportunity to work with a young quarterback such as Sam Darnold, as well as staying in the AFC East.
“The No. 1 thing for me was a young quarterback,” Gase said, adding, “He’s hungry for knowledge. He wants to be coached.”
Johnson said Gase is the right coach to develop Darnold, who had an up-and-down rookie season, throwing for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 13 games.
“He’s worked with some great quarterbacks at different stages of their careers,” Johnson said. “I ended up thinking he was really the man for the job.”
Gase was fired by the Dolphins two weeks ago after going 23-26 in three seasons, including a playoff loss. He said he’s not concerned with fan perceptions that he’s nothing more than a .500 coach.
“We’re going to look to go better than .500,” Gase said. “We’re going to work to do that. That’s part of this process. Right now, we’re 0-0…. It’s a fresh start for everybody. I think there’s a lot of good pieces in place. I think we’re going to have a lot of opportunities to add to this.”
Despite the fact that the Jets have missed the postseason the last eight seasons, Johnson said there will be no mandate for Gase to make the playoffs in his first season.
“The fans do deserve better,” Johnson said. “But there will be no playoff mandate.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)