There were some Jets fans who thought the team should hire former Packers coach Mike McCarthy as their new coach.
McCarthy interviewed with the Jets and was the only candidate who had won a Super Bowl as a head coach, but the Jets picked Adam Gase instead. Jets CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson explained why.
“McCarthy is terrific, absolutely,” Johnson said Monday at Gase’s introductory press conference. “I was really impressed by him. Obviously, he has this incredible run with two Hall of Fame, I’m sure, quarterbacks and with this amazing franchise in Green Bay.
“To me, to [general manager] Mike [Maccagnan], seeing how Adam has gotten the best out of quarterbacks in different stages of their careers is vitally important, no question. Also, he laid out how we help this locker room that we have right now in terms of responsibility, in terms of discipline. He laid out a compelling argument about how we move football along on the Jets team to win. I’m just really convinced that he is the man. It’s not that there was anything wrong with McCarthy or any of the other guys. They were fantastic, but Adam took it to a new level.”
Johnson also responded to reports that the team was trying to dictate whom the new coach would hire on his staff. There were reports that McCarthy and Baylor coach Matt Rhule both had disagreements with the Jets over the team telling them whom to hire.
“We talked with every one of the candidates extensively about their coaching staff, each position, various people that might fill that,” Johnson said. “That was a big part … these are multi-hour interviews. We went through those things quite extensively. At no point did we say, ‘We were going to choose your guys’ or ‘We don’t like that guy’ or ‘We like this guy, we’re going to put him in there.’ No, that never happened. I completely deny it.”
Gase became close with Peyton Manning when the two were with the Broncos in 2012-14. Manning made a call to Johnson to recommend Gase before the Jets hired him. He made the same call in 2016 to the Dolphins. Gase was asked what Manning’s support means to him.
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“I feel like he’s had to do it too much. Give him a break,” Gase said. “I had a feeling what was going to happen in Miami. We spoke before we played that last game and I let him know, ‘Hey, something might go down on Monday. I’m not 100 percent.’ He was a little surprised, but he had a couple of things we talked about and things that if that did happen, the way we should go about things. I don’t look at it as it was a player-coach relationship. I feel like it was a peer-to-peer relationship. He’s been in it so long, he knows how to handle things.”
Gase said he may ask Manning to come around at some point.
“I always try to get him around as many people as I can if I’m involved in something,” Gase said. “He’s not shy about letting guys know if he likes something, he dislikes something. He’s very honest if guys ask him anything. He’ll shoot guys straight. I’ve always appreciated that about him. It’s always good to get another set of eyes on what you’re doing.”