Adam Gase’s message to his new team at the start of offseason workouts was crystal clear: He came here to dethrone the Patriots.
Oh, sure, plenty of Jets coaches have tried – and failed – to topple The Evil Empire, but Gase has his players believing that it might just be possible given the influx of talent in recent months.
“He’s going for that one team that’s been winning every single year in the division,” Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley said Wednesday. “He said that’s one of the main reasons he came here. We all believe that. And the guys that are the new additions to the team … we’re pretty much here for the same reason. We know what team’s been up top for a long time. We feel we have the tools, the players and the game-plan to get that done.”
Gase’s confidence doesn’t rise to Rex Ryan’s ring-kissing chatter from yesteryear, but there’s no doubt that the new man in charge isn’t afraid to express his desire to target the reigning Super Bowl champions.
The Patriots, frankly, have toyed with the AFC East for the better part of two decades. Bill Belichick’s team has won 15 of the last 16 division titles, including the last 10. Gase went 2-4 against New England in three seasons with the Dolphins. He’s yet to win in Foxborough.
“He came here to win,” Mosley said. “At the end of the day, history shows who we have to beat to get to that top spot. Not overlooking anybody else in the division definitely or anybody else on our schedule, but we know if you want to get to where we got to be, we know what chair we got to knock off.”
The Patriots, two months removed from their sixth Lombardi Trophy in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era, have heard all of this before. But the results are indisputable. New England has been a virtual lock for double-digit wins ever since Sam Darnold was born, for Pete’s sakes.
The Patriots have finished with Top 4 offense in 11 of the last 21 seasons, which is beyond ridiculous.
Alas (for Patriot Nation), Brady is, in fact, a soon-to-be 42-year-old human being, who lost his most dangerous weapon to retirement (Gronk) this offseason.
The Jets, meanwhile, have an ascending gifted quarterback, who just added one of the game’s most dynamic players (Le’Veon Bell).
The Jets have real confidence that they could finally break through against the Patriots.
“It starts off with from a mental standpoint,” Mosley said. “You got to know where you are. You got to know where the team is with a new set of coaches on both sides. The intensity that the coaches (have) themselves to get us in the right position brings a mentality to the players. We feed off that energy. If they’re confident, then that makes us confident. When we’re both confident together – especially knowing our game-plan and what we can and can’t do – that can make us a dangerous team.”
Maybe so, but it’s a long journey that won’t even officially start until September. The Jets will face the Patriots twice in the first seven weeks this season, including a Monday Night clash at MetLife Stadium on October 21 (Week 7).
“I’m not looking at anything like that right now,” defensive tackle Steve McLendon said of whether the Jets are closer to overtaking the Patriots. “Yeah, they have been the champions. They have won the division. That’s where we want to be. But if we focus on them, we’re going to lose focus on what our big goal is.”