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Adam Gase: Things 'moving in right direction' for New York Jets

In the aftermath of the 2020 NFL Draft and on the day the Jets began their virtual offseason program, Adam Gase addressed a host of topics on a Monday morning conference call.

No, Jamal Adams wasn't expected to be present for Virtual Monday. (He wants a contract extension and has said he'll stay away. Gase also reminded us the offseason program is voluntary.)

Yes, Sam Darnold -- in his third NFL season and second in Gase's offense -- should take considerable steps forward with good health.

But we'll start with what seems to be a feeling of calm confidence -- which I think is the proper characterization -- as Gase is clearly comfortable now with the general manager of his choosing, Joe Douglas, and knows there are expectations.

"I feel like things are moving in the right direction," he said. "It's hard for me to talk about these mythical steps that everybody's talking about. All I know is, we need to find ways to win games and put ourselves in position where we can make the tournament."

The last time the Jets participated in a playoff game was Jan. 23, 2011. Gase was wide receivers coach in Denver. Darnold was 13.

The Jets went 7-9 last season as Darnold missed three games with mononucleosis; Darnold and the Jets closed with six wins in their final eight games.

Darnold has been working in California with quarterback guru Jordan Palmer (and alongside his buddy, Bills quarterback Josh Allen). Palmer told me recently that while their work includes an array of drills, Darnold has focused on "getting lined up with perimeter throws." Given the speed the Jets have added -- more on that later -- Darnold might utilize the long ball more often.

"Sam's trying to do the right thing so he knows this offense cold," Gase said. "He knows all the little details that he needs to do (and) he's gotta help all of these guys that are new up to speed as fast as possible. I mean, he's really an extension of the coaching staff in that aspect because he has more experience in this offense than most of the guys who are here. He's going to have to do a good job making sure he's on point."

Here's a look at other topics Gase addressed during post post-draft conference call:

Playmakers and protection: Pre-draft, Douglas vowed to provide Darnold with protection up front and playmakers in the field. The Jets added speedy wide receiver Denzel Mims out of Baylor late in the second round and Florida running back La'Mical Perine in the fourth. The Jets seem delighted that Mims and Perine are particularly motivated because both expected to be drafted earlier than they were.

In free agency, Douglas signed Breshad Perriman, a sixth-year pro. The Jets also have tight ends Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin and, of course, running back Le'Veon Bell.

It's not the deepest group, but if Bell can rebound and Herndon can be available -- he's missed time due to injuries and suspension -- the cast becomes more complete. Herndon has made some terrific catches when he's been on the field.

"We're excited to get (him) back," Gase said.

The head coach's relationship with Bell has been a constant source of speculation. (Which is something that probably has to stop, for the good of everyone in Florham Park.)

"With Le'Veon, there's been texting back and forth," Gase said. "There's just got to be a lot of communication. That's really the big thing this offseason."

About that protection: The offensive line has undergone a considerable makeover under Douglas, himself a former lineman. The biggest addition, figuratively and literally, is Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton (6-foot-7, 369 pounds), selected 11th overall.

"As far as the O-line, I don't think I've really been a part of (this kind of overhaul)," Gase said. "I really think it's going to come down to how quickly we can come together chemistry-wise on the field. Obviously, all teams are in the same boat here. Who knows when we get back on the field? But it's about how fast we can really gel together as a group and play well together."

Becton was drafted to be an immediate starter; he and free agent acquisition George Fant should be the tackles.

The key for the rookie, Gase said, is "getting him caught up to the offense as fast as possible, getting him to learn the techniques and the verbiage."

"It's a big jump from college to pro. The good thing is, he's very sharp. Very sharp. It'll take a second, but I think he's going to get caught up pretty quick."

Virtual Monday: This is, of course, an offseason like no other. All teams have to adjust.

"I feel pretty good with how guys are going about working out," Gase said. "As far as the virtual online things, I'm going to be very hands-on with this, whether it be meeting with the quarterback and any of the offensive positions. That's the best thing about this kind of a program, I can jump in and out of a lot of different meetings."

As part of the virtual learning with Microsoft, players and coaches can share screens and watch film together.

"Things will come up and we'll have to adjust," Gase said. "The good news is, I feel like the players are anxious to get going on something. There's not a lot of contact with people outside of FaceTime. This is a good opportunity for guys to actually see each other on these Microsoft teams meetings that we're having. You can see your teammates, have discussions, interact. I think guys are excited to be a part of that."

On Douglas:As noted, Gase is clearly in lockstep with Douglas, with whom he has a long history.

"Roster-wise, I think Joe has done a great job as far as lining this thing up the right way, finding the right type of guys and really the right fit for what we're trying to do," Gase said. "I really think our locker room is going to be a tight locker room."

Another safety?: Douglas said his intention is still to make Adams a Jet for the foreseeable future. But in the third round, the Jets surprised, selecting Cal safety Ashtyn Davis. The Jets have two of the best safeties in the league in Adams and Marcus Maye.

Of course, they also have the creative Gregg Williams as defensive coordinator.

"With Gregg, the amount of packages he has, we're able to put (Davis) in a lot of different spots and move these guys around," Gase said. "Marcus and Jamal are so versatile in the things they can do. All of a sudden you got three guys that can do the same thing and they're moving all over the place. It makes it difficult for an offense to really know what's going on. For us to have the ability to do that -- how much we do it, time will tell -- but being able to have that option for Gregg is a good thing for us."

Putting Davis already in the class of Adams and Maye is a stretch. But he is fast; Davis was a five-time track all-American in college.

Follow Kimberly Jones on Twitter at @KimJonesSports

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