Revisiting Bill Belichick’s Adam Gase Comments Amid Patriots’ OC Search

Could Gase land in New England?


Feb 4, 2022

Multiple reports this week have linked Adam Gase to the New England Patriots’ vacant offensive coordinator position.

Given the way Bill Belichick has spoken about Gase in the past, that shouldn’t be surprising.

Gase, who’s been out of football since he was fired as Jets head coach last January, received a glowing tribute from Belichick before his final game with New York.

“Adam’s always had an offensive system that really gave the quarterbacks all the opportunities to have tools that they need to be successful, so I don’t think you could have anybody better coaching (Sam Darnold) than where he’s at,” Belichick said in December 2020, referring to the then-Jets QB.

In that same media session, Belichick said he has “a lot of respect” for Gase, who worked under Nick Saban at Michigan State and LSU and under Josh McDaniels with the Denver Broncos before going on to mediocre-at-best head-coaching stints with the Miami Dolphins and Jets.

“I have a lot of respect for Adam,” the Patriots coach said at the time. “I think he’s a very good coach. He’s always been tough to coach against. He’s always made things difficult on our defense. He goes back to Josh in Denver, so we’ve known each other for a while through a mutual connection there.

“But I think he’s done an excellent job. I thought he did a good job with Miami. I think he did a good job with the Jets. He’s, as I said, a coach I have a lot of respect for, and he gives us a lot of problems and is a tough coach to coach against. That’s really the way I feel about him.”

Gase and Belichick have had a connection away from the field, too. Last year, Gase revealed Belichick called him after he was fired by Miami in 2018 to ask about his future plans.

“After I left Miami, he called me and we had a discussion about that ending and seeing what I was going to do moving forward,” Gase said before the first Patriots-Jets matchup in 2021. “That was kind of the starting point there. We just had a conversation to kind of just see what my next steps were going to be.

“I was very appreciative. Not ever having a conversation (with Belichick) except for after games, which were usually short when I was in Miami, to be able to have a conversation with him and kind of hear his experiences and how to go about things moving forward, he didn’t have to go out of his way to do that. I thought that was somebody that was great for me to hear from.”

Gase also recalled memorable interactions he’d had with Belichick and former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia (now a senior football advisor with New England) at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I don’t think I’ve laughed harder being around somebody,” he said of Belichick.

NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry and NFL Media’s Mike Giardi both reported this week that Gase’s name has come up in conversations about the Patriots’ coordinator search. Gase, who coordinated the Broncos’ offense during Peyton Manning’s record-setting 2013 season, also was featured in our list of potential McDaniels replacements.

Ex-Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien should be the top candidate to replace McDaniels, who left for a head-coaching job with the Las Vegas Raiders. New England and O’Brien, the current OC at Alabama, have “mutual interest” in a reunion, according to a report Thursday from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

“It just makes a lot of sense for all parties,” Rapoport said on WEEI’s “Gresh & Keefe.”

But with the Patriots reportedly hoping to hire an experienced offensive play-caller from outside the organization, it makes sense that Gase also would be on their radar. The 43-year-old would be a controversial hire, though, and a risky one at that.

Neither Ryan Tannehill nor Darnold performed to his first-round billing under Gase in Miami and New York, respectively, with the former immediately improving after leaving the Dolphins. Despite Belichick’s praise, is he someone the Patriots want to trust with Mac Jones’ development?

Thumbnail photo via Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports Images
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