INDIANAPOLIS - The Adam Gase Era began six weeks ago when the new Jets coach took his seat in front of the media and said … well, mostly nothing. He barely gave a hint about his thoughts on the franchise or his plans for the future.
On Wednesday, that could change.
Both Gase and Jets GM Mike Maccagnan are expected to meet the media at the NFL scouting combine and will be quizzed a little more specifically about their plans for the franchise's future. They're likely to give more hints than actual direct answers. But here's a preview anyway of some of the key questions they're likely to be asked, and what they are expected to say:
1. Are they going to be all-in on Le'Veon Bell?
OK, if you think the Jets are going to answer this then you've never actually heard a Maccagnan or Gase press conference. So pay attention to the hints, like how aggressive Maccagnan says the Jets will be, and whether he thinks they'll go after some of the top players on the market. Because the market usually only has a few true difference-makers and few fit that category better than Bell.
Gase, meanwhile, could give some indication of how important he thinks a running back is in his offense. Remember last offseason when Giants coach Pat Shurmur waxed poetically about the importance of a running back in his scheme - in hindsight a pretty clear indication the Giants had their eyes on Saquon Barkley in the draft.
The Jets are definitely going to go after Bell. The only question is: How hard? So listen for some clues.
2. Do they think they need a No. 1 receiver and where are they going to find one?
Maccagnan has never really displayed any sense of urgency to find or develop a No. 1 receiver, figuring they could get by with a mediocre group with decent individual skills. But it's hard to imagine Gase, an offensive-minded coach, figuring he can make do with Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson as his only reliable targets.
The problem, though, is the free-agent market is pretty thin at receiver (30-year-old Golden Tate is the big prize) and the draft's best receivers aren't ones likely to be taken in the Top 5. So will the Jets bank on a second-rounder? Will they trade down? Do they care? That may all depend on what Gase says about the receivers he inherited and how desperate he is to find something better.
3. Are they playing a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense?
Everyone assumed the arrival of new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams meant a switch to his favored 4-3. Then came a report, backed by several NFL agents, that the Jets were pondering sticking with a 3-4. That makes some sense given that's what their personnel matches most, even if it's not the scheme Williams usually uses.
Gase might give some clarity on that, and if he does everyone will have a much better idea of what kind of players the Jets are after on defense in the draft and free agency.
4. Is there a future for Leonard Williams with the Jets?
He's due $14.2 million and he's never really proven to be worth that kind of money, except for fans of "hidden production." No doubt he can play, but that kind of money really is for impact pass rushers - something Williams hasn't been for the Jets.
Maybe Gregg Williams and Gase see something in Leonard Williams. It'll be really interesting to get Gase's thoughts, and whether he's OK with hidden production or whether he expects him to become a pass-rushing force. Leonard Williams isn't going anywhere right away, but at some point the Jets have to decide whether to offer him a long-term extension or let him go at the end of the season.
Obviously a lot of that will depend on how he plays this year, but Gase's thoughts on his unused talent will go a long way towards determining that, too.
5. Would they really consider trading down, or is the value too great with the third overall pick?
The top of the draft is where Giants GM Dave Gettleman says teams are expected to find "gold jacket players", which is why he never really considered trading down from the No. 2 pick last year. But what about the Jets? They have so many needs and they're short on picks. Would they trade away a potential Hall of Famer just to add a few picks?
Maccagnan will almost surely leave that door open, but his answer could be really interesting given that the Jets gave up three second-rounders to move up and draft quarterback Sam Darnold last year. There could be quite a few quarterback-needy teams looking to get up to No. 3, and they could get back what they gave up, and possibly more.
It has to be tempting for a rebuilding team full of holes. But if he sees greatness - especially in a pass rusher - at the top of the draft, that could be really difficult to pass up, too.