Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
If there was one word to describe new Jets head coach Adam Gase's introductory press conference on Monday afternoon, "understated" would be it.
After a low-key introduction by CEO Christopher Johnson, Gase remained calm and measured, giving thoughtful and non-controversial answers to reporters as he reiterated that the organization would be patiently following a long-term plan.
Nevertheless, there was a palpable intensity on Gase's face; one which belied his calm words and demeanor.
Gase's eyes darted around the room, almost with an air of suspicion, as he sought to process everything around him and get the lay of the land.
In Miami, Gase had a few prickly exchanges with reporters, but today's assembled media went easy on him in his first go-round, lobbing mostly softball questions and satisfying themselves with his straightforward responses.
Ten years ago, as he made his first appearance in front of local and national media, new head coach Rex Ryan made no such effort to temper his intensity. His first press conference was littered with declarations about how he had come to the Jets for one reason and one reason alone: to win Super Bowls.
Gase, in contrast, stopped well short of anything approaching Ryan's most notorious line about not coming here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings.
He wouldn't be suckered into saying anything about the Patriots, reverting back to discuss the more general goal to first focus on filling out his staff and getting the process underway.
It was a clear ongoing theme that this rebooted Jets regime plans to take a patient and measured approach rather than getting too far ahead of themselves.
Of course, Ryan's introduction was a far cry from that of the coach who preceded him. That would be Eric Mangini, whose first press conference was described today by Rich Cimini as the dullest of the 10 he's seen during his time on the Jets' beat.
Unsurprisingly for a former Belichick disciple, the first-time coach was extremely reserved. This led to media remarks about how Mangini himself was a departure from the fiery Herm Edwards who had departed for Kansas City to create the vacancy he filled.
Ryan's replacement represented yet another shift in tone, as Todd Bowles was every bit as stoic and laid-back as Mangini had been, providing a refreshing change from Ryan's bluster. The most memorable thing about Bowles' introductory presser was how forgettable it was, and he continued to keep his personality under wraps throughout most of his four years as the Jets' head coach. Initially, this unflappable demeanor was well-received but wouldn't translate to adequate on-field results.
Unlike the first Bowles press conference, which saw new general manager Mike Maccagnan sharing the limelight, all eyes were on Gase this time. In fact, Maccagnan didn't field a single question during the time allocated to the reporters following Gase's initial statements.
Perhaps the biggest lesson the Jets have learned from their past few coaching hires is that you don't have to hire someone who is the exact opposite of the previous coach.
The Jets will hope Gase can bring more intensity than Bowles did and that his players will respond well to that. However, his measured mindset for today's media session was likely a calculated effort to show that he's going to be able to tone that down when necessary and won't let emotions cloud his judgment.
At the end of the press conference, Johnson responded to a question about whether he was concerned about the immediate reaction to the Gase hire and he responded that the Jets are trying to win games, not win Twitter.
While that's absolutely the right mindset, the tone of this press conference was clearly by design as the Jets look to begin this era on the right foot.
Gase talked repeatedly about patience, process, preparation and hard work. Johnson reinforced that approach when he said that there would be no playoff mandate for the Jets under Gase, even going so far as to say that he would never do that.
It's clear the Jets are heading into this new era with the right intentions in mind and they've started out by saying all the right things. Actions speak louder than words though, so Gase is going to have to prove he can stick to the plan once adversity strikes and the pressure rises.
If he can do that and earn the respect of his team while striking the right balance between being overly intense and staying calm and measured, then he has a good chance to emulate and surpass his predecessors.
Nothing comes easy with the Jets though, but Gase is sure to be more than aware of this as he readies himself for the next challenges.