Breaking Down 'Adam Gase Curse' After Sam Darnold Leads Panthers to 3-0 Start

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 24, 2021

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - AUGUST 03: New York Jets Head Coach Adam Gase speaks to the media following New York Jets Training Camp on August 3, 2019 at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, NJ (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sam Darnold was trending toward being labeled a bust after three lackluster seasons with the New York Jets, including the past two under the guidance of head coach Adam Gase, but his resurgence with the Carolina Panthers has brought Gase's past into the spotlight.

Darnold threw for 304 yards and scored a pair of rushing touchdowns Thursday night to help the Panthers improve their record to 3-0 with a 24-9 win over the Houston Texans.

Here's a look at how the 2018 third overall pick has performed through three appearances with Carolina compared to his two years (25 games) with Gase, who was fired by the Jets following the 2020 season:

  • 2021: 68.2% completion rate, 296 passing YPG, 6 total TDs, 2 turnovers
  • 2019-20: 60.9% completion rate, 209 passing YPG, 32 total TDs, 29 turnovers

"I don't want to talk too much about New York, to be honest with you. That's in the past for me," Darnold said on the NFL Network after Thursday's win.

The 24-year-old USC product is following a similar upward trajectory to the Tennessee Titans' Ryan Tannehill, who spent three years alongside Gase with the Miami Dolphins (2016-18) before being named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2019.

Let's check out Tannehill's uptick in performance since his move to Tennessee:

  • 2016-18: 65.9% completion rate, 207.3 passing YPG, 37 total TDs, 28 turnovers
  • 2019-21: 67.0% completion rate, 237.3 passing YPG, 68 total TDs, 21 turnovers

Kevin Clark of The Ringer noted the "Adam Gase Curse" goes beyond the impressive turnarounds by those two signal-callers, though:

Kevin Clark @bykevinclark

I regret to inform you—this is not a joke—that Adam Gase’s Michigan high school, Marshall, won the state title in the first season after his 1996 graduation.

In fairness to Gase, the rosters around Darnold and Tannehill in Carolina and Tennessee are far better than the ones he coached in New York and Miami. That's especially true in terms of the offensive playmakers, which were severely lacking for both the Jets and Dolphins.

Gase also served as the Denver Broncos' quarterbacks coach in 2012 and the team's offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014 following the arrival of Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

Denver led the NFL in both total offense (457.3 YPG) and scoring offense (37.9 PPG) in 2013 as Manning threw a single-season record 55 touchdown passes.

So while Gase's track record has recently become somewhat of a meme after two head coaching stints where his combined record was 32-48, not everything he's touched turned into a disaster.

That doesn't mean the "Adam Gase Curse" talk will go away any time soon, though.