FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. BenchGate: It was only five plays -- five plays in garbage time -- but Jamal Adams' benching last Monday night sparked a firestorm. Adams, for one, made it clear he was chafed by the move. So was former Jets coach Rex Ryan, who was stunned. He didn't like it one bit, because he believes the coaching staff should embrace the safety's passion, not make an example out of him as the team attempts to rebound from its 0-2 start.
"They benched Jamal Adams. I was like, 'What?'" Ryan said this week in a phone interview. "That pissed me off because I love that kid. He's the guy that represents the Jets. I'd kill to have a guy like that. I love that mentality. Hey -- you know what? -- you may beat us, but by God we're going to beat the hell out of you. I'd rather go down that way, with people that will go down swinging than, OK, let's accept losing.
"That pissed me off. If they have that mentality, they ain't gonna beat anybody. But if they have the mentality of this Jamal Adams, they've got a chance."
Coach Adam Gase said he made the choice to pull Adams after he committed back-to-back penalties because he wanted him to settle down on the sideline. Gase didn't want one of his best players doing something that could have affected his availability for this week. It took two days, but he finally explained his rationale to Adams, who admitted he was "upset" but insisted everything is cool.
Now the Jets face the New England Patriots (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS). When "The Patriot Way" was mentioned to Ryan, now an ESPN analyst, he turned the conversation back to Adams.
"Jamal Adams has got The Jet Way," Ryan said. "Everybody needs to get on board with that kid and follow him, even if it means more than the coach. Follow that kid, because he knows what it means."
If the Jets continue to lose, the question of Adams' future in New York will surely come up. The team has his rights through 2021, counting his fifth-year option, but we all know NFL contracts aren't what they used to be.
2. No B&B reunion: The Patriots' decision to release Antonio Brown Friday ruined a potential Brown-Le'Veon Bell reunion, although I got the distinct impression from Bell that he wasn't planning to be warm and fuzzy with his former Pittsburgh teammate. Bell said he would be focused on the game and wouldn't go out of his way to talk to him in pregame warmups.
Bell and Brown get lumped together because they were both perceived as malcontents in Pittsburgh (for entirely different reasons, mind you), but Bell has been a model teammate with the Jets. He didn't put up big numbers last week, but he impressed his coaches and teammates with his effort and intensity, even when the game was lost. He "fought his guts out in that game," offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said.
While Brown continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons, Bell has settled in as a team leader.
3. Battle of the 199's: Luke Falk is a huge Tom Brady fan. He wore a TB12 hat around the Washington State campus, studied every Brady game on tape and read the "TB12 Method" book. In 2018, Falk was drafted No. 199 overall by the Tennessee Titans, the same spot at which Brady was drafted in 2000. They're the only two quarterbacks in the past 20 years to be chosen 199. Call it a small fraternity.
"Yeah, it was kind of weird," said Falk, recalling his draft day. "I got my phone and I saw the Titans were pick 199, and I got a call from Tennessee around 196 and I was like, 'No way.' So it was pretty cool. I was just happy I got drafted."
Falk uses the "Brady Six," the documentary that details the lives of the six quarterbacks drafted ahead of the Patriots star, as motivation. OK, you get it: He's a Brady fan.
The book on Falk: Average arm. Touch-and-timing passer. Game manager. Smart (he made a couple of successful audibles last Monday night). Confident.
"He's got a little swag to him," tackle Kelvin Beachum said. "He played for [Mike] Leach at Washington State, so he's got a little piss to him."
4. Did you know? Falk will make his first NFL start against Brady & Co. It won't be easy. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is 7-0 against quarterbacks making their first start.
5. NFL Next Gen Stat of the Week: Leonard Williams is starting to catch some flak because he hasn't recorded a sack in the first two games, but know this: He has been double-teamed on 40 pass-rushing downs, tied with Aaron Donald for fourth in the league. The only players with more double teams are Maliek Collins (43), Akiem Hicks (41) and Kenny Clark (41). I predict Williams will break through against the Patriots' patchwork offensive line.
6. Hope for Ryan? It's too early to draw a conclusion, but general manager Joe Douglas' first big acquisition -- center Ryan Kalil -- isn't working out the way they had hoped. Kalil, 34, a late arrival because ... well, he was retired, is off to a sluggish start. By his own admission, he's playing slow, probably because he's learning a new system. Stats can be misleading, especially with offensive linemen, but he ranks 30th out of 32 centers, according to Pro Football Focus. His pass-block win rate (85%) ranks 128th out of 160 linemen, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.
This quote from Gase is more damning than the stats: "We're probably a ways from where he would actually like to be."
Kalil deserves some benefit of the doubt because of his track record with the Carolina Panthers (five Pro Bowls) and the fact he had no preseason. On Monday night, he was replaced in the fourth quarter by Jonotthan Harrison. If Gase truly runs a meritocracy, he will have to consider a permanent change if Kalil can't find his old form.
7. The money pit: Cornerback Trumaine Johnson said he doesn't want to be traded, but you can bet there will be rumors as the midseason deadline draws near. The Jets would love to deal him for a late-round pick, but that doesn't seem feasible unless they pay a portion of his remaining salary. He's making $470,000 per week in 2019 (pause to catch your breath), which means he's still owed $6.6 million after Sunday's game -- fully guaranteed. No team in its right mind would pick up that contract, even as a one-year rental.
In my opinion, Johnson's contract will go down as the worst in Jets history if he remains a backup, based on bang for the buck (or lack thereof). My rankings of the worst deals:
8. Words to remember: If the Patriots jump on the Jets, Belichick will show no mercy. We all know he despises them, but he's an equal-opportunity blowout artist. In last week's 43-0 win against the hapless Miami Dolphins, he sent an all-out blitz late in the game. Gase said he has no problem with that mentality.
"That's how you're supposed to play -- 60 minutes," he said. "This is the NFL. This isn't Pee-Wee football."
Let's revisit this at 4 p.m. Sunday.
9. Did you know, Part II? Brady has won 11 straight home starts against the Jets and hasn't thrown a home interception against them since 2011 (285 straight attempts).
10. The last word: "I don't sense a panic. We have 14 more games left. I'm confident this team can win 14 games. We've got to put everything together." -- Le'Veon Bell