Two weeks into his stint as head coach of the New York Jets, Adam Gase had to address brewing dissension within the ranks on Wednesday.
Star safety and defensive leader Jamal Adams was upset about being taken out of the game late in Monday night's lopsided 23-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson, the second-highest-paid player on the team, barely saw the field.
"Yeah, I got benched. They benched me," Adams said, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.
"Of course I'm upset," said Johnson, adding he "didn't agree with" the decision.
Gase had different explanations for both scenarios. He said he took Adams out after he took two penalties in the fourth quarter just to give the fiery player a moment to cool down.
"I thought he was getting fired up pretty good, and I clicked over (to the defensive coaches) and I was like, 'Hey, we need to be careful here,'" Gase said. "I was worried that something bad was going to happen, we need him for the next week. They were smart and they pulled him off. I said, 'Just calm him down,' and then we were off the field.
"To me, I didn't look at that as benching. That was more like, 'Hey, let's just calm him down.' There was no hidden meaning behind it."
As for Johnson, his benching was intentional. Signed for five years and $72.5 million last March, the cornerback allowed seven receptions on eight targets while giving up 110 yards and a 118.8 passer rating against in the team's Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
He played just three snaps late in the fourth quarter on Monday night.
"It hasn't worked out as well as we need it to," Gase said. "The good thing is, we've got a long ways to go.
"In the spring, there was some good stuff. In training camp, he got injured and there were good days and bad days. Obviously, there was the evaluation after (Week 1). That's what we went with."