The New York Jets aren't actively trying to lose games.
Coach Adam Gase insists Gang Green has never aggressively attempted to tank on their way to an 0-9 record.
"Nobody has talked about that," Gase said Wednesday of tanking, via ESPN. "We're just trying to play young guys. We're trying to get guys experience."
Trying and doing can be two different things.
At 0-9, New York sits as the front-runner for the No. 1 overall pick and presumed prize Trevor Lawrence.
The Jets have shed ineffective veterans from the roster in an effort to give young players more time, including releasing cornerback Pierre Desir this week. Joe Flacco starting for an injured Sam Darnold, and 37-year-old Frank Gore playing 50 percent of the snaps last week slightly belie the plan to play youth, but the rest of the roster is mostly young. The coaching staff has done little to help those young players improve incrementally each week.
The Jets came close to earning their first win in Week 9 against the New England Patriots, but coaching lapses, offensive flubs and defensive miscues led to the last-second loss.
Despite the pervasive poor play, Gase insists his club is actively trying to win each week.
"We can't worry about what anybody else thinks," Gase said. "We're trying to get guys better that are here and we're trying to figure out ways to win games."
The coach is hoping to spin magic like he did last year when the Jets turned a 1-7 start into a 7-9 finish.
"(Last year is) a good example of having success with some guys who a lot of people didn't think were very good. We were able to win some games because of it," Gase said. "We just have to find a way to get these guys better and find a way to win it at the end of the game. When we get in the fourth quarter and it's a close game, let's go win one of these things."
A win or two could push the Jets behind the Jacksonville Jaguars, who sit at 1-8.
Gase isn't lying when he says the Jets aren't tanking. He's unlikely to be the coach next year if the losing continues, so there is no incentive to consciously crash. Having the talent and coaching acumen to stack wins is a different story.