By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Bill Belichick continues to praise Adam Gase, further fueling speculation that the soon-to-be former Jets head coach could be joining the staff in New England in the near future.

Belichick heaping praise on an upcoming opponent is nothing new, but he’s gone above and beyond with Gase over the last few days. On Wednesday morning, he had plenty to say about Gase as a head coach and a bright offensive mind.

“I have a lot of respect for Adam,” Belichick said Wednesday morning. “I think he’s a very good coach, he’s always been tough to coach against. He’s always made things difficult on our defense.”

Gase will reportedly be fired after the Jets following Sunday’s regular season finale in Foxboro. New York started the season 0-13 but has won two straight, costing the team the first overall pick in next year’s draft. Gase was 7-9 in his first season with the Jets.

This is Gase’s second turn in the AFC East, after he spent three years as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Miami went 10-6 in his first season on the job in 2016, but Gase’s teams haven’t had a winning record since.

While his coaching hasn’t resulting in many wins, Belichick said that Gase has made a clear impact on the New York offense in his two years on the job. He pointed to Sam Darnold’s progress as evidence of what Gase can do with a young quarterback.

“I know [Darnold is] getting good coaching and has a good system that works through the quarterback. Adam has always had an offensive system that really gave the quarterbacks all the opportunities to have tools that they need to be successful,” said Belichick. “I don’t think you can have anybody better coaching him than where he’s at. He’s progressing as you would expect he would.”

Belichick’s high praise of Gase comes at an interesting time. It’s not just that the Patriots are playing the Jets this weekend, but Gase has been connected to New England’s opening at QB coach. The job opened up last week when Jedd Fisch left the Patriots after one season to become head coach at Arizona.

Gase will likely have to take a step back when he’s let go by the Jets, putting in a few years as a coordinator or position coach. With Fisch gone, and Josh McDaniels potentially leaving, the Patriots could seek out bringing in Gase as either their quarterback coach or offensive coordinator.

We’ll see how long Belichick’s post-game handshake with Gase lasts on Sunday. Perhaps the two coaches will be saying “see you soon” with a wink and a nod at midfield.

CBSBoston.com Staff