To some, this moment may bring sadness. To others, excitement or relief, but the New York Jets 2022 offseason is now officially underway.
On a day many NFL fans know as Black Monday because of firings, franchise leaders Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh addressed the media with a sense of unity. The GM/HC pair was in lockstep as they fielded questions with candid responses on the past and optimistic goals for the future.
“Obviously, a difficult season. Not where we want to be — four wins — a tough season but today was a good day,” Douglas began. “[Today] really started a week of after-action, starting with our exit interviews with the players and there were some great meetings, and I can tell you there’s a lot of excitement with our players and that has to do primarily with the man sitting to my left [Saleh], and the job that him and his staff have done this year.”
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Jets Award 10 Faithful Reserves
As the Jets GM set off on discussing a long season of hardships and successes, praising Saleh for the way he maneuvered it, the franchise was finalizing the finishing touches on its first 10 deals of the offseason.
New York Jets Twitter announced the news shortly after the press conference on January 10. The Green & White signed a long list of practice squad players to “reserve/future” contracts.
That group included the following; K Matt Ammendola, WR Tarik Black, WR D.J. Montgomery, TE Brandon Dillon, OT Grant Hermanns, OT/G Isaiah Williams, G Dru Samia, C Ross Pierschbacher, DT Tanzel Smart, and EDGE Hamilcar Rashed Jr.
The names you’ll probably recognize most are Ammendola, Rashed and Williams, who were each called upon as elevations at various points of the year. These 10 players will not count against the Jets’ roster number until March 16.
It’s the first small step in an offseason that will have a distinct course of action in turning this bottomfeeder into a contender, and Douglas and Saleh gave some hints about the different directions the organization could go in the coming months.
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It All Starts With Philosophy
When Douglas hired Saleh, owners Woody and Christopher Johnson praised the duo for being in perfect sync with one another. That type of relationship is crucial when reconstructing a roster together from the ground up.
It takes trust — and having that faith in one another allowed what Douglas described as a “monumental player development task” in 2021 with so many rookies and second-year professionals. Now, many expect the pair to bolster their young core in 2022 and they’ll do that based on a shared philosophy.
“I think the way Joe and I see football is identical,” Saleh stated, “we believe that it starts in the trenches, we believe in the same character, we believe in the type of player, we believe and see things very very similar.”
The Jets HC continued: “His ability to challenge me from a coaching standpoint, my ability to challenge him with regards to being a GM, the conversations that we can have without anyone taking it personally I think is healthy, very very healthy. And I think because of it, there’s a lot of trust between Joe’s staff and the coaching staff, and because of that, I think we can make very sound decisions that are in the best interests of this organization and the team moving forward… I think we’re set up to have a really cool offseason and I’m really really looking forward to not only bringing in new guys but the challenge of developing the guys who are here.”
Douglas would not comment on specific positions that need upgrading but did admit that the Jets “weren’t good enough” in 2021. He added: “We’re always going to value the line of scrimmage here, and so I think we made strides in a lot of areas and got better, but for us to go where we need to go, we’re going to have to be the best in a lot of different positions [and] a lot of different areas.”
Reading between the lines, both Saleh and Douglas went out of their way to mention the offensive and defensive line as a priority. We already knew this was the driving force behind the new Jets philosophy but today’s comments reinforced that Gang Green could look to fill holes at tackle, guard, edge rusher and defensive tackle early in free agency or the draft.
The Jets GM concluded: “I’m not going to sit up here and disparage any player or any position group… we know we have to get better as a team, we know we have to get better as a whole, part of this week is getting in the trenches with Coach [Saleh] and his staff and hashing those things out.”