Analyst Calls Out Jets GM Joe Douglas for ‘Serious Issues’ in Key Area

Joe Douglas

Getty New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas in 2021.

The New York Jets’ playoff hopes are on life support and one more loss — or a couple of New England Patriots wins — will seal their fate in 2022.

You might be asking yourself: How did the Jets get here after a 5-2 start? Some blame Zach Wilson and his regression after a 4-0 record before Week 8. Some blame the coaching staff and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. Others just blame overall lack of execution and mistakes.

Ironically though, few have sent their flaming arrows in the direction of Joe Douglas, despite the impact of the general manager role to any NFL roster. On December 27, one polarizing NYJ analyst did take aim at Douglas and his criticism was well-supported by facts.

Polarizing Analyst Takes Aim at Jets GM Joe Douglas

You might have heard of Sports Illustrated Jets columnist Daniel Kelly before. The former scout has made a writing career out of hot takes and flashy headlines but this time, he did have a ton of evidence to back his claim.

“Joe Douglas has failed to build [the] Jets’ offensive line,” Kelly stated boldly during a recent article, adding that Gang Green has some “serious issues” to sort out on the O-line this offseason.

“Since taking over, Jets’ General Manager Joe Douglas has built one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL,” he began. “During this time frame (2019-current), New York has surrendered 186 sacks, which represents the third-most in the league.”

He’s not wrong, considering the miserable state of the blocking unit and the fact that eight out of 13 offensive linemen currently under contract are free agents in 2023. The only ones who are guaranteed to return next year are Alijah Vera-Tucker, Mekhi Becton and Max Mitchell — and each are recovering from ailments.

Veterans Laken Tomlinson and Duane Brown are also under contract in 2023, but both have already been suggested as potential cap casualties this spring.

Joe Douglas’ O-Line Failures: Bad Luck or Decision-Making?

After making these accusations, Kelly did support his opinion throughout the piece.

“Some would argue Douglas was stuck with the offensive line he inherited, but that argument doesn’t hold weight when examining his first three drafts,” Kelly continued. “On one of the most important units on the team, Douglas has drafted four offensive linemen in three years.”

Kelly noted some poor drafting luck, like the career-ending injury to Cameron Clark — but the reserve guard was more of a developmental prospect anyway. Vera-Tucker and Mitchell have also dealt with injuries and medical conditions, sidelining them for the remainder of the 2022 campaign, and Becton has been a total disaster of a first-round selection.

The Sports Illustrated contributor agreed, voicing: “Becton is the real sore spot on the list. Despite there being pre-draft public intel on Becton having documented weight issues at Louisville, Douglas punched it at the yellow light. Becton has since been running out of gas battling both weight and injury issues. He started 14 games for New York in 2020, and one game since.”

Kelly further explained that the free-agent signings have been worse, highlighting George Fant and Connor McGovern as the two most successful additions so far — I’d throw Morgan Moses in there too on a one-year deal. Most fans would probably agree that both have been average at best, with stretches of competency in 2021.

The rest — Greg Van Roten, Tomlinson, Brown, Dan Feeney, Alex Lewis, Josh Andrews, Cedric Ogbuehi, etc. — have been more bad than good. One decent find was waiver claim Nate Herbig in 2022, although he’s been exposed a bit recently with 10 pressures allowed in his last two starts according to Pro Football Focus.

“They’ve been better at cashing checks than blocking defenders,” Kelly joked about most of Douglas’ OL signings since taking over the organization.

He wrapped up his overall point by voicing the following: “Douglas is in danger of being 4-for-4 in the department of producing losing seasons, and to say the Jets’ offensive line could end up getting Douglas fired at the end of 2023 is the understatement of the year. It is worth noting, New York has had two first-round quarterbacks fizzle out during Douglas’ watch (Sam Darnold and Zach Wilson). The theme of the 2023 NFL Draft for Douglas will need to be the offensive line.”

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Jay Lund
Jay Lund
8 months ago

I’d love to see “talent scout” Daniel Kelly’s big board in April 2021. and then his scathing analysis of the Jets’ draft April 2021. So many people with 20/20 hindsight. He’s not an actual scout for a reason.