As the downward trend continues in New York Jets land, it becomes easy to point the finger at all parties involved.
Some common complaints we hear are:
- This first-year coaching staff is out of their league.
- The defense is an embarrassment.
- Zach Wilson is a bust.
- The offensive line can’t block.
- The roster is too young and inexperienced.
And the list goes on. For most of these talking points, it’s honestly too early to tell — especially with Wilson, Robert Saleh, and the two coordinators. One major figure has been here a few years now though, general manager Joe Douglas.
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NFL Analysts Call out Douglas
After the Week 10 blowout loss at MetLife Stadium to the division rival Buffalo Bills, the Jets GM started to take some fire too. Fans have been split on Douglas, who embarked on a long-term overhaul after taking over in 2019.
His track record gave him the benefit of the doubt the first couple of years but after a two-win season in 2020 and a 2-7 start in 2021, patience is wearing thin. ESPN talk show anchor and Jets fan Mike Greenberg spoke on behalf of the unhappy half of the fanbase on November 14.
He tweeted: “This is the third season of Joe Douglas with the New York #Jets. They have gotten worse every year. Their roster is bottom five in the sport – and that is being kind. The plan for this season made absolutely no sense. This team has a lot of problems – they start at the top.”
Joe Caporoso and Connor Rogers of the “Badlands” podcast piled on. “Cut it any way you want, Joe Douglas is 4-21 in his last 25 games as a GM and 0-9 in the AFC East,” Caporoso tweeted.
Rogers followed his partner in criticizing the Jets boss, writing: “Jarrad Davis being a 1st hour of free agency signing for Joe Douglas is one of the strangest offseason things I’ve seen in a while. I mean…there was years of (bad) tape.”
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Where Do We Stand on Joe?
I’ve been more of a Douglas supporter, although I have not agreed with all of his decisions. Having said that, the NFL analysts above make some solid points and it’s hard to disagree that this product has become pathetic.
The old moniker comes to mind, “sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.”
Douglas knew this roster would take a full rebuild after Mike Maccagnan torpedoed it with years of atrocious drafting, that’s why he forced the Johnsons to give him a long-term deal.
Grading his tenure as GM so far, his drafts have been better than what we’re used to. As Jets fans, I understand that’s a very low bar but it is important to note that his scouting team does seem to know what it’s doing. Draft picks/UDFAs that appear to be hits so far:
- Mekhi Becton, 2020 first (unclear).
- Bryce Hall, 2020 fifth.
- Braden Mann, 2020 sixth.
- Bryce Huff and Javelin Guidry, 2020 UDFAs.
- Wilson, 2021 first (unclear).
- Alijah Vera-Tucker, 2021 first.
- Elijah Moore, 2021 second.
- Michael Carter, 2021 fourth.
- Michael Carter II, 2021 fifth.
- Brandin Echols, 2021 sixth.
Taking into account some players that could still develop, like Denzel Mims or Jamien Sherwood among others, his track record in drafts has been better than the average GM. Keep in mind that in 2020, Douglas had less control with Adam Gase’s tentacles wrapped around the franchise.
This was also a very tough year to be a first-year GM because of the pandemic. There was no NFL combine and there were no in-person workouts, meaning Douglas had to make all his decisions off film. It’s an excuse, for sure, but a valid one. Based on his 2021 draft with Saleh, I’d trust their ability in this regard moving forward.
Douglas has also been a wizard when it comes to trades — outside of the recent Joe Flacco deal. He always seems to get well-above market value and he’s proven to be a tough negotiator when it counts. The hope is that these sell-offs eventually pay off through the draft.
The area the Jets GM has struggled immensely has been in free agency. Whether that’s been misjudging the market and low-balling players or going with bargain-moves rather than sure-things, Douglas’ free-agent resume has been downright brutal.
Focusing on 2021, here’s how his list of signings has turned out:
- Carl Lawson: Torn Achilles, out for the season, never played a snap.
- Corey Davis: Missed two games, 442 yards and four touchdowns in seven games.
- Sheldon Rankins: Has played in every game but the defensive line has struggled.
- Justin Hardee: Solid special teamer and team leader.
- Keelan Cole: Nice depth weapon on offense.
- Jarrad Davis: Missed first seven weeks, Jets 1-2 with two blowout losses since returning.
- Morgan Moses: Has served as an adequate replacement at right tackle.
- Dan Feeney: O-line depth that was poor during the preseason.
- Lamarcus Joyner: Torn triceps, out for the season, appeared in one game.
- B.J. Goodson: Retired after signing.
- Tyler Kroft: Has dealt with injuries on and off all season, currently on the injured reserve.
- Vinny Curry: Medical condition, out for the season, never played a snap.
- Tevin Coleman: Outplayed by younger running backs.
- Josh Johnson: Practice squad QB.
- Sharrod Neasman: Decent value pickup that is now starting at safety.
- Ronald Blair: Injured throughout camp, practice squad since, appeared in his first game in Week 10.
For a young roster that desperately needed to hit on their veteran additions, the Jets failed in this area. Couple that with a sub-par offensive line that Douglas built himself and a defense that looks lost and this becomes the clear black spot in his GM portfolio.
The record speaks for itself, but we always knew this overhaul would be a process. We want to hear from fans, where do you stand on Joe Douglas after Week 10?