I have said it in the past and I’ll say it again. Anyone who thinks this is the “same old New York Jets” franchise after watching this offseason and minicamp, clearly isn’t paying any attention.
After publishing a head coaching hire rank that placed Robert Saleh sixth out of a possible seven NFL hires in 2021, NFL insider Jason La Canfora now sits directly at the top of the list of the unobservant.
The Jets already look like a team that could surprise unsuspecting opponents this season. They bear similarities to the Miami Dolphins after the Brian Flores hire or even the Rex Ryan-led Jets of 2009, with a hungry roster that has an underdog’s chip on its shoulder.
To be fair, La Canfora explains that his coaching hire ranking took into account franchise history and past success or lack thereof, but when the Jets are pitted against organizations like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions that really shouldn’t make much of a difference.
Jets fans immediately took to Twitter to question the baffling list.
La Canfora Obsesses Over Ownership
Jets ownership has not been the most inspiring since Woody Johnson and his brother Christopher took over in the year 2000, but for once it appears that they are going about things the right way.
They hired a three-time Super Bowl champion general manager in Joe Douglas in 2019 and a highly sought-after one-time Super Bowl champion coaching candidate in Saleh that just appeared in another title game with his San Francisco 49ers defense in 2019.
La Canfora must disagree, focused more on Covid vaccination chatter and Woody’s inaugural press conference than he is the product on the field in front of him.
Do you know what I liked about the owner’s recent media question and answer? Woody stated bluntly that he plans to stay out of Douglas and Saleh’s way.
“They’ve got a tremendous amount of leeway,” Woody Johnson told reporters, “I’m totally in sync with these guys. Chris made some unbelievable choices and we’re both lucky to get those gentlemen.”
That doesn’t sound like an owner who plans to mettle in his front office’s affairs, and if we’re being honest, the Johnsons have allowed their general manager and coaching hires to run the show most times, for better or for worse. Just look at how much power they gave Adam Gase!
Douglas has been reconstructing this franchise with his own personal touch, using draft picks and youth instead of frivolous spending.
Saleh on the other hand is changing the culture of this franchise. Since the moment the head coach has entered the scene, the entire vibe surrounding the team — from his staff’s mentality to high attendance rates in OTAs and team-first quotes from players — has been noticeably different.
This was my favorite Saleh quote so far that told me things were on the up and up: “The identity of the team is going to happen organically, and if you try to force-feed an identity just because of what you want it to be as an individual I think sometimes you kind of counteract what you are trying to get done.”
Influx of Talent in Florham Park
The only mentions of players that La Canfora chooses to address are Mekhi Becton and Zach Wilson. He notes Becton’s injury issue in camp and calls the quarterback “awful green” in a pun that might make a suburban Dad cringe.
Most Jets fans have been ecstatic with what they have seen from the BYU rookie in camp, and while they’re much more reserved, the beat reporters have not been too far behind in their praise.
This franchise has also made a litany of high ceiling additions in free agency. That list included Carl Lawson, Corey Davis, Sheldon Rankins, Lamarcus Joyner, Jarrad Davis, Vinny Curry, Tevin Coleman, Tyler Kroft, Keelan Cole and more.
Douglas and the Jets even had one of the top-rated drafts in the NFL according to multiple publications and analysts. From the early returns of players like Elijah Moore, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Michael Carter, those grades seem accurate.
La Canfora chooses to ignore all of this, using determining factors like Twitter gossip and ownership biases to create his coaching ranks instead.
They Lost to Who?
As I mentioned in the introduction, it’s not like the Jets were up against organizations with championship pedigree.
Do you know how many Super Bowls the Lions, Jaguars, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and Atlanta Falcons have won combined? I’ll give you a hint, the answer is less than the Jets and New York only has one.
In fact, the only other franchise to win a championship on this list is the Philadelphia Eagles, who also only have one. By the way, Douglas was a major reason behind that Philly title. The Lions, Jaguars and Texans have never even appeared in the big game.
Yet the Jets winning culture seems to be the only one that concerns La Canfora long-term. Not Jacksonville who just put all their faith in a college head coach, or Philadelphia who he himself writes “needed a reset,” or Atlanta who just traded their star wide receiver Julio Jones, or even Detroit who the insider writes will have “a long climb out of the mess of the former regime.”
If you don’t like the Jets, Jason, just go ahead and say it.