As they do every Monday, our writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller are back to debate the hot topics in Jets land, and this week will focus on the coaching staff and quarterback room, as well as questions for Joe Douglas and one final look back at the 2022 season.
Most recent mailbags:
- Week 74: Jets 2023 QB1 (Dreams vs Reality), first ‘fire’ & priority free agents.
- Week 75: FAs destined to depart, success or failure this year & 2022 regrets.
Black Monday in Jets Land for Robert Saleh, Mike LaFleur?
1. Based on everything you’ve heard (not what you want or think should happen), will Robert Saleh be the Jets head coach in 2023?
Yes. I heard from a variety of outlets that he is expected to be safe. I also did some digging on my own into a few different pools and got back the same response.
You do always get the — ‘well, Woody Johnson can do anything he wants’ response here or there — but yes, Saleh’s back.
The end-of-season collapse was inexcusable, and someone is going to have to pay for that but it shouldn’t be Robert Saleh. The defense made a remarkable turnaround and is the reason the team was in the position they were. Saleh’s main issue has been his choice for members of his offensive staff — he better fix it or else.
I tend to agree that Saleh will get one more year based on everything I’ve heard and for the record, I think that’s the smart decision.
You’d only fire Saleh for a legendary NFL figure like Sean Payton or Jim Harbaugh and that means Joe Douglas and everyone else is getting fired too — guys like that will demand their own staff at every level of the organization.
I don’t think the Jets want to tear it all down, nor should they when they were a decent quarterback and offensive line (or coordinator) away from making the playoffs in 2022. It’s a tough pill to swallow for Woody Johnson and ownership, but one more year under Douglas and Saleh makes the most sense for this franchise.
2. Based on everything you’ve heard (not what you want or think should happen), will Mike LaFleur be the Jets offensive coordinator in 2023?
No, I fully expect him to be fired. Mike LaFleur got this job because of his last name and who he has worked around. People like that need to overcompensate and he has under-delivered.
In the final three games of the season the Jets didn’t score a single touchdown in what amounted to be playoff football. That is pathetic and it’s time for the Jets to get an adult in the room, not some kid that has no idea what the hell he is doing. So long pal.
This is a hard one. If it were up to me, I would fire LaFleur, but it’s not up to me.
A week ago, I would have guaranteed that Saleh would bang the table for LaFleur to return but after watching both speak the past several days, I’m not so sure anymore. The Jets OC addressed the media on January 5, and he just looked and sounded like a dead man walking.
Then after another pitiful offensive performance against the Miami Dolphins, Saleh sort of dodged the question on whether or not LaFleur would be back. It was the first time the Jets HC didn’t give his play-caller a vote of confidence and that’s definitely concerning for “MLF.”
Today on Black Monday, I think there is a long discussion between the Johnsons, Saleh and Douglas, but I think Saleh’s stance has changed a bit. He’ll probably still push for LaFleur, but I don’t know if he’ll be willing to give ownership an ultimatum anymore — the old: “you’ll have to fire us both.”
That could be out the window and if that’s the case, so is LaFleur.
Jets’ Big Questions Heading Into 2023 Offseason
3. Which quarterback is more likely to be on the Jets’ roster next year, Zach Wilson or Mike White (or both)?
I’ll take the easy way out and say the guy who is currently under contract is more likely to be on the roster next season (Wilson). There is an outside shot that White re-signs on a super cheap deal as a clipboard holder but that’ll be based on who the Jets pursue as their QB1.
Outside of the Jets receiving an offer they can’t refuse, the team isn’t going to sell off Zach Wilson for pennies. He will be QB2 or QB3 developing behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.
Wilson will return as a backup, White will sign with another roster. It’s rare that Paul and I have been in complete agreement on everything but perhaps today is the day!
I still believe that White showed just enough promise to get a somewhat steep offer from some rebuilding franchise in the $8-10 million per year range. The Jets could match that in theory, but then you’re likely out on bringing in a veteran QB.
Douglas can’t afford to hitch his wagon to White and Wilson as his two signal-callers once again and Wilson would be a real challenge to get rid of right now — while actually getting something worthwhile back in return. For those reasons, Wilson is more likely to return.
4. If you could only ask one, what question would you ask general manager Joe Douglas at the end-of-year press conference and why?
Oh, that’s a good one. After failing with Zach Wilson, why should you be entrusted to guide the Jets into the next era in 2023?
You have a 20-46 overall record and are heading into year No. 5 without having once made the playoffs. It is a blunt and hard question, but that’s what Douglas gets paid to answer.
I like a lot of what Douglas has been able to do especially the 2022 NFL draft, but how long do Jets fans have to wait for this rebuilding plan? Everyone expected the New York Giants to suck this year and they made the playoffs in the first season at the helm of a new regime. Enough is enough pal!
The only thing that matters, how do you plan to reconstruct this offense in 2023?
I mean, you may have to word it more eloquently than that, but I want to know what our GM plans to do to revive this unit. What’s his big chess move?
An overhaul of the coaching staff? Going all-in on a veteran quarterback like Derek Carr or someone else? Investing heavily in the offensive line? What’s the plan — you have to give the fans something to believe in.
Summing up Jets’ 2022 Season in One Word
5. If you could use one word to describe the Jets’ 2022 campaign, what would it be?
There were a lot of low moments in this season that punched you in the gut from key injuries to big losses, but the biggest heartbreak of them all was being teased about ending the team’s 11-year playoff drought just to watch it slip through our fingers during a six-game losing streak to end the season.
An absolutely brutal finish that makes you question everything. How did this collapse happen? Was it simply the wheels falling off after a certain amount of time or something deeper?
While there were plenty of building blocks added in 2022 — Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, Jermaine Johnson, Micheal Clemons, Tyler Conklin, D.J. Reed — there were also some major misfires that Douglas must rectify this winter and spring.
Is the quarterback of the future on this roster and if not, what can you do to change that? Is LaFleur the coach you want leading this offense in 2023? Is Saleh the man for the CEO role at One Jets Drive?
This season was supposed to eliminate questions and in turn, it added so many. At the end of the day, 2022 was a setback and if the Jets aren’t careful how they handle it, they could end up blowing it all up again in 2024.