When Joe Douglas was hired as the GM of the much-maligned New York Jets, he was given the single most difficult task asked of any New York professional sports general manager- turn an NFL laughingstock franchise into legitimate championship contender. A very daunting task- for any GM who has dared to step into the role since its last playoff appearance in 2010; A year in which the Jets were going into their second AFC Championship Game under former head coach Rex Ryan and then, GM Mike Tannenbaum. Since then, the Jets have been an absolute dumpster fire of a franchise. The litany of reasons that could be given for those failures could be an episode of ESPN’s 30 for 30 all by itself! But the time has finally come for a new era of Jets football to emerge from the wreckage of multiple failed experiments from a GM inheriting a head coach that he may not want to both the GM and the HC reporting to the owner on equal footing, with no clear line drawn as to whose responsibility was what within the power hierarchy. The very public firing of Adam Gase and the subsequent press conferences that followed in which interim owner Christopher Johnson finally admitted failure and vowed change would come took Jets fans by surprise, and dare I say it, gave us a small sliver of hope!
Hope! What is that?! What is this ‘hope’ that people speak of?! Is it the hope that the Johnson family will let his football people do football work instead of defaulting to the words of head-hunting firms that have zero skin in the game?! That Joe Douglas will get to do the job that he was hired for?! Well, it sure does look like it the way Douglas is conducting his head coaching search.
Sure, Jets fans (myself included) got excited when news came down of the list of candidates that the Jets had already interviewed. Names that included Chiefs OC Eric Bienemy, 49ers DC Robert Salah, Bills OC Brian Daboll, and Titans OC Arthur Smith. The Jets have had second interviews with Salah and Smith so far and as the days pass, you can bet that they will have more interviews lined up still. Joe Douglas has already set a precedent in his short time as Jets GM- he is not interested in the “sexy” hire. This fact alone should have Jets fans optimistic! Why you may ask? Because past Jets GM’s have always caved to the wants and desires of the Johnsons- who have always sought to dominate the New York sports headlines for all the wrong reasons! Joe Douglas wants a “CEO” type of head coach; a leader of men and someone who commands the respect of his players in the locker room. This type of head coach is someone that Jets fans should also want- a coach who will hold his players accountable, his staff accountable, and himself accountable. And if the Jets intend to find this coach, they must search, they must interview, they must kick over every single stone they find to procure that coveted treasure.
My advice to Jets fans all over the world is based on one word- patience. Be patient with Joe Douglas. Be patient with his process. Trust in the process. And let us finally leave the Same Old Jets moniker behind once and for all.