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Jets Loss Highlights Off-Season’s Biggest Joe Douglas Missteps


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In a game that saw the Jets personal losing streak to the Patriots reach fifteen games, the biggest Joe Douglas off-season blunders were on full display.  Of course it starts with quarterback Zach Wilson who, despite having improved in some aspects of his game, just isn’t good enough right now.  And the Jets have to accept the fact that he may never be.

The fact that Joe Douglas thought it would be a good idea to enter the season with Wilson as his backup quarterback was a colossal mistake.  Especially with a 39-year-old starter in Aaron Rodgers.  The decisions is reminiscent of the team’s similar gaffe in 1999.  It was then that quarterback Vinny Testaverde ruptured his achilles in week 1. Without a viable second option, the Jets had to turn to punter Tom Tupa to play quarterback once Testaverde went down.  Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells, with a Super Bowl ready roster, left himself little choice.  Parcells was forced to go with the likes of Rick Mirer and converted college wide receiver Ray Lucas under center the rest of the way.  The team with Super Bowl aspirations didn’t even make the playoffs.

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And now Douglas, knowing Wilson was benched twice last season and would need tons of work before having any hopes of being a productive signal caller, will have two options.

  1. Sit and watch his team’s post-season hopes come crashing down before the season ever really takes off; or
  2. Trade a premium draft pick to a team who has fallen out of contention for their starter as the trade deadline nears.

Both could have been avoided had Douglas gone out and signed somebody to right the ship in the event of a Rodgers injury.  Just yesterday, the underdog Colts were led to a victory by backup Gardner Minshew.  A veteran with a career completion percentage of 63% who has thrown 45 touchdowns to just 15 interceptions.  That type of play with the Jets could land Minshew in the Ring of Honor.

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Joe Douglas has had some big hits as a Jets GM, but this off-season featured too many flubs.

There were others options as well.  Far from being guaranteed a starting job anywhere when free agency started, Baker Mayfield was on the market along with Andy Dalton.  And when you’re as bad as Zach Wilson has been, there aren’t many (possibly any) quarterbacks you could rule out due to being inferior players.  Douglas could have literally signed just about any free agent quarterback and it would have upgraded his QB2 spot.  Well, except for maybe Tim Boyle, but even that’s up for debate at this point.

Aside from dropping the ball when it came to his quarterback depth chart, Douglas also flubbed the draft.  Now this isn’t to say Joe Douglas didn’t pick good players in the draft, because he did.  He just picked a lot of players that suggested the Jets didn’t need any immediate help in key spots.  His class looks like one that said “we’re good for now, but we might need some help in 2024 and beyond”.

As we sit and watch Jets receivers get blanketed by opposing defensive backs, we’re reminded that Gang Green passed on a receiver who is currently second in the NFL in yards of separation per route in Jaxon Smith-Njigba.  A player we felt was an obvious choice on draft day.  By passing on a guy who would have been an every down contributor for an edge rusher who has been playing anywhere from zero to a dozen snaps through three weeks was a gross error in judgement.  We expect the selection of Will McDonald to pay off in future seasons, but this season was supposed to be about this season.

And finally, handing $7 million guaranteed to Dalvin Cook appears to be another avoidable mistake that not only hinders the offense, but moves a player like Israel Abanikanda to the inactive list, rendering another draft pick useless up to this point.

Joe Douglas has had enough hits to keep him around beyond this season, but the 2024 offseason has to be better than the one that just passed.

 

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I think the point of view was that if Rogers went down to injury, the season is tanked anyway, so might as well spend your cap money on other pieces that complement Rogers as opposed to bringing in another backup qb that eats a roster spot and 10+ mil.  From a cap perspective, they already have a very expensive QB room.

I don’t think their decision was the wrong play tbh, id probably make that call again, but hindsight is a @#$!.

I think the WR room and the coaching situation is partially explained by wanting to lure Rogers here in the first place.  Again, it all looks terrible in hindsight, but I still think you have to go out and get that guy when you have such talent (and we do have a lot of raw talent on this squad).

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7 hours ago, Hael said:

I think the point of view was that if Rogers went down to injury, the season is tanked anyway, so might as well spend your cap money on other pieces that complement Rogers as opposed to bringing in another backup qb that eats a roster spot and 10+ mil.  From a cap perspective, they already have a very expensive QB room.

I don’t think their decision was the wrong play tbh, id probably make that call again, but hindsight is a @#$!.

 

Chiefs decided to sit Mahomes after the game was out of reach. Gabbert had two drives that ended with INTs against a team that was already on the plane home. Third drive they didn't even attempt a pass as they ran out the clock.

Most teams are screwed if they lose their starter. NO went straight in the tank after Carr got hurt.

 

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This felt like a make or break season for Douglas. He must have realized half way through last season that Saleh is a glorified snake oil salesman. Bringing in a Carr or a Jimmy G would move the needle but nowhere near enough. To win in the NFL you either need elite coaching or elite QB play. Saleh and Carr was never going to be enough in a division with McDaniel and Allen. So, in trying to make up for two monumentally bad decisions (Saleh/Wilson), JD pushed all of his chips in the middle of the table for Rodgers.

He effectively ceded GM powers to Rodgers by bringing in Hackett, Cobb, Lazard and Turner. The rash decision to bring in Cook was very un-Douglas like, but it added to the 'all-in' feel that surrounded the Jets at the time. 

Losing Rodgers after 4 minutes was a bad beat, but if you are a well-coached team, it didn't have to be a terminal blow to the hope of winning 10-11 games. Now two weeks later, and the season feels like it's effectively over.

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