Editorial | A small win for Jets: At least GM Joe Douglas says the right things

Joe Douglas Jets
Jets general manager Joe Douglas.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Most everything the Jets touch grows gangrenous. This has been overwhelmingly obvious for ions. Not just for the ill-fated, cataclysmically bad, embarrassingly inept 1.5-year reign of head coach Adam Gase — which is just the latest whiff by owner Christopher Johnson.

But at least they have a general manager who is willing to stick his neck out to the lions within a leadership group that hides like meerkats within the Savannah.

Joe Douglas addressed the media on Tuesday after a rather uneventful ending to the trade deadline to give a pseudo-state-of-the-union address on a team that is the worst in football at 0-8 — and one of the more maladroit squads in recent NFL history.

There, he did what Gase or Johnson couldn’t — he placed blame on his own shoulders.

“My message for the fans: We’re all frustrated with where we are right now, but everyone in this building has to own it,” Douglas said. “This record, it belongs to all of us, and it’s incumbent on each of us to figure out how he can improve it. I certainly take my fair share of the responsibility.”

The second-year GM provided a refreshing change of pace compared to the team’s head coach, who so often deflects blame on his players for not properly executing his predictable and amateurish gameplan.

After so famously being labeled “a brilliant offensive mind,” by Johnson back in September, Gase’s attack has been a disaster. They’re the only team in the NFL that hasn’t scored 100 points this season and they haven’t put up more than 10 in each of their last four games.

It’s a clear indictment on Gase that he lacks the necessary football mind to squeeze anything out of this team, but it also confirms what was already known: The Jets just don’t have enough talent.

Their offense lacks any sort of legitimate playmaker, which has continued to stymie the professional development of quarterback Sam Darnold.

That falls on Douglas, who stood up and was accounted for.

“This is not all on Adam,” Douglas said. “Again, I have to do a better job of surrounding him with better players, better weapons. We’re in this together. I’m going through and thinking of everything I can do to try to help Adam. And the goal is to get this fixed together.”

Good luck with that, Joe. Gase resembles a petulant child more than a professional head coach that can make the necessary adjustments to salvage even a portion of this season.

Gase has only stymied the professional development of franchise quarterback Sam Darnold, who has been left to struggle in a talent-less offense under a head coach that can’t find any momentum for this misfiring unit.

It’s left many to dream about replacing Darnold with Clemson standout Trevor Lawrence — the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft.

Of course, the Jets would have to secure the worst record in the NFL to get there. But it doesn’t seem to hard at this point as they stare down the barrel of an 0-16 season. Still, it would be an unceremonious ending to Darnold’s career with the Jets, especially because he was never given the proper resources to succeed.

Douglas, however, is at least creating the illusion that the brakes should be pumped on packing Darnold’s bags. And once again, he took the blame for overarching organizational miscues.

“My thoughts on Sam are the same now as they were [before the season]. Sam is an ultra-talented quarterback,” Douglas said. “I really can’t say enough about his grit and his toughness. Ultimately, I’ve got to do a better job of putting talent around Sam, and we have to develop some sort of continuity in the offense going forward. The silver lining is that we have eight games left and we have guys coming back healthy.”

“I certainly haven’t done a good enough job of surrounding Sam with the weapons he needed, last year or this year. So I’m looking at what I can do better moving forward, in terms of making sure that we have the right skill and the right protection for him.”

Those sentiments are all fine and dandy, but if the Jets have a chance to draft what many believe to be the best quarterback prospect of the last 20 years, it might be too good of an opportunity to pass up.

At least someone within the organization knows how to say the right things. That’s as close to a win as this team has experienced all year.