So, what exactly should Joe Douglas’ be at fault for amid this dysfunction?
Joe Douglas Needs To Take More Blame for Jets’ Dysfunction
Handling Of Injuries
Injuries are an occurrence in any sport. In the NFL in 2020, injuries occurred more than ever due to a lack of preseason, training camp, and minicamp.
Anyway, it’s laughable how the New York Jets handle injuries. Let’s start with who the Jets have mismanaged with injuries.
Even though he is no longer on the team, this is the first example of injury mismanagement by the Jets. This started in the season opener versus the Buffalo Bills.
Bell appeared to injure his hamstring running a wheel route in the first half. Footage showed he might’ve sustained the hamstring injury from the turf. Hamstring injuries are one of the toughest to battle through. Anyway, the Jets pulled him out of the game to tend to his injury.
As a matter of fact, team management collaborated with the doctors on a questionable decision. They decided to place Le’Veon Bell back in the game. Bell reinjured his hamstring and then was ruled doubtful for the remainder of the game.
As a result of this mishandling, Bell was placed on injured reserve after the game and didn’t return till Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Without a doubt, Mekhi Becton is arguably the best player the New York Jets have. Mishandling the rookie would be a travesty. But the incompetence of the Jets organization allowed themselves to mishandle a shoulder injury to the big man.
Following Week 3, the Jets were scheduled to play the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football on a short week. Mekhi Becton did not practice all week and wasn’t even considered ready to play. Chuma Edoga was slated to start in Becton’s spot at left tackle.
Under those circumstances, the Jets actually listed Becton as the “emergency” tackle. Edoga did start but after a few snaps, left the game with an injury. With a healthy Conor McDermott on the bench, the Jets took the ignorant risk of putting Mekhi Becton in the game. A few snaps later, Becton left the game as he reinjured his shoulder. Not only did he not return to the game, but he also missed the next few weeks.
Realistically, it would’ve made sense for the Jets to make Becton inactive for the Thursday night contest. Joe Douglas and team management are lucky enough that their big left tackle is back to full health and strength.
Expected to be a landmark addition to a solid Jets defense, C.J. Mosley has barely seen the field as a member of the New York Jets. One reason is Mosley opted out of the 2020 NFL season was due to health concerns. Another reason is a nagging groin injury added with injury mismanagement by the Jets.
In 2019’s opener against the Buffalo Bills, C.J. Mosley became the anchor of the Jets defense. The defensive performance by the Jets was considered elite, thanks to great play by Mosley. He was flying all over the field and even returned an interception for a touchdown. The Jets were up at halftime.
Everything went downhill when C.J. Mosley injured his groin after breaking up a pass in the end zone. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game and would miss significant time.
The Jets felt Mosley was healthy enough to return Week 7 versus the New England Patriots. Besides New York getting embarrassed on national television, Mosley didn’t look the same as he was in the first half of Week 1. As a result, C.J. Mosley received surgery to repair his groin. He hasn’t played a game since.
Team management along with Joe Douglas and Adam Gase messed this one up big time.
In Week 4’s Thursday Night contest versus the Denver Broncos, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold sustained a shoulder injury after he was viciously thrown to the ground by linebacker A.J. Johnson. As a matter of fact, Darnold was thrown on his shoulder injury. Ridiculously enough, there was no penalty on Johnson.
Regardless, Darnold exited the game. The Jets egregiously put him back into the game after a short time. The Jets wound up losing the game. More importantly, their lead signal-caller would be out for the next two games. Head coach Adam Gase even said that team management asked the quarterback if he wanted to play. He obviously said yes and was placed back into the game. That’s not how injuries should be handled. Some saw playing an injured Sam Darnold as a way for Gase to save his job.
Then after playing Weeks 7 and 8, Darnold missed another two games after reaggravating his shoulder.
Look at this from Joe Douglas’ perspective. Not only are you demoralizing Sam Darnold, but you are also crippling his trade value if you wish to move on from him.
Not Surrounding Sam Darnold With Enough Talent
This could easily be blamed on both predecessor Mike Maccagnan and current general manager Joe Douglas. Sam Darnold’s demise can be partially attributed to the lack of skill positions around him. Also, add in the terrible offensive lines he’s played behind. Finally, add in hiring an incompetent head coach in Adam Gase and you have a recipe for disaster.
In his rookie season, Darnold had Todd Bowles as his head coach and Jeremy Bates as his offensive coordinator. Even though Bates’ offense is very vanilla, people began to see flashes of greatness from Sam Darnold towards the end of 2018. He was also hit a lot because he played behind a gruesome offensive line. That season, he was surrounded by receivers like Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, and Jermaine Kearse. Let’s also mention that these receivers did miss time due to injuries. Due to bad drafting, the Jets had to look at the practice squad and free agency for temporary solutions.
After Sam Darnold’s rookie year, the New York Jets fired Todd Bowles and most of his staff. After an endorsement phone call from Peyton Manning, New York hired former Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. Not only did Gase have run-ins with players in Miami, but his offenses were always ranked at the bottom of the NFL. Not a good trait to have if you’re coming in to develop a quarterback.
Mike Maccagnan didn’t add to the offensive line in free agency. Although, he did sign star running back Le’Veon Bell and reliable slot receiver Jamison Crowder. Crowder became Sam Darnold’s favorite target while Bell wasn’t utilized properly by Adam Gase. Sam Darnold’s sophomore season was very similar to his rookie season. The offensive line was the worst in the NFL but the receiving core was a little bit better.
Unlike his predecessor, general manager Joe Douglas did not spend big free agency. Although he did add to the offensive side of the ball. Douglas signed players like George Fant, Connor McGovern, and Greg Van Roten to solidify the offensive line. Left guard Alex Lewis was also re-signed. Former first-round wide receiver Breshad Perriman signed with the Jets. Although Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson started to form chemistry late in 2019, the undrafted receiver was not retained by the Jets.
In the draft, the Jets selected Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton at 11th overall. So far, Becton looks like the next D’Brickashaw Ferguson. In the second round, the Jets selected Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims at 59th overall. Although he missed the first six games, Mims has become one of Darnold’s favorite targets. Instead of adding another receiver in the fourth round, the Jets went with a developmental quarterback in FIU’s James Morgan. No, he isn’t Darnold’s replacement.
So what came out of these additions to the offense? Outside of Becton, the offensive line is mediocre at best. As stated before, all the new additions to the line were courtesy of Joe Douglas. Douglas also failed by not surrounding Sam Darnold with the proper skill players. Breshad Perriman has been inconsistent and has not played to number one wide receiver status. Perriman has also missed time due to injury. Douglas also didn’t bother drafting a second wide receiver in the draft, which could’ve helped the Jets early on.
But, he did take responsibility for not surrounding Sam Darnold with weapons.
Joe Douglas’ Lack Of Criticism Towards Adam Gase
Some analysts and fans justify this. I don’t and will mention why.
Yes, both Joe Douglas and Adam Gase report to owner Christopher Johnson. Douglas also said that Gase is apart of the future in his mid-week press conference. But, you’re telling me Douglas couldn’t be a little bit critical of Gase’s performance as head coach?
The usual defense against this is Douglas can’t say anything alarming about Gase. Honestly, Joe Douglas could’ve been a little bit critical. Gase has done a terrible job as Jets head coach. It’s time for the general manager to hold the head coach and those below him accountable.
Douglas also talked about what great practices the Jets have. Practice means nothing if you can’t perform in the game. Someone with the resume of Joe Douglas should know that.
There is one question that remains: Has Joe Douglas complained to Christopher Johnson about Adam Gase behind closed doors? No one truly knows.
Joe Douglas has a plan. But, every other failed Jets general manager had a plan too. He is building the future and desires to build through the draft. Not everything is Douglas’ fault as he faced dysfunction early on as Jets’ general manager. But, Douglas needs to clean up the stench of the Jets organization and make them relevant again.