Christopher Johnson addresses head-coaching search, Jets’ future post-Adam Gase

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Gary Phillips
·5 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Less than 24 hours after firing Adam Gase, Jets CEO Christopher Johnson shared his thoughts on the team’s now-underway head-coaching search and Gang Green’s future.

Johnson discussed what he’s looking for in his next head coach, Joe Douglas’ role in the search, why Gase stayed on so long, and the uncertainty surrounding Sam Darnold and Woody Johnson, among other topics.

The Jets have a lot of questions to answer this offseason, but Johnson sounds confident in the direction his franchise is heading.

Looking for a Leader

Johnson said the Jets are not going to prioritize an offensive or defensive mind, but rather a coach who can provide leadership and player development, according to The Athletic's Connor Hughes. The Jets hired Gase largely because of his offensive background and his perceived ability to develop Darnold. That never worked out, however, and Gase mostly focused on the offense while leaving the defense to Gregg Williams and special teams to Brant Boyer. Now Johnson wants more of a CEO type. Johnson did not put a timetable on the search.

Douglas Running Point

While Johnson will certainly be involved in the head-coaching search and will have to sign-off on a hire, Joe Douglas is leading the charge. "His opinion will be taken most seriously," Johnson said, per ESPN's Rich Cimini. "Fans can be safe knowing we will get this right." The Jets don't have a great recent history when it comes to making hires, with the Johnson family at times outsourcing the search process and trusting the wrong opinions. That Douglas' words will carry the most weight is a good sign for the Jets, and Johnson sounded more than confident that the Jets have the right man for the job.

Change in Power Structure

The Jets might change their flawed power structure. Typically, Gang Green's head coach and general manager have both reported to the owner, rather than the coach reporting to the GM and the GM reporting to the owner. Johnson said a change to the latter structure is "under consideration," per ESPN. He might want to do more than just consider the shakeup.

Woody's Uncertain Return

It's unclear when exactly Woody Johnson, Christopher's brother and team owner, will return to the Jets as he nears the end of his term as outgoing President Donald Trump's Ambassador to the United Kingdom. However, the plan is for the older Johnson to have a big role when he does return, per the New York Post's Brian Costello. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier Monday that Woody Johnson is not expected to sit in on head-coaching interviews.

Darnold's Future

Like the quarterback, Johnson hopes Darnold's future is in New York, but that decision will be left to Douglas and the new head coach, per NorthJersey.com's Andy Vasquez. "I don't think the book has been written on Sam," Johnson said. "I think he has a big future. And I personally hope it's on this team, I told him that." Darnold said earlier Monday that he wants to remain with Gang Green after three unsteady seasons. “I said it once I got here: I want to be a Jet for life,” Darnold said. “I want to turn this thing around. I know we can. I definitely want to stay here, hopefully for the rest of my career.”

Bullish on Assets

Johnson views the Jets job as an enticing one thanks to Douglas, an abundance of cap space and a bevy of draft picks. He called New York a "really good landing spot for a coach," per ESPN. We'll see if the top candidates agree. The Falcons, Chargers, Lions, Texans and Jaguars are the other current openings. The Chargers, with Justin Herbert, and Jaguars, with the ability to draft Trevor Lawrence, are perceived as the best openings thanks to young, talented quarterbacks. The Jaguars also have a ton of cap space and draft picks, while the Chargers have stars on both sides of the ball. It looked like Lawrence would end up with the Jets for a while, but two wins late in the season cost Gang Green the No. 1 pick and the rights to the Clemson QB. Fans were upset about those victories, but Johnson wants to "win every damn game," per ESPN.

Why Wasn't Gase Fired Sooner?

Rumors surrounding Gase's job status began swirling early on in the 2020 season, but the head coach survived the entire campaign. The Jets ultimately went 2-14. Why not fire Gase sooner? Johnson didn't think it would make a difference and felt that players were still playing hard for Gase, per the New York Post. Had the Jets fired Gase mid-season, Gregg Williams was a logical interim replacement with few other experienced options in-house. The defensive coordinator was fired after a game-blowing play call in Week 13.

'Sick of Losing'

Like a lot of Jets personnel in a lot of years, Johnson has had it with all the losing. "I am sick of losing. I am so tired of this," he said, per NorthJersey.com. "As are the players and the fans." Johnson kept it positive, though, referring to Douglas as "the GM we have been searching for, for years." Johnson added that, once the Jets find the right head coach, he believes "we can be a team that no one wants to see on their schedule." Similar sentiments have been expressed before in Jets history.