Joe Douglas talks Jets coaching search, firing Gase, Darnold’s future

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Spencer Aber
·5 min read
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Joe Douglas had a chance to share his outlook on the Jets’ future on Tuesday as he gets set to embark on his first head-coaching hire.

Douglas talked about how difficult it was for the Jets to fire Adam Gase, the traits he wants in a new head coach, Sam Darnold’s future and some other offseason goals.

The Jets’ general manager was disappointed in the team’s performance this season, but Douglas is excited for what the future holds heading into the offseason.

Firing Gase Wasn't Easy

Douglas and Gase have known each other for a long time, dating back to their days in Chicago together, so firing the head coach was no easy move. "I wanted nothing more than for us to succeed here together," Douglas said, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. "This was hard for me." Gase's connection to Douglas immediately made the latter a prime candidate for the Jets once they fired former GM Mike Maccagnan. Now, Gase will not get the chance to coach the team that Douglas hopes to build and improve upon in the near future.

The Search

While Christopher Johnson has to sign off on a hire, Douglas will be the man in charge of the Jets' head-coaching search. He wants to have a "partnership" with whomever that is, per team reporter Eric Allen. Douglas said that the Jets are casting a "wide net" in order to find the right guy, per The Athletic's Connor Hughes. He didn't say how many candidates they'll interview, but having prior NFL coaching experience is not a requirement. The Jets have plans to interview six different candidates so far. Douglas wants someone who is a strong leader, has a clear vision for the team's future, integrity and is a good communicator, per NorthJersey.com's Andy Vasquez.

Taking Responsibility

Last offseason was Douglas' first full one with the Jets, and he felt he didn't do his part in putting a respectable product on the field. "I certainly could have done a better job putting this roster together," Douglas said, per The Athletic's Connor Hughes. Of the bad decisions that Douglas made last offseason, letting Robby Anderson walk in free agency was the biggest one. Anderson put together his first 1,000-yard season in Carolina after being the Jets' No. 1 receiver for four years. Douglas acknowledged that he misjudged Anderson's market and shouldn't have let him sign elsewhere. Douglas added that there will be a "big difference" in the way he handles this upcoming offseason so that he doesn't make similar mistakes, per Hughes.

Darnold's Future

Douglas was noncommittal on Darnold's future with the Jets, but he's still confident that quarterback will make something of himself in the NFL. "We’ve got a lot of decisions to make," Douglas said, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. "I think that Sam’s going to be a great quarterback. I think Sam has a very bright future in this league. I’m excited about Sam." Darnold had a rough third season. He only completed 59.6 percent of his passes to go along with 2,208 passing yards, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. However, when Douglas was asked if Darnold regressed this year, he said there were a bunch of external factors that impacted the 23-year-old's performance. "I think Sam faced a lot of obstacles this year, as did everybody," Douglas said, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. "Frankly we had quite a few injuries on the offensive line, at wide receiver. It was hard for our offense to build the chemistry to sustain success." It doesn't make much sense for Douglas to badmouth Darnold or make a decision on his future right now. If the Jets move on in the draft, they're going to want to trade him. Doing either of those things would hurt his value.

Happy to Avoid 0-16

Douglas was not in the business of tanking. "There’s no one in this organization that wanted to go 0-16 and have that Scarlet Letter on their resume for the rest of their careers," Douglas said, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. The Jets were able to avoid that by putting together back-to-back wins over the Rams and Browns, two playoff teams, at the end of the season. It came at the cost of losing out on Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence.

Re-sign Marcus Maye

As Douglas said before, the Jets have a lot of decisions to make this offseason. Marcus Maye is one of them. Maye is set to become a free agent and Douglas said it's a "priority" to re-sign him, per Hughes. The Jets' safety said at the end of the season that he loves it in New York, but he also acknowledged that the decision isn't his. Maye was one of the Jets' top defensive players this year with 88 total tackles, 11 pass defenses, two interceptions, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Doesn't Regret Adams Trade

The Jets traded Jamal Adams to the Seahawks five months ago. Douglas still thinks it was the right decision. "We didn’t look in the rearview mirror once we made our decision with Jamal," Douglas said, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. Adams was a Pro Bowler for the third consecutive season, recording 81 total tackles, 9.5 sacks and three pass defenses in 12 games. The former Jets safety is heading to the playoffs for the first time in his career. Douglas added that he's happy that Adams will be able to compete on the NFL's biggest stage.

No Mosley Contact

C.J. Mosley opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19. Douglas said he hasn't spoken to him since the season ended but plans to, per Hughes. Mosley has only played in two games for the Jets in two years after signing a five-year deal worth $85 million before the 2019 season.