The New York Jets are one of the more perplexing teams in the NFL. Despite having a number-one draft pick, they have not been able to find success since 2008 when Tom Brady was drafted by then-Boston College Eagles quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The team has now hired head coach Adam Gase who will be charged with setting up Wilson for future success as he looks to replace Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez at quarterback this season.
The New York Jets are in the midst of a rebuild, but they’ve still got some tough questions to answer. One of them is how they can maximize their new quarterback’s success with what looks like an incredibly short-sighted offense.
The “zach wilson comp” is a play that the New York Jets ran in their game against the Buffalo Bills. The play was designed to set up Zach Wilson for success, but it didn’t work out so well.
The New York Jets still have no clue what they’re doing, after making significant changes to their organization over the previous two offseasons.
In fact, it’s already reasonable to question if giving Joe Douglas responsibility of the rebuilding process was the incorrect decision. After all, how can you look at his choices as general manager and not be skeptical of his ability to assemble even a mediocre NFL roster?
Even though he has a reputation as a savvy personnel executive, he has yet to demonstrate that he can convert a weak club into a contender. And by making a move that makes no sense given the present state of events in the Meadowlands, Douglas can expect to be scrutinized much harder.
After all, the Jets have just shown that they don’t understand the value of preparing Zach Wilson for long-term success.
In Week 7, Zach Wilson’s rookie season took a turn for the worse.
Zach Wilson, unlike Mac Jones, joined a team that has a history of failing to cultivate local talent. After all, he was named the franchise’s new face in April after Sam Darnold failed to live up to expectations three years after being drafted third overall. And it was clear early on in the second matchup between the Patriots’ cool, calm, and collected rookie quarterback and the Jets’ talented but unpredictable first-year signal-caller who was in an ideal scenario.
Wilson couldn’t get anything going before he was injured, but Jones and his cast of weapons had little issue finding success against Robert Saleh’s defense. The brilliant 22-year-old quarterback took a couple of hard hits from Patriots defenders, the last of which resulted in a knee injury.
In the Jets’ latest defeat to their division opponent, Mike White, a 2018 fifth-round selection by the Dallas Cowboys who had zero NFL plays under his belt, completed 20-of-32 passes for 202 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
Wilson was fortunate in that he did not suffer a season-ending injury. A injured PCL, on the other hand, will keep him out of play for two to four weeks.
Obviously, no supporter likes to hear that the team’s most valuable player has suffered a knee injury. Wilson, on the other hand, should be able to rehabilitate and return in about a month. Ultimately, even with him in the lineup, the Jets had little chance of making the playoffs.
Someone, however, seems to have forgotten to inform the team’s third-year general manager.
The Jets have just shown that they have no idea how to prepare their young quarterback for long-term success.
The Jets are still trading selections and spending money on short-term needs. They will struggle to win 5 games in a season in which they will struggle to win any. These aren’t the typical activities of teams who achieve successful turnarounds. The chances of becoming better, or even being a competitor, are quite slim.
25 October 2021 — Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13)
Was it necessary for the Jets to bring in a quarterback after Wilson’s injury?
Is it possible that Joe Douglas did the right thing for the franchise’s future by signing a free agent?
Instead, he traded a conditional sixth-round selection in 2022 to bring Joe Flacco back to the Jets for a second term. Before signing a one-year agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, the 36-year-old former Super Bowl MVP spent the 2020 season as Darnold’s backup. According to ESPN, depending on playing time, Flacco’s compensation could rise to a fifth-round selection.
What is the purpose of trading for an elderly, deteriorating quarterback? What sense does it make to give up any future asset for the sake of the 2021 season when the Jets plainly don’t have a playoff-caliber roster? Why waste a first-round choice on a guy who might have been re-signed this spring?
The price of Flacco is less important than the principle of the transaction. To assist Wilson, the Jets forewent cash that might have been spent on a young player with promise. Instead of signing a youngster to a multi-year deal, they’ll pay a veteran who is nearing the end of his career for a few months.
That’s not a good way to prepare your future great quarterback for success. When you take a step back and consider what Douglas has accomplished since taking over in 2019, it’s reasonable to question if the club is headed in the right direction at all under his leadership.
Is it possible that Joe Douglas has caused more damage than good in New York?
Joe Douglas, the Jets’ general manager, continues to make odd selections that aren’t consistent with a long-term reconstruction. | Rich Schultz/Getty Images
While Jets supporters were correct to be enthusiastic about Douglas’s ability to supervise a rebuilding project, it’s clear that the club is still years away from contending for a postseason berth, much alone a Super Bowl championship.
It didn’t have to be this way, however.
Tristan Wirfs would look great in a Jets jersey right now, wouldn’t he? Mekhi Becton, a promising Tampa Bay Buccaneers right tackle who allowed seven sacks as a rookie and hasn’t played since Week 1 due to a knee injury, was selected two rounds after him.
Why did the Jets choose Denzel Mims again in the second round? He has four catches on 41 offensive plays and can’t seem to get on the field after receiving 23 passes in nine games a year ago.
And don’t forget about Jabari Zuniga, a third-round choice who turned out to be a fiasco. Douglas chose the Florida pass rusher with the 79th overall selection, and let’s just say it hasn’t worked out. He’s now on the practice squad and hasn’t done anything to warrant his Day 2 selection.
IR No. 11 Becton
No. 59 Mims has five receptions for 79 yards.
Davis, No. 68, has a 52.1 PFF grade, zero interceptions, sacks, and PBU.
Zuniga, No. 79: PS
Perine, No. 120: 1 snap
Morgan, No. 125, Panthers’ PS
Clark, No. 129: IR
Hall, No. 158: 64.8 PFF, 0 INT, 6 PBU
Mann: IR, No. 191
October 25, 2021 Connor Hughes (@Connor J Hughes)
Things become nasty when you look at the free-agent transactions made throughout the Douglas period. It’s frightening to think about what is ahead for Wilson, especially because the majority of them featured offensive lineman.
Last summer, the 45-year-old GM inked multi-year contracts with George Fant, Connor McGovern, Alex Lewis, and Greg Van Roten. Only the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, and Philadelphia Eagles had a lower adjusted sack rate in 2020, according to Football Outsiders. Only the Seattle Seahawks (10.4 percent) and the Chicago Bears (12.2%) have outperformed the Jets’ abysmally low record of 8.8 percent this season.
Unfortunately for Douglas, several of his offseason decisions seem to be doomed to fail as well.
Sheldon Rankins, a 2016 first-round choice of the New Orleans Saints, signed a two-year, $11 million agreement with $6 million guaranteed with the Jets. In Pro Football Focus’ grading system, he presently ranks 105th out of 120 interior defensive lineman. (The Jets’ first-round selection in 2019, Quinnen Williams, is ranked 65th.)
Shaq Lawson, who was acquired from the Houston Texans in late August for a sixth-round selection, is ranked 96th among 110 edge defenders. And, given their limited effect, it’s difficult to call Tevin Coleman (73 yards on 21 runs) or Keelan Cole (eight receptions on 11 targets) good additions.
The Jets aren’t likely to challenge for the AFC East title anytime soon. And if Joe Douglas doesn’t start making better judgments, Zach Wilson might end up like his predecessor in New York.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics. Spotrac provided all contract information.
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