As Jets' Head-Coaching Search Begins, GM Joe Douglas Takes the Lead

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson: ‘We’re Going to Get This Right’ 


As of Monday afternoon, the New York Jets were one of six teams looking to fill a head coaching vacancy. While CEO Christopher Johnson told reporters that it would be a broad and search, the team had already put in requests for some of their candidates and he hoped remote interviews would proceed quickly.

"We aren't the only team looking for a new coach," he said. "Time is always of the essence, but we're going to do this right."

After the organization had both the general manager and head coach report directly to ownership for years, Johnson said a change of consideration is under consideration and also made it clear that Douglas will be at the forefront of the selection process.

"Make no mistake — he's going to be taking the lead on this," Johnson said. "His opinion, while this is a collaborative effort, will be taken most seriously. I think that fans can feel safe knowing that we're going to get this right."

The collaborative effort will include Douglas, Johnson and Hymie Elhai, the team's president.

"In this room, we're going to have me and we're going to have Hymie, who has been part of the Jets for 20 years, who was a big part of the search for Joe, and he's a highly trusted adviser to both me and Joe, and we also have Joe," Johnson said.

Despite the team's 2-14 record in 2020, Johnson believes the team is set up for success. He spoke highly of Douglas' first draft class that featured LT Mekhi Becton and WR Denzel Mims, the Jets' draft capital in 2021 and 2022 and he also pointed to the financial flexibility the team has headed into the offseason. The Jets own the No. 2 overall selection in April's NFL Draft, two picks in Round 1 each of the next two drafts and nine picks in the top three rounds in 2021-22. projects the Jets have more than $72 million of cap space this offseason.

"We have Joe leading the charge and very importantly my brother and I have a philosophy to hire good people and give them the support and resources that they need, and let them do their jobs," he said. "I think this is a really good landing spot for a coach and once we have that coach, once we stick the landing with this coaching hire, I think the future of this team is very, very bright."

The Jets won't look for a coach with a specific emphasis in one phase of the game but instead an individual who is ready to tackle the entire operation.

"We want a head coach that coaches the entire team end to end and his staff," he said. "You don't have to be offensive, you don't have to be defensive. This is a coach for the entire team and that's very important to us looking forward."

Also the Jets are a young team and player development will be critical to their future.

"We're a really young team and with all these draft picks we're getting younger," Johnson said. "Our new coach and his staff are going to have to be great at developing that young team. I'm quite confident that Joe and I and Hymie can find that guy."

Douglas and company have plenty of important decisions ahead over the next few months. After the Jets come to an agreement with a new coach, Douglas and the new hire will have to assess the roster and that starts with QB Sam Darnold.

"I'm a huge fan of Sam," Johnson said. "I think he's a great QB, I think he really has wonderful talent and drive and leadership and part of the reason this team never gave up this year is because of Sam. I don't think the book has been written on Sam, he has a very big future. And I personally hope it's on this team, that's what I told him last night after the game. I hope he is a Jet going forward, but that decision is going to be made by Joe Douglas and our new coach."

Although Johnson declared that he was sick of losing multiple times on the call, he remained optimistic about the next steps. Douglas, who has earned three Super Bowl rings (two in Baltimore as a player personnel assistant and as a national scout and one with the Eagles as vice president of player personnel) will run point for a club searching for a reversal in fortune.

"He has strong opinions about how to do this right, about how to bring in the right culture," Johnson said. "I think we've seen with his early moves the direction of that and I think we should have every confidence in him as the man on point in this search. I think fans should have a great deal of confidence in that, I really do."

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