Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Olivia Landis will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: How important will culture be for the Jets in 2020?
EA: Traits I associate with a productive team culture include accountability, commitment, inclusivity, respect, flexibility, selfless behavior and a passion to work and succeed together. The Jets are navigating unchartered water and unfamiliar terrain. Preparing for an NFL season in the middle of a pandemic would be a significant challenge alone, but the Green & White are attempting to get ready while also encountering racial inequalities and social injustices. . Veteran S Bradley McDougald was visibly upset this week in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday. "Guys are getting sick and tired of getting sick and tired," he said. "We're sick of talking about it, we're sick of sharing our emotions about it." All of these young men are carrying tremendous weight on their shoulders and the Jets need cultural alignment. Safety Marcus Maye has said there are no egos on the team and quarterback Sam Darnold has stressed the importance of sustaining positive energy throughout the season. Head Coach Adam Gase has professed his love for the locker room, saying that this is a group that will put its collective head down and go to work amid adversity. Gase and wise players like Steve McLendon have talked about the importance of focusing on the task at hand because there is much unknown at present. A strong, united culture is imperative now more than ever, and the Jets have it.
EG: Very. The Jets are dealing with the unknown this season. General Manager Joe Douglas has repeatedly talked about building the best culture in sports and a good locker room will help the Jets with the current uncertainty. Connor McGovern, who signed with the Jets in free agency, said there's a different vibe around the team entering the season and a hunger to prove that the team's 6-2 finish to last season was not a fluke. That may seem odd coming from a newcomer, but McGovern said that many of the returning players, such as QB Sam Darnold, agree. Darnold said: "We got a lot of guys in the building that are able to pick each other up and that's a really good thing. And again, we just got to use that during the season and even during the course of games." Culture may not show up on the stat sheet, but it's an important piece in an NFL season that's bound to endure twists and turns.
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RL: Culture is one of those great sports intangibles. There are no stats for it, no fantasy football league points awarded for it. But who can doubt its importance, especially in an NFL locker room? It will keep the Jets together and focused through this difficult and unusual offseason and preseason and into the regular season. GM Joe Douglas put it best when he said this summer: "We're trying to build this the right way. I think we're working to build a foundation of great players and great people, building the right culture and having the right chemistry in the building. We have a group of guys that have a lot of drive and hunger to prove that the finish of last year was not a fluke, and if we can capture that momentum and push it into 2020, there's a lot of exciting things that can happen."
OL: Culture isn't something that can be measured or created overnight. In fact, it's the opposite. Culture takes time, effort, change, and consistency to emerge. Culture must be maintained — similar to something as relevant as a healthy lifestyle — and can be stripped away if not careful. Jets' GM Joe Douglas stressed the importance of culture within the organization throughout his first season with the team and still mentions it as a priority today. The second-year GM acknowledged that to create a healthy culture, it would have to start with him. Since presenting the idea, Douglas has worked to ensure that culture is central to success within the locker room. Coaches, players, staff, and others will continue to work toward building a strong culture for the Green & White.