The Jets on Thursday announced the creation of an Athletic Care and Performance Department with the goal of setting the standard in the NFL and do so in a hurry.
"After a thorough review of our sports performance areas, it became clear that in order to maximize our player's health, safety and effectiveness on the field, we needed to establish a centralized group that would better position our team for success," said Jets GM Joe Douglas. "During our search for the right person to lead this group Dr. Brad DeWeese impressed us, not only with his proven track-record, but also with his vision, insight and strategic approach to maximize athletic care and performance."
"The vision is pretty succinct: I want the New York Jets Athletic Care and Performance to be the leading player development department in the NFL," said DeWeese, who will lead the charge as the team's director of high performance. "I want us to be the model for other NFL teams to develop their system by."
Dr. DeWeese will oversee the department that will include the team's athletic trainers, strength & conditioning, and nutrition staffs in addition to a rehab department. Most recently the assistant athletic director for sports performance at East Tennessee State, Dr. DeWeese helped athletes to seven world championship titles in three different sports and 21 Olympic and world championship medals while he was the head of sports physiology at the United States Olympic Committee's Winter Division.
"There's nothing greater than the challenge of competing against the world," Dr. DeWeese said. "Coming from Team USA and the pressure of understanding you're in a competition against other countries prepares you for the greatest stage in American sport — the NFL."
Dr. DeWeese has written articles on speed development, periodization, and optimal training methods leading to elite performance and intends on having the players shift to full throttle.
"We are sincerely going to take an objective approach to training and performance first," he said. "Our job is to make sure when Coach Saleh looks down the sideline, he has the maximum number of players available and that those players are going to be strong and they're going to be fast. And we are going to look under every rock and make sure everything we do is sound. We're going to maximize the training from the weight room with what I call a sprint-based model."
The amiable Dr. DeWeese says his performance team will take an honest approach with each individual that will be both thorough and specific to the person. And the Jets are going to fly.
"We are going to be fast," he said. "We are going to hold ourselves accountable through further testing and objectivity. That everything we prescribe for them from strength and conditioning, to athletic training, to nutrition, to psychology has been vetted."
When Dr. DeWeese and GM Joe Douglas met for the first time, they instantly connected as people. Then Dr. DeWeese talked about the personalized approach for each Jet player and it was clear that this was the right fit.
"You have a team of professionals that surround one athlete," Dr. DeWeese said. "The athlete is the center of the wheel and your cogs are your coaches, psychologists, your nutritionists, your trainers and it's an all-in approach. It's an all gas, no brake approach to an athlete. One thing when Joe talked about improving the development of players resonated with me, you evaluate the player as a person as a whole, what they do in training and what they do off the field as a person. Come up with a way to give them feedback to improve in an area. It shows the athlete that you care about them and that it's the name on the back rather than the number on the jersey."
Set to arrive at One Jets Drive next week, Dr. DeWeese has constantly been on the phone with his team members while communicating with the coaching staff and ordering new equipment. A father of four children, he believes everyone is unique and will be treated as such.
"I think the program we're going to have is a player-centric model," he said. "It's not really necessarily about my training theory, it's going to be about the system that works best for that athlete. That's where through testing monitoring and engagement with the coaches on a daily basis, we're going to be able to identify what each player needs and be able to speak to that athlete. It's what I call targeted training."
Dr. DeWeese said his staff will "work like hell" to give Coach Saleh fast and strong players. And the more speed they possess, the more the game will slow down and the better decision-making will follow. Dr. DeWeese, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Western Carolina and a doctorate from North Carolina State, is an investor in people and that will include everyone in athletic care and performance and every player who walks into the building.
"I talk about a roundtable approach, everybody has a seat at the table. Everybody's equal and there's no walls that divide us," he said. "We may come into a room and have respective dialogue, but we'll come to a decision that we all support. It's important to invest in resources and technology where you can remove your opinion and you can look at the information, what it's telling us and what you think it means, what should it add. And we can move forward with a discussion with everyone on equal footing in a performance model."