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Joe Douglas at NFL Combine on State of the Jets: 'We're Prepared to Answer the Bell'

GM Says There Is Pressure but No Stress as His Team Knows 'It's Time to Put Our Heads Down & Win Games'

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas speaks during a press conference during the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Kara Durrette/NFL)

The Jets take their first very public step into the 2024 season with their presence this week at the NFL Combine workouts in Indianapolis, and general manager Joe Douglas said, "We feel good about our group moving forward."

But Douglas also knows the key positive results — more wins than losses, playoff berths — have yet to be achieved on his and head coach Robert Saleh's Green & White watch. And the GM doesn't need his boss, CEO Robert Wood Johnson, holding up a timepiece to know that the hour is nigh for the Jets to make a breakthrough.

"I mirror the frustration that Woody has," Douglas said as he fielded 15 minutes of questions from team and national media at his Combine kickoff interview in Lucas Oil Stadium. "Woody and I talk just about every day. We're certainly on the same page. Again, I like the position that we're in. We have a lot of talent coming back to this team. We know exactly what we have to do moving forward.

"The pressure is always intrinsic in this job, whenever you walk in the building, every day. But I can tell you we're not stressed. We're prepared to answer the bell here with the decisions that have to be made moving forward. A lot of that has to do with the meetings we've had. I feel really good about our staff, the coaching staff, analytics and everybody being on the same page."

Even with the returning talent, there are still many pieces to be maneuvered around the offseason chessboard. The Jets have much-discussed needs on the offensive line, at wide receiver and backup quarterback on offense, and with good players possibly departing in free agency, the interior line and safety will have to be addressed. There will be comings and goings as Douglas and his team make those decisions to be able to fit any new signings under the salary cap.

Despite the quantitative results not having been reached yet, Douglas said the qualitative elements are already in position.

"We haven't won enough. That's obvious," he said. "But weirdly enough, I feel like the culture is in a really good place with the people we have."

And Douglas said one of those people, a guy who wears No. 8 and goes by the nickname "ARod," is a large part of the cultural foundation as Aaron Rodgers begins his second offseason of work on and off the field to get the Jets up and flying high.

"Aaron's an unbelievable addition to this team off the field. And we all know what he can do on the field," Douglas said. "We've texted a little bit since he left the building [after the regular season]. I can't wait to have him back here because he makes such a large impact with our group and our guys."

Besides last year's trade with Green Bay for Rodgers, Douglas and his team hope to match if not exceed their recent successes such as with the free agency signings of D.J. Reed, Jordan Whitehead and Tyler Conklin, and the first four selections in the 2022 draft — Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson and Breece Hall. But the GM, the HC, their QB and everyone else on the football side know how tough it is changing the conversation outside the building to match the positive vibes inside One Jets Drive. There's really only one way to do it.

"Respect has to be earned and it has to be taken," he said. "Words are meaningless. Well-done is better than well-said. We obviously have to earn people's respect.

"It's time to do it. Time to put our heads down and win games."

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