It wasn’t “normal”, despite numerous instances in recent history showing that it definitely was. It was viewed as unorthodox, when a new head coach may or may not have pushed a bad general manager out because he wasn’t as much of a maniac as he wanted. Fans freaked out when that same head coach, as interim GM, jettisoned players that realistically should’ve been moved months ago.
The circus was back, they said, because Owner Chris Johnson saw in 3 months what alot of people had already seen enough of: Mike Maccagnan was bad at his job and he needed to go. All Maccagnan had shown a penchant for was being able to spend Woody Johnson’s money two offseasons over, and to not pass on high ceiling prospects when he was picking in the top six. Maccagnan had not shown an ability to scout skill position players beyond the first round, Jordan Jenkins and Robby Anderson notwithstanding, and the draft misses were piling up.
The middle class of this roster was barren, and what Adam Gase likely saw was a team one injury away from having their entire season derailed. He witnessed this firsthand in Miami, and he seemed hell-bent on making sure that didn’t happen this time. If stories are to be believed, and unlike some Jets fans who routinely criticize this site we don’t take the “believe it if I like it” school of thought, the Jets had an offer to trade down and acquire more picks and Maccagnan may or may not have balked at the offer.
He opted to take a top 6 player that happens to play DT in the draft, who the Jets hope is better than the last top 6 player who happens to play DT that he took, instead of acquiring more picks and getting a top 6 player who happens to play DT later and still have the ability to add much-needed depth. The Jets have long had to rely on cap space to be the cure-all, much like the Knicks, because they have not been able to draft and develop top talent. Mike Maccagnan deserved the axe, if for nothing else other than that. Adam Gase knew it, and soon so did Chris Johnson.
The guy they just hired had a hand in scouting Joe Flacco, CJ Mosley, Marshall Yanda, Adrian Amos, Eddie Goldman, Carson Wentz, Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones, Dallas Goedert, Andre Dillard, Miles Sanders, and JJ Arcega-Whireside. That’s a diverse group of draft picks that either have had or are expected to have success in the NFL. Douglas has had a hand in building 3 Super Bowl teams, built three very distinct ways.
The early Ravens were a smash-mouth football team built on running the ball and playing defense. The second Ravens title was a team built to be carried by Joe Flacco come playoff time, a more vertical attack with a defense that could bring edge pressure. The Eagles winning team was a hybrid, an offense that could attack in different ways while the defense played great situational football and forced turnovers. Time will tell what this New York Jets team will look like under Douglas, but evidence tells us it’ll be a team tailored to it’s strengths. Douglas will look to take advantage of Sam Darnold’s rookie deal the same way he saw Ozzie Newsome take advantage of Joe Flacco and Howie Roseman take advantage of Carson Wentz.
There were rumors that Joe Douglas was the guy Gase wanted to right the ship with him months ago and, if true, it shows Gase actually wants to win here and not just have to depend on a guy like Maccagnan to get him what he needs. Joe Douglas is absolutely that guy.
This isn’t revisionist history, Maccagnan was not the guy I wanted to be the GM 5 years ago, but Maccagnan’s focus on scouting left him incredibly incomplete as a GM candidate. Maccagnan, from all reports, seemed to struggle with the position because he wanted to be a scout. Joe Douglas learned from Ozzie Newsome and Howie Roseman, two of the best at their respective positions, and saw first hand how scouting, analytics, and varied roster construction are vital cogs in team building. Rich Cimini mentioned that Douglas isn’t a fan of analytics, but from everything I’ve read he prefers to find the middle ground between scouting and analytics as oppose to just leaning towards one side.
In 2017, Jeffrey Lurie said that hiring Douglas was the pivotal moment for the Eagles that propelled them to a Super Bowl title. In the next couple of years, maybe Chris Johnson can say the same for the Jets.