Stephen Russo on if Joe Douglas can have the same impact on the New York Jets as Bill Parcells
It was more than 23 years ago that Bill Parcells made the infamous quote “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries” as he left the Patriots to become the Jets Head Coach and General Manager. And if you’ve read my work before you’d know that I typically reference the 1997-2010 era of Jets Football as the “glory gears.” It’s no secret that Bill Parcells was the catalyst for those years of perpetual success (because to Jets fans perpetual is a relative term). There is no denying the success that the organization had during that run. In those 14 years, the Jets had 11 seasons where they finished 8-8 or better, made 7 playoff appearances and had 8 playoff wins. What would we give up for that kind of success again?
Stephen Russo with a closer look at UDFA WR Lawrence Cager, from Georgia
6’5” and 220 pounds. That’s pretty much all you need to know, right? Well, it may be his size that has created a lot of buzz for undrafted free agent Lawrence Cager, as the Georgia receiver has caught some significant attention following his joining the Jets on Sunday following the conclusion of the NFL draft. Cager clearly brings his size and physicality to the wide receiver position with the Jets, who need bodies to compete and his potential could lead to a surprise roster spot.
Stephen Russo with a closer look at new Jets WR Breshad Perriman
There have been a few buzzwords tossed around thus far to describe Joe Douglas’ approach to his first Jets’ offseason: strategic, disciplined, and tone-setting to name a few. No argument here. That has been exactly what Douglas has done, and for the most part, it has been somewhat of a breath of fresh air. While there is still work to be done, the moves have been smart, low-risk, high reward signings. Good for Joe and good for the Jets.
Stephen Russo goes 3 up and 3 down on New York Jets HC Adam Gase
With week one of Free Agency off to hot start around the league, Jets GM Joe Douglas has taken a simple, understated, and intelligent approach to put his stamp on the team. His best move thus far is undoubtedly Connor McGovern, the versatile interior offensive lineman from Denver – smart, durable, and penalty free – I like the sound of that! Douglas has taken other measures (George Fant, Josh Andrews, Greg Van Roten, re-signing Alex Lewis) as well to stick to his promise of bolstering a struggling offensive line unit from 2019. The bottom line is that he has placed focus in arguably the most important area of a team, when his predecessors spent years neglecting it. Now, will these moves pan out? Time will tell. But there is nowhere to go but up for this unit.
Stephen Russo on the myths around rebuilding in the NFL
The rebuild. It is a term that has found an all too comfortable home in the vocabulary of every long-suffering Jets fan over the last decade. There are all types of rebuilds, too. Look no further than the Jets teams of recent history to see how many different ways you can do this thing:
Stephen Russo with the good, the bad and the ugly from the New York Jets offensive weapons in 2019
Prior to the start of last season, it appeared as if the Jets took their first step into this century and bought into offensive football. While the hire was controversial, they went for an offensive coach in Adam Gase, a small step in the right direction. The organization recognized a serious asset in Sam Darnold, and also realized that if you want your young Quarterback to thrive, you surround him with talent. So, they signed Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, and figured that pairing them with Chris Herndon, Quincy Enunwa, and Robby Anderson would lead to the “electric” offense that Sam Darnold and Adam Gase had envisioned when the season started. Well, weren’t we in for a rude awakening?
Allow me to take a look at the top weapons individually and grade them on a pretty simple scale: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Stephen Russo grades out the New York Jets defensive line in 2019
The Jets entire defensive unit, and in particular, their defensive line, was a strongpoint of the team in the 2019 season. With heavy investments made both in the draft and free agency in recent years, the defensive line should be a strength. Let’s take a closer look at how the unit performed this past season.
Stephen Russo grades out the New York Jets offensive line in 2020
The Jets offensive line was quite the story for the 2019 season. From injuries to miscommunication to an inability to block a zero blitz, this unit showed it all… and not in a good way. For too many years, and specifically under Mike Maccagnan, Jets fans and media alike were clamoring for more attention to be paid to this unit. But still, no investment was made and it reared its ugly head in 2019. This position group, which was marginal at best coming into the season, was a major disappointment.
To add salt in the wound, they were oft-injured as well, starting 11 different lineman and nine different line combinations during the season. A lauded Hail Mary by new GM Joe Douglas before the season to lure Ryan Kalil out of retirement to come play center was a huge swing and a miss, and his season ending injury proved to be a blessing in disguise as Jonotthan Harrison filled in much better for the latter part of the season. Early season struggles from Kelvin Beachum (he’s still having nightmares of Myles Garrett) and Brian Winters, a turnstile rotation at right tackle between Brandon Shell and Chuma Edoga, and continual miscommunication and incompetence paved the way for an abysmal season for the Jets’ offensive line.
Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the narratives around the New York Jets season and their ugly win over Pittsburgh
It seems as though there are only two possible narratives on this 2019 Jets’ season that has been, in a word, underwhelming. Regardless of the current record and the chance for this team to get to 7-9 with a win over a JV Bills team in Buffalo to improve their win total 3 games from 2018, I believe it’s safe to say that more was expected. Fans needed more from Adam Gase. We wanted to see more progress from Sam Darnold. We thought Le’Veon Bell would be more reminiscent of his Pittsburgh days. And basically, we felt that the offense and this team would be more competitive than it has been all season. I think, to varying degrees, everyone (well most everyone, I am speaking to Jets fans) can agree that all of those things are true.
Stephen Russo with an offseason wish list for Joe Douglas and the New York Jets
‘Tis the season for giving. But, in the world of a Jets fan, ‘tis the season for wishing. While this roller coaster of a year winds down and results in a way that many of us feared it would, the offseason is right around the corner and our wish list is growing. For far too many years, the March through August stretch has been the most exciting time for Jets fans. The hope builds, the “on paper” discussions begin, and the actual play on the field isn’t given the chance to crush our dreams.
This feeling is all too familiar, but as the calendar turns to 2020 the Jets fanbase will have something to look forward to that they haven’t had in, well, forever… an undeniable blind faith in a General Manager. You’d have to go back to Bill Parcells to find a hire that was as universally accepted among Jets fans. That correlation is fitting because new GM Joe Douglas will be tasked with doing exactly what Bill Parcells did more than 20 years ago: propelling this organization out of mediocrity.
As the holidays quickly approach, I have given it my best shot at an offseason wish list for Jets new General Manager, Joe Douglas. Here we go!