The King is dead; long live the King... Joe Douglas
The Jets made a bold statement in hiring Joe Douglas as their new GM. It said to the league that the Jets are ready to compete for championships by giving full control of the organization to a football man who started from the ground up as an executive. =Douglas is not an NFL descendant of an uncle, father, sister, or step-brother who was in the NFL. He came here on his own and learned along the way. In fact, to get his start he practically had to kick the door in. The guy dreamed of this job, worked hard to gain knowledge, and earned this job the right way.
It has been reported that the deal struck for Joe Douglas is for 6 years with an salary of $3.3 million a year. That is a cash outlay of nearly $20 million to Douglas from the Jets, and Chris Johnson should get a standing ovation for making such a bold move. This franchise needed it. I am now standing and clapping for real.
Chris Johnson realized that the Jets were going nowhere under the leadership of Mike Maccagnan. He was remiss in his duties as stand in owner and let Maccagnan deceive him in thinking everything was a;l right. It was easy to do because Chris Johnson has little to no knowledge of football or on how to run an NFL franchise. To be honest none of us know how to run an NFL franchise. If it was easy a lot more teams would be vying for Super Bowl titles every year rather than just a few teams.
Now is the time to give Chris Johnson some credit, he stepped up and made the right move even though it looked obvious to many. Joe Douglas also needs to be congratulated on his first GM job but also on making the Jets bend the knee to his demands. Remember these team owners are billionaire, and a $3.3 million a year payment is what they pay in green fees to their respective country clubs. Yet by Douglas making them bow to his desire it forced the Jets to show they were truly invested in Joe Douglas as their GM and wanted him to lead their franchise for the next 6 years at least.
By doing so Douglas now has a mandate, given to him by the Jets to run this franchise the way he deems necessary. A single man (the right man) who has the power to make decisions is always the best course of action. This is not to say he will be a despot. In fact he will be the opposite. He will build a council of great minds to make the hard decisions that face the Jets, building a consensus. But the final decree will be Joe’s alone to make.
I have been one of the harshest critics of the ownership of the Jets, and Chris Johnson has been a target in many of my articles. There have been so many obvious failures that could have been avoided with proper analysis and investigation. That is now in the past, not to be revisited unless the Jets hold the Lombardi Trophy in their hands and only then as a how far a “where we came from” article. I truly believe this is the best move, and Joe Douglas was my top choice as the GM replacement for Macc, I wrote an article saying as much within an hour after Macc was fired.
Did you know?
A little known fact is that the Jets hired Joe Douglas for 6 years and nearly $20 million in salary on Friday, but the they actually turned down the same Joe Douglas, to join the Jets as a scout; for free!(!!)
Joe Douglas was a senior offensive tackle at the University of Richmond in 1999. He was not considered a pro prospect but had started 45 games at offensive tackle for the Spiders so he participated in the pro day for the scouts. Joe is a sharp guy and knew his future in the NFL was not on the field; “I was a senior, so I would hop in there with those guys [and work out]. But I knew. I knew I wasn’t on anybody’s radar as a player. So I had my manila envelope with me.” He just wanted a chance in the NFL. Anything would do.
“I was handing out résumés, telling them I would work for free. I just wanted an opportunity. I was willing to do anything. Break down tape, pick up coffee, take people’s cars to get washed, whatever.”
Since he was willing to be a low level intern he ended up getting interviews with the Patriots, Ravens and the Jets, but each team told him no thanks. He never stopped asking for a position, and finally the Ravens gave him an entry level position in the scouting department.
“He never gave up,” said Phil Savage, who was then the Ravens’ director of college scouting, and now may be a member of a Douglas hierarchy. “That was one reason we were attracted to Joe. He never gave up on going to work for us.”
The Ravens had a club called the 20/20 club which Douglas became a member. It was a group of people in their early 20’s who would work insane hours for $20,000 a year with the opportunity to join the Ravens scouting department. The Ravens have had one of the best scouting departments since Ozzie Newsome became GM and he always appreciated young talent that was willing to work hard and learn, Douglas was one of those people.
“We were like a young think tank,” said Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, who started with the team four years before Douglas. “We were all single guys. We were around the office 20 hours a day, just talking football. We were all guys who were young and learning.”
“I watched Joe kind of grow from being a very young guy in the office, kind of a slow-moving offensive-line personality, to a guy that became more urgent. He took to everything he did and really developed his craft and became our national scout [in 2012]. He kept growing and growing and growing to the point where he was just an invaluable piece of our process.”
Joe Douglas worked with NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah for 4 years in Baltimore and has a high opinion of him. “People underestimate how smart Joe is,” Jeremiah said. “You see this big, physical former offensive lineman and you think, ‘OK, is he a meathead?’ But Joe is the opposite of a meathead. He’s passionate, but he’s very intelligent.”
“Joe’s one of the best I’ve ever been around,” Jeremiah said. “Probably the best thing I could say about him is he has conviction. He finds a guy that he likes, he doesn’t care whether he’s on an island or not. He stands up for the guys that he really, really likes.”
He learned that trait from Ozzie Newsome and learned it well, “Just because the wind is blowing in a certain direction, that doesn’t mean that because five people see a player a certain way and you’re the sixth person and you don’t, that doesn’t mean you’re wrong and they’re all right,” Savage said.
“One thing Ozzie really emphasized back in those days was, ‘Hey, I want to know what you think, not what the league thinks.’ Joe has carried that attitude with him from his beginning stages as a scout all the way up to his current job” Savage added.
“Joe knows what makes good players,” DeCosta said. “He learned from [Ravens general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] and other people here in this organization. He’s got the instincts that a lot of guys have. But he also puts the time in. He’s got the work ethic and the discipline to do extra evaluation, extra work on guys.” “He’s understated, certainly. But he’s a deep thinker. He’s a critical thinker. I think he’s strategic in his thinking. All of those qualities kind of play together to make him who he is, which is an outstanding scout.”
Eric DeCosta (the new GM of the Ravens) raves about Joe Douglas, “It’s nearly impossible to find anyone with a negative thing to say about Douglas. He’s respected by the college coaches he deals with on the road, the scouts who work for him and the players at the NovaCare Complex.”
”There is a connection, because of the quiet confidence that he has, between Joe and other scouts – and maybe, even more importantly, between him and the coaches and players,” said Mike Mayock former NFL scout/announcer and the new GM of the Oakland Raiders.
”Some guys don’t translate to the other side of the building. Joe does. The players know that Joe knows. The coaches respect him. And that’s not always the case. In fact, it’s fairly rare when you get universal [respect]. I think it goes back to that quiet confidence he has and people being drawn to that.”
Douglas brings a wealth of knowledge as well as success from his former jobs. He was a valuable asset for multiple teams. He won two Super Bowls in Baltimore in his 15 years and another in Philadelphia. Douglas said it best about his NFL education, “We used to say all the time that being a personnel assistant for Ozzie and Phil Savage was like earning a law degree from Harvard,” Douglas said. “Because you learned so much from them. You were learning from the best.” “I tell people my contribution to that  team was picking up [fullback] Sam Gash and [tight end] Ben Coates at the airport,” Douglas joked. “But just to be around it and observe it and see the different personalities and see the team chemistry [was valuable].”
I can’t tell you how impressed I am with Joe Douglas and his vision for the future of the team he runs. He embodies many of the qualities I wished for in a GM. Everything I have read or heard about him says success. I have my own manifesto (so to speak) about crucial aspects of being a high quality GM and Joe hits them all.
I already have an article I am working on about roster building, team chemistry and the locker room, and Joe hits all those ideals in former interviews. Said Joe, “Fit is a big thing,” he said. “We discuss it in our draft meetings. Chemistry. It’s a hard thing to quantify. But you know when you have it. We had it last year and we want to add to it.”
Those sentiments were added by Mike Mayock (the GM of the Oakland Raiders) : “Height, weight, speed and all those other measurables are great. You’ve got to have those players [with those qualities]. But I think, at Joe’s core, he believes in the culture of the locker room and bringing the right people into your building.”
I will say now without any reservation that this is a great day for the New York Jets. I believe the investment in the contract (6 years) gives Joe Douglas the mandate he needs to create the type of organization he wants. Also since it was a prolonged negotiation it is reasonable to assume that Joe secured many smaller necessities he needed in scouting and personnel.
So if you are a long suffering New York Jets fan please take some time to thank the deity you hold dear or the person you most love. Those entities have heard the anguished cries of a fanbase so cursed and now are being led out of the darkness of our new prodigy.
A new day has dawned and you are blessed to see the Majesty of the moment.