What Joe Douglas did to improve the New York Jets depth can only be described as masterful, and it continues to fly under the radar.
The hope flying through the air on the night of April 4, 2019, was unmistakable. A dancing Nick Mangold, fashionable Jamal Adams and joke-telling J.B. Smoove helped usher in a new era of New York Jets football. The new uniforms were unveiled.
Doubling-down on the excitement of the fresh Gotham Green cloth were the new acquisitions. Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley led the way with others such as Josh Bellamy rounding out the group. Each new player’s name and face were presented during the pre-uniform-launch-event festivities. Even Trevor Siemian‘s face was met with applause. But, be honest: did you give the man a second thought after looking at him the first time?
Heading into 2019, did you really feel comfortable if Sam Darnold went down?
Some may answer the question with a resounding, “Yes.” After all, the Northwestern product made 24 starts for the Denver Broncos. In 2016, he threw 18 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions while trying to do the impossible: replace Peyton Manning.
Others will answer, “Of course not.” Whatever the answer, the truth of the matter is simple and straightforward: Most Jets fans didn’t even give it a second thought. Who cares who the backup quarterback is? If Darnold goes down, all is lost anyway.
Such a sentiment could not be further from the truth. Depth—even at quarterback in a quarterback-driven league—means the world to a football squad, and Joe Douglas and the Jets deserve a ton of credit for the improvements made over the last calendar year.
Quarterback (Serious edge to 2020)
- June 2020: Sam Darnold, Joe Flacco, James Morgan, David Fales, Mike White
- June 2019: Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian, Davis Webb, Luke Falk
The difference between the 2019 Jets and this current version is night and day. First, there’s Joe Flacco.
Flacco, 35, is a Super Bowl MVP whose experience is now in the same room as a 23-year-old face of the franchise. That immediate backup is critical to not only the hope of the organization moving forward (Darnold) but the team’s overall success as well.
Playing 16 games over the course of a season isn’t easy. Darnold’s already missed three games in each of his first two seasons. Employing a guy who can step right in and command his teammates is crucial for any winning franchise. Some would argue Siemian could have been that guy if not for an injury in Week 2. I would retort with this: how about the No. 3?
Douglas shocked many fans when he selected James Morgan out of FIU in the fourth round. Why quarterback in that spot? Listen, anybody who believes Sam Darnold is a lock to become the Jets franchise quarterback for the next decade-plus simply lives in la-la land. Those who believe that weren’t old enough to remember the New England Patriots’ 2001 season or the St. Louis Rams’ 1999 campaign. Funny things always happen along the way to what we all think may transpire. Morgan as a No. 3 with David Fales and Mike White completely overwhelm what the team had last year (Darnold, Siemian, Davis Webb and Luke Falk).
Running Back (Serious edge to 2020)
- June 2020: Le’Veon Bell, Frank Gore, La’Mical Perine, Trenton Cannon, Josh Adams, Kenneth Dixon
- June 2019: Le’Veon Bell, Ty Montgomery, Elijah McGuire, Trenton Cannon, De’Angelo Henderson, Valentine Holmes
Think about the two rookies for a moment, James Morgan and La’Mical Perine. The world pretty much thought Morgan would be the QB2 and Perine would be the RB2. Nope. Douglas didn’t mess around and he brought in reinforcements (Flacco and Frank Gore).
Because of Douglas’ focus on building depth, this competition against Mike Maccagnan’s 2019 batch isn’t even a fair one.