Douglas Continues Building For A Playoff Or Bust-Up Season

The Joe Douglas’ offseason build continues.


In recent weeks, the Jets’ much-aligned general manager apparently has found a magic touch to piece together a playoff contender for the upcoming season. With a 40-year-old quarterback, Douglas has realized that the playoff window is a small one.


Douglas has added veteran pieces in anticipation of a two-to four-year run. Still, this year is a win now mentality for Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh. For the Jets, this is playoffs or bust..meaning busting up the coaching staff and front office. 


According to sources, owner Woody Johnson isn’t enthralled with Saleh, and a reported tirade with the head coach was a real one.


Douglas has added all the right pieces, but will they all have the wherewithal to stay healthy throughout an entire season.


Veteran wide receiver Mike Williams recently left the West Coast Chargers to bring some potential game-breaking qualities to New Jersey. Yet, the 29-year-old Williams only played three games last year due to a torn ACL, and he has only played every game in a season once in his career. 


You can also add tackles 33-year-olds Tyrone Smith and Morgan Moses into that mix. Smith hasn’t played a full slate since 2015, but Moses – a player the Jets previously  let walk away in free agency – has a better track record. They both have some mileage, but it is a huge upgrade that immediately silences any questions from the past at the position.


Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was a solid pickup to fill the role, but injuries have sidelined him throughout his career as a potential starter. Taylor was injured in his role with the Giants against the Jets last year. 


However, Douglas’ latest move may prove to be one of the finest of his career.


Getting edge rusher Haasan Reddick from the Eagles could push the Jetsinto the postseason. Reddick wanted a new deal from the Eagles, and it owed $14 this season. The Jets were in pursuit of Shaq Barrett and Jadevein Clowney for the spot.

Yet, the 29-year-old Reddick is well worth the price with his 52 sacks over the last five years along with two Pro Bowl nods. The Jets can work out a long-term deal, or see what happens at the end of the season. The Jets did lose edge rusher Bryce Huff (10 sacks last season) to the Eagles in free agency, but Reddick is an upgrade.


Douglas also has added guard John Simpson, defensive linemen Leki Fotu and Javon Kinlaw  (and re-signed Solomon Thomas), secondary pieces Chuck Clark and Isaiah Oliver as well as re-signing punter Thomas Morstead and kicker Greg Zuerlein.


When you look at the Jets’ depth chart, it’s hard to find a weak spot.  Douglas has pieced together a band of all-stars around his all-world quarterback. The top-10 defense should raise another notch, and Aaron Rodgers has all the players he wanted around him on offense.


Now, Douglas will move toward April’s draft where Georgia tight end Brock Bowers would be the final piece for the high-octane offense, or Notre Dame tackle John Alt will provide depth for Smith and Moses.  


But this is March, when everything looks good on paper. There is a high propensity for some of Douglas’ pickups to get injured, and who will be the one? 


The lone unknown here is Saleh, and will he and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett be able to coordinate with Rodgers toward a postseason berth, Unless there are injuries, the Jets’ defense under Jeff Ulbrich is there.


Douglas has built it, but can his team build a foundation for him and his coach?


About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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