It seems like the NY Jets and their fans have gotten so used to bad breaks that tankathon and mock drafts are usually on the minds of the fanbase by the month of October.
Prior to the Jets' Week 7 win versus Denver, the Jets had been able to avoid season-ending injuries to key players (Mekhi Becton notwithstanding).
Unfortunately, Mile High claimed multiple victims for the remainder of the season in Breece Hall and Alijah Vera-Tucker. The two players who just so happened to be the two most valuable pieces on the offensive side of the ball.
Despite the negativity surrounding these injuries, general manager Joe Douglas has to know that he still possesses a roster capable of winning — evidenced by his immediate acquisition of Jacksonville running back James Robinson.
Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh said before the season they believe they have a good group, and Douglas has been relentless in adding talent to his squad whenever the opportunity presents itself.
When Becton went down, many pundits began to zero in on a lack of depth along the offensive line. Douglas responded by signing veteran tackle Duane Brown, among others.
Douglas has been relentless in plugging holes on the offensive line, and his waiver wire acquisition of Nate Herbig has proven to be valuable.
Another under-the-radar signing made by Douglas is offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. Ogbuehi stepped in during the Jets' win over Denver for Vera-Tucker and proved to be serviceable against a tough Denver front.
NY Jets and Joe Douglas are committed to the team's vision
The difference between successful front offices and unsuccessful ones is the commitment to their vision. When Douglas came aboard as the Jets' GM in 2019, he was saddled with a head coach who did not share his football philosophy and a poorly constructed roster with massive contracts at non-premium positions (see: Le'Veon Bell).
Douglas stressed that this rebuild would be a long one and that he would not compromise his vision for flashy moves like Jets regimes of the past.
A good GM is able to acquire talent from multiple avenues, and Douglas has done just that. The 2020 draft has proved to be underwhelming, but he gets a pass considering he was still saddled with Adam Gase as his head coach.
Douglas has flipped the switch the last two seasons, drafting several impact players in 2021 and then knocking it out of the park with a franchise-altering draft this year.
In addition to acquiring blue chip players, Douglas has found several contributors on Day 3 of the draft and undrafted free agency; Max Mitchell, the Michael Carters, Brandin Echols, Bryce Hall, and Bryce Huff have all made an impact in their short time as Jets.
Prior to this offseason, the knock on Douglas was that he had yet to have a home-run type of signing in free agency. Corey Davis is a solid veteran and Carl Lawson is rounding into form after recovering from a torn Achilles, but Douglas needed to show that he could hit a home run in free agency.
Arguably no signing has been more impactful than the addition of D.J. Reed, who somehow was only able to command a three-year deal despite being 25 years old and an ascending player.
Douglas raved about Reed's mentality fitting exactly what he and Saleh are looking for, and Reed has taken his game to an all-pro level since arriving in New York. Reed and rookie sensation Sauce Gardner comprise what is arguably the best cornerback duo in the AFC, if not the entire league.
Douglas' use of the waiver wire cannot be ignored either. Key contributors such as John Franklin-Myers, Braxton Berrios, Nate Herbig, and Quincy Williams were all claimed off of waivers at various points during Douglas' tenure.
Franklin-Myers and Berrios both earned sizable raises for their strong play, and Quincy Williams is well on his way to a raise himself, bringing a certain juice to the lineup that is very difficult to replicate.
Douglas has continually stressed patience since his introductory press conference, and his pragmatic-but-opportunistic approach to free agency and trades has put the team in a fantastic position moving forward.
Douglas finally has the head coach who shares his football philosophy and a roster and locker room reflective of said philosophy. To let a couple of injuries get in the way of progress is a trap that past Jets teams have fallen into, but Douglas is looking to buck that trend.
Douglas knows that the time for results is now, and making a move for a player like James Robinson is reflective of the fact that there is a real belief in the locker room and front office that this team is for real. Douglas should not stop there, and knowing him, he probably won't.