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NY Jets: Woody Johnson expresses confidence in Joe Douglas, Robert Saleh

By Kristen Wong
NY Jets, Woody Johnson
NY Jets, Woody Johnson / Al Pereira/GettyImages
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If football could be considered a religion, NY Jets owner Woody Johnson has kept his faith despite the team's recent disappointing performances.

Following a blowout loss to the New England Patriots in Week 7, Johnson spoke publicly about the franchise's bright future.

Anytime anyone seems optimistic about the Jets, he is obligated to elaborate, as Johnson did in NFL's Fall League Meeting on Tuesday.

Johnson backed third-year general manager Joe Douglas and first-year head coach Robert Saleh, in particular, who were hired in 2019 and 2021 from the Eagles and 49ers franchises respectively.

The Jets have gone through a notorious list of coaches and GMs since Johnson bought the team in 2000, but after Johnson's positive comments, Douglas and Saleh may be sticking around for the long haul.

Johnson went on to praise Douglas and Saleh for being "deep thinkers" who want to "establish a culture" and "get the right players in the right positions."

It's an early (and surprising) vote of confidence for the current leadership, but it seems Johnson wants to preach patience to fans already deflated by the Jets' 1-5 start to the season.

"I've been around for, this is going on 22 years, with my little absence that I had recently, and this is a good group. We will get it right. Last week, you know, [was] frustrating, but now we turn the page and we're off to the Bengals."

Woody Johnson

The "frustrating" week was, of course, referring to the Jets' historic 54-13 drubbing at the hands of the Patriots in which the Pats scored the most points by a Jets opponent since 1978. The loss turned ugly when rookie QB Zach Wilson injured his knee in the second quarter and is slated to miss time.

Johnson name-dropped Wilson, too, pointing out how the rookie QB is just 22-years-old and "seeing things for the first time...It's going to take him a little bit of time, but I have a lot of confidence in Zach, too."

NY Jets owner Woody Johnson has 'unwavering confidence' in current team leadership

Wilson currently has a 57.5 percent completion rate for 1,168 yards, adding four touchdowns against a league-high nine interceptions.

In light of his continuing rookie pains, the Jets' decision to ditch Sam Darnold for Wilson has nonetheless aged well, and Wilson will hopefully improve with experience.

Taking Wilson with the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is only the most recent franchise-defining change Johnson has made in his 17 seasons of ownership.

Hiring Saleh was heralded by many as an excellent move.

Taking on Douglas, too, has resulted in key roster upgrades over the past two years, such as trading Jamal Adams to Seattle and drafting Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Trust the process. Trust the leadership. That's the underlying mantra of Johnson's statement to the press, but then again, it's all easier said than done.

During Johnson's tenure as a Jets owner (not counting his four seasons overseas), the Jets have made the playoffs just six times.

New York's 10-year playoff drought is the longest active streak in the NFL, and it's not difficult to see why fans are already hanging up their jerseys for the year.

Next. NY Jets make major OL additions in 7-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft. dark

Facing yet another missed postseason in 2021, the Jets haven't delivered on results this season, but at least Johnson is trying to keep team morale as high as possible.

Sounds very Ted Lasso-ian, but a little extra positivity (and some freshly baked shortbread) never hurt anybody.

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