CEO Expresses His Belief in Adam Gase, Joe Douglas, Sam Darnold & Green & White Locker Room Randy Lange
Christopher Johnson feels strongly both ways. Looking back, he's definitely down on the Jets' season-opening performance at Buffalo on Sunday. Looking forward, he's definitely up on where the leadership of head coach Adam Gase, quarterback Sam Darnold and general manager Joe Douglas will take his team the rest of this season.
"That was not what anyone was hoping for," Johnson, the Jets CEO and owner, told reporters before Wednesday's practice about the 27-17 loss to the Bills. "It was a bad game on all fronts. I do think that the Jets have more new pieces, more moving pieces, than most teams - just look at our offensive line. I think that they will correct themselves. I feel that you're going to see a different team moving ahead. But yeah, it was a mess on Sunday, no question. I was not happy about that at all."
However, while many in Jets Nation are not fans of the coach, Johnson left no doubt that Gase is his man moving deep into the 2020 season
"'I've seen Adam interact with this team, I've seen him lead this team," Johnson said. "Look back to last year. He took a team that did so poorly in the first half of the season and held them together and they finished well. I think that he has a lot more in him as a head coach than some of our fans are giving him credit for. And I understand. They want to see success. And I think that they will."
And that includes with Gase's guidance of his quarterback. Darnold has begun his third NFL season and his second in Gase's offense.
"Look, I think he can work with and develop quarterbacks," Johnson said. "I do continue to think he's a brilliant offensive mind. And he has my every confidence, he really does."
The same goes for Darnold, the third overall pick of the 2018 draft who made progress through his first two seasons but wasn't able to optimize the Jets offensive against fellow '18 first-round pick Josh Allen and the Bills until it was too late.
"I have so much confidence in Sam," the owner said. "He's the best player I know at turning the page, the absolute best. And I think he'll turn the page on this last game and I think we'll see an extraordinary Sam."
Johnson has always been respectful of the job former Mike Maccagnan did for the Jets before he made the switch in the GM's office to Douglas in June 2019. But he said Wednesday:
"There's no question I feel in better hands in terms of putting together a roster with Joe. I have so much confidence in him. Do I wish I had made that change earlier? Absolutely."
Moving on to his team, Johnson has felt "proud" first of all of the way he and his players have held together during the social justice debate taking place around the NFL and the country for much of this year.
"I've been honored to be included in these conversations, both with the whole team and individually in small groups. This is a really good locker room," he said. "They made the decision to stay in the locker room [for the National Anthem at Buffalo], I completely support that. I don't know what they're going to do this next week, but I will support that, too. And I feel their support as well."
But of course the business of the league is winning and that returned the conversation to how the Jets will fare in Sunday's home opener against San Francisco and for the rest of the campaign. It should be no surprise that the softspoken, optimistic CEO's message to the Green & White fan base is that he has confidence in all his people.
"I'm, No. 1, a fan, and I'm really frustrated. Winning can't happen fast enough," Johnson said. "But the fans should rest assured that every player, every coach, me, everyone in this building is focused on making this team a team they can be proud of. And I assure you, we'll do that."