Jets’ goal to play meaningful games ‘down the stretch’

The roster is in place and the Jets head into the 2022 season with high expectations in the short and long term after a promising offseason.

General manager Joe Douglas met with the media on Wednesday and said the goal is to play meaningful games “on the track.”

When asked if he thinks the Jets can do it, he said, “Absolutely, I do.”

It’s been a long time since the Jets played a meaningful game late in the season. You have to go back to 2015 when playoff hopes were dashed by the Bills on the final day of the season. Since then, the September and October seasons have felt largely over.

But the Jets feel like they’re going in the right direction with Douglas and coach Robert Saleh.

After last season, Saleh said the goal is to close the gap with the AFC East. The Jets have not won a division game since 2019 and lost their last 12. Douglas said if they want to play significant games late, it means they have to beat the Bills, Patriots and Dolphins. Douglas feels the team’s off-season additions should help him with that.

Jets coach Robert Saleh speaks with GM Joe Dougas during a recent practice session.
Jets coach Robert Saleh speaks with GM Joe Douglas during a recent practice session.
Noah K Murray

“I feel like we’re definitely a more talented team than we’ve ever been,” Douglas said. “We had these OTAs, these preseason games, this training camp to really come together and build chemistry as a group. But you’re right, we need to close the gap in the division. That’s part of playing meaningful games down the line to win games in the division. That is every team’s #1 goal, to win the division.”

As for Saleh, he’s stayed away from bold proclamations about what the Jets will be doing this year. He’s not Rex Ryan. When Saleh was reminded that when he was hired he said he believed the Jets would win championships, he said that still is the case.

Joe Douglas
Joe Douglas
Noah K Murray

“I still believe that we will win championships here,” said Saleh. “I think if you look at Joe and his staff and the way he communicates with us as a coaching staff, our process is too good. I think the players we brought in are made of the right stuff. The way this organization communicates, the way Woody communicates [Johnson] and Christopher [Johnson] Give us everything we need in terms of player acquisition and presence in this building and their support, it’s too good that it wouldn’t work. I’m really excited to continue growing this squad and developing these young men and delivering on the promise we made when we got here.”

Saleh said he believes the Jets are building their roster the right way, through draft and with smart free-agent signings. He threw a shot at past regimes that spent too much money on a free hand.

“It’s a team that’s being built,” Saleh said. “Different from what I think this organization has had in the past and not to speak ill of anything or anything that has been done in the past but this is a built roster not purchased and so I just have that Feeling like it’s a chance for this team to really grow together and last a long time.”

After 11 years without the playoffs and six straight losing seasons, most fans have run out of patience and want wins and aren’t talking about build-up. Douglas knows this team has to win for people to believe in what the Jets are doing.

“I feel like the energy we’ve had since we got together in OTAs, how that’s evolved through OTAs and training camps, you see the progression,” Douglas said. “But you’re right, we have to go out on Sundays and prove it.”