Jets GM Joe Douglas prioritizing coaching hire before QB decision

Field Level Media

January 06, 2021 at 1:45 am.

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas said Tuesday the franchise must hire its next head coach before determining the future for quarterback Sam Darnold with the Jets.

The Jets fired coach Adam Gase on Sunday after finishing the 2020 season 2-14.

“Look, we’ve got a lot of decisions to make. I think Sam’s going to be a great quarterback. I’m excited to get a head coach in here, go through our process,” Douglas said . “I had a great conversation with Sam yesterday.

“I won’t go into the specifics, but I think Sam has a very bright future in this league. We’re going to get a head coach in here, we’re going to get together, we’re going to talk about quite a few decisions. I’m excited about Sam.”

Darnold, 23, has been adamant about wanting to remain with the Jets, reiterating this week that he wants “to be a Jet for life.” But obviously his performance has put his ability to carry a franchise in the league’s biggest media market into question.

Picked third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, Darnold threw for a career-low 2,208 yards this season in 12 games (all starts). His nine touchdown passes were also the fewest of his three-year career.

When a team finishes the season with the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft, it has a lot more problems other than its quarterback. And Douglas expressed sympathy for Darnold.

“I think Sam faced a lot of obstacles this year, as did everybody, dealing obviously with COVID and frankly, we had quite a few injuries, on the offensive line, at the wide receiver position,” Douglas said. “I think it was hard for our offense in general to really build the kind of sustained chemistry to create success throughout the year.”

Darnold has thrown for 8,097 yards and 45 touchdowns in 38 games (all starts) in his first three NFL seasons. The Jets are 13-35 in that span.