Chairman & CEO Christopher Johnson, 1.4
Hello everybody. As you know, last night I informed Adam (Gase) that he will no longer be our head coach. As I said in my statement, we knew there was a lot of work that needed to be done when Adam first joined us in 2019, and our finish last season was positive. We were just unable to sustain that and the process that we all expected during the 2020 season. Our business is about results, and no one, specifically me, is happy with our record this season. We will begin the search for a new head coach immediately. I can tell you that we will be looking for someone who can lead and develop our young team, someone who can assemble a talented coaching staff that helps them do that. They do not have to be offensive or defensive specific. I’ve had a lot of encouraging conversations today with our players. I know they want to be part of a culture that leads to wins. I want nothing more than that for them and our fans. We will do everything in our power to achieve that.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Hey Christopher, I was wondering if you could just go over how the process of finding this coach will kind of unfold in terms of when you hope to have a coach picked out? And then also, is there any chance that you guys will be adjusting the organizational structure that you’ve had in the past in terms of the coach reports to the general manager and the general manager reports to you, or will you still have it where both the coach and general manager report to you individually?
Well, let me take that second part first, that change in structure is under consideration, no question. Everything is up in the air here, and that is one of those things that we are considering changing. As to when we will have a new coach, this is a broad and deep search. We’re going to take our time, this is a process and we want to get it right. Clearly, we aren’t the only team looking for a new coach, time is always of the essence, but we’re going to do this right. You want to know about the structure of the search? I’m not sure where you want to go with that question.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Christopher, I just meant in terms of what these next few weeks will look like in terms of I guess how you guys will go about finding the next head coach, what the steps over the next few weeks are going to be.
We’ve already put in requests for some of our candidates, and I expect we’re going to start those interviews very shortly. We’re going to be doing those initially remotely, and because they’re remote, I’m hoping we can go through them relatively quickly, and I’m looking forward to that. I think that this could take a few weeks, it could be quite quick, it is a little hard to tell at this point.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Why do you think it didn’t work out with Adam? And moving forward, what did you learn from the last coaching search and why should fans have confidence that this time you’re going to get it right?
Let me start with why they should have confidence that we’ll get it right. In this room, we’re going to have me, we’re going to have Hymie (Elhai), who has been part of the Jets for 20 years, who was a big part of the search for Joe (Douglas), and he’s a highly trusted adviser to both me and Joe. And we also have Joe, and this is important, Joe has a lot of background, he has a lot of time in this league, he’s well respected and make no mistake, he’s going to be taking lead on this. While this is a collaborative effort, his opinion will be taken most seriously. And I think that the fans can feel safe knowing that we’re going to get this right.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Why do you think it didn’t work out with Adam?
Look, I’m not going to say a bad thing about Adam. He’s a good man, and I’ve gotten to know him and his family over these last few years. It clearly didn’t work out, but we’re going to look forward to a different kind of coach with this next hire.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Hi Christopher, I have a two-part question regarding Woody (Johnson). What role, if any, will he have in this coaching search? And the second part is, when do you anticipate him coming back to the team on a full-time basis?
My brother has one job. His attention is undivided, he is the Ambassador to the (United Kingdom). When he comes back is still uncertain, but I’m personally looking forward to him coming back. Most of my adult life I’ve worked with Woody on a daily basis, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed that time and that process. And I’m not going any place, I’m still going to be here. There will be a fair amount of continuity, my role will be significant moving forward. But when he does get back, whenever that is, he will of course have the final say on decision making, but I’ll be an important adviser to him and a big part of what happens here.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Just curious, how do you balance the work that needs to be done here? Your team is 2-14, you’ve had five-straight losing seasons, the roster needs work, your draft misses are well documented. How do you balance having patience for the new coach to fix these things versus wanting to end a 10-year playoff drought quickly?
The weight of 10 years out of the playoffs, 50 years away from the Super Bowl, that frankly weighs very heavily on my shoulders, and it should, and it spurs us on to get this is coaching hire right. I look at what we have in front of us, that what I just painted is a dark picture, but what we have in front of us is incredibly bright. With Joe as GM, we have had, I think, a terrific first draft and great success in free agency. We have incredible draft resources in these next two drafts, we have a great deal of money to spend against the cap in a year where it’s unusually good to have money to spend against the cap and we have Joe leading the charge. And very importantly, my brother and I have a philosophy to hire good people and give them the support and resources they need and let them do their jobs. I think that this is a really good landing spot for a coach and once we have that coach, once we stick the landing with this coaching hire, I think that the future of this team is very, very bright.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: I’m wondering if you’re more inclined with this hire to go in the direction of a head coach who truly oversees the whole team, rather than someone with an offensive or defensive bend, that you would heavily rely on. I mean it’s been called a CEO, I don’t always love that description, but I think it might be the best word to use in terms of, is that the kind of head coach you would target this time?
I don’t much like the term CEO either, but it does describe what we’re looking for. We want a head coach that coaches the entire team, end-to-end, and his staff. You don’t have to be offensive, you don’t have to be defensive, this is a coach for the entire team and that’s very important to us looking forward.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Hey, Christopher, just a couple of questions, one of which you started to answer a little bit there with Kim’s (Jones) question, but you said moving forward you’re looking for a different kind of coach with this next hire, can you elaborate on that for starters? And just as a follow, can you also elaborate, just kind of on what gives you the confidence in Joe that he’s going to make this hire and how difficult of a hire this is when you’re looking at coordinators who haven’t been head coaches before, college coaches that maybe haven’t been in the NFL before, just address how difficult it is to try to find that right guy?
First of all, with Joe, he’s been around a number of very, very good NFL teams. He has seen the best of us, he’s taken it in, and he has strong opinions about how to do this right, how to bring in the right culture. I think we’ve seen with his early moves the direction of that and I think we should have every confidence in him as the man on point in this search. I think fans should have a great deal of confidence in that, I really do. This coach is going to be, as I said to Kim, it’s going to be a coach of the entire team. And one thing I should probably stress is we’re a really young team and with all these draft picks, we’re getting younger. Our new coach and his staff are going to have to be great at developing that young team. But I’m quite confident that Joe and I and Hymie can find this guy.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Christopher, I was just wondering if you could talk specifically to Sam Darnold and just kind of his perceived lack of development this season and then also if you guys as a team are open to potentially drafting a quarterback this year?
With Sam, I spoke with him after the game last night. I’m a huge fan of Sam, I think he’s a great QB, I think he has really wonderful talent and drive and leadership and part of the reason that this team never gave up this year is because of Sam. I don’t think the book has been written on Sam, he has a very big future and I personally hope that it’s on this team, that’s what I told him last night after the game. I hope he is a Jet going forward, but that decision is going to be made by Joe Douglas and our new coach. So, that’s about as definitive as I can get on Sam. I hope it’ll be here, but that’ll be up to Joe and the new coach.
J.P. Pelzman, Forbes: Christopher, again, I understand, you don’t want to say anything bad about Adam and I’m not impugning integrity or anything and I know he’s a fine man, but you keep stressing that you want somebody to coach the entire team, you keep saying those words, are you implying that he seemed more concerned, because that’s the way it looked to the outside world, that he was more concerned with the offense and his play sheets than with the defense, that he outsourced the defense to Gregg Williams, can you comment about that please?
Look there’s no question that Adam concentrated on offense and yes, he handed off the entirety of the defense to Gregg. I think that we’ve seen that in action, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad way of doing things, but in our case, I think that we can do better.
Bruce Beck, WNBC: Christopher, it’s been 10 long years, how driven are you to win now for your family, for this franchise, for this fan base?
Look, I am sick of losing. I am so tired of this, as are the players, as are the fans. This has been a year when we didn’t get a chance to talk with fans. But believe me, you know in years past, I would always go out before every game, every home game and talk to fans for about an hour before each home game and I talked to fans who had been there since (Joe) Namath, since before Namath and they’d often give me an earful and I appreciated that and I’ve been a fan since Namath, so I have that perspective as well. I’m sick of this. But, I think you know for a lot of the reasons I laid out about our bright future, I really think that Joe is the GM we’ve been searching for. I have a lot of faith in him and if we can get this coaching hire right and I think we will, I think we can be a team that no one is going to want to see on their schedule, even next year, and then we’ll see where we can go with that, but I see a very bright future with this team.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Hey Christopher, for weeks there was a really odd dynamic going on with the fans wanting to lose to get the first pick of the draft and presumably Trevor Lawrence. And then you won a couple of games that you missed out on a potentially generational talent, what was your take during that period, were you looking forward to that first pick?
Look, I understand that viewpoint and after so much disappointment, people were looking for, fans were looking for something to say, “This is our reward.” But in this building, we play to win. I wouldn’t want anybody in this building who doesn’t want to win every damn game and the will to win is the heartbeat of the players that will take us back to the playoffs. You don’t want people, you don’t want anybody in this building, who wants to lose. I think in the long run people are going to be happy that we always want to do our best.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Christopher, I think this outcome has kind of been apparent for weeks for anyone who follows your team, why didn’t you make a coaching change during the season at 0-8, 0-9, 0-10, and when did you finally reach the decision to move on from Adam?
The final decision was recent, I won’t get any more specific than that, but I didn’t see change at head coach helping us earlier. I saw the players and coaches were still locked in and you know they came to practice playing hard every day and you’d see them in games, they never gave up, that’s extraordinary. I mean the players I’ve talked to today all remarked on that, that a lot of them have been on teams where people gave up if things didn’t go well. I just don’t think you make a change there midseason. Also, you know, we’ve never done that on this team while we’ve had it, we’ve always allowed a coach a full season, a chance to change the direction and I didn’t feel that it was wise to change that now.