General Manager Joe Douglas, 1.5

[please click photo for link to the video]

Opening Statement…
Happy New Year everyone. Obviously, this was a tough season for all of us, our fans included. Speaking for everyone in this building, this record, it belongs to all of us. I said it during the season, and I want to reiterate it now: we win, and we lose as a team, and that’s all of us, that’s front office, that’s the players, that’s the staff. It’s incumbent on each of us to be better and make this part of our story, but not our story. I’ve known Adam (Gase) for a very long time, I’m a big supporter of his, this is the hard part of the business. I wanted nothing more than for us to succeed here together. This was hard for me. I know people outside of this building, they may not see it at this time, but he did some really good things here that are going to help us moving forward. I do want to say that I’m very proud of the way this team stuck together, in spite of our record. They continue to put the work in every day, and I want to thank them for that. I know you spoke with Mr. Johnson yesterday and he said what we were looking for in our in our next head coach. I won’t take the time to repeat all those things right now, but I will say that ultimately this is going to be a partnership, and we have to find ways to help this individual succeed. And to our fans, I know all of you deserve better, that’s not lost on me, we’re working hard to change that.

Rich Cimini, ESPN: Joe, can you update us where you are on the search and also how many candidates do you plan to reach out to during the course of the process?
In terms of the search, I’m not going to get into specific names. I’d say we started our process yesterday, we sent in for consent and permission forms yesterday and right now we’re in the process of scheduling these interviews.

Brian Costello, New York Post: Joe, when you look at it, the season as a whole, do you feel like you did a good enough job constructing this roster this year?
I think we talked about it at the midseason point, I certainly could have done a better job putting this roster together, helping the staff, helping this team succeed. I will say – I mentioned it in the opening statement – I’m really proud about how this locker room stuck together after an 0-13 start and continued to fight every day. Obviously, 2-14, no one’s proud of that, but I do think the fact that these guys stuck together, fought through a lot of adversity. I’m proud of the players for the way they handled themselves.

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Joe, how will things be different this offseason and how will you approach things different this offseason so that you’ll do a better job constructing the team compared to this year?
Obviously, there’s going to be a big difference in the fact that we have a very big decision to make in terms of finding the right person to lead this team, lead this organization. So, that’s the number one thing on our mind right now, is making sure we bring in the right person. We’ll talk more as we get closer to free agency and the draft, but I think we’ve done a great job as a staff at going back and kind of self-scouting the decisions, not only in free agency but in the draft, and I feel good about where we are moving forward.

Bob Glauber, Newsday: Joe, this is a this is a league of coaches and quarterbacks, and if you get it right on each of them, you really have a good chance. Do you look at this as an opportunity to get those right, and I guess that includes what your evaluation of Sam (Darnold) would be moving forward?
Obviously, organizations that have long-term success, they’ve gotten the head coach and quarterback right. So, we have a lot of decisions to make, like I said. The one that we’re focused on right now is head coach. After that, we’re going to have quite a few more decisions to make. But right now, we’re focused on finding the right person to lead this team.

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Will Sam Darnold be the quarterback in 2021?
We’ve got a lot of decisions to make. I think that Sam is going to be a great quarterback. I’m excited to get a head coach in here, go through our process. I had a great conversation with Sam yesterday, I won’t go into any of the specifics, but I think Sam has a very bright future in this league. So, 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.

Bob Glauber, Newsday: That’s a little different from like the trading deadline last year when we had questions about Jamal (Adams) and then Sam came up you said basically there’s one untouchable player on this team and it’s Sam Darnold. So, are you leaving yourself a little room there this time because it’s uncertain with the coach and you want to just kind of leave yourself some room to make a decision based on what the new coach is going to think as well?
Look, any major decision that we have moving forward in terms of the roster, in terms of free agency, draft, anything, our new head coach is going to be a big part of that moving forward. So, I would definitely agree with that assessment.

Bruce Beck, WNBC: Joe, how do you describe the challenge that you face trying to bring this franchise back to respectability, and what will it take?
That certainly is not lost on me. We have some very important decisions to make, and I think bringing this program back to respectability, bringing this program back to winning games and competing for playoffs and the Super Bowl, that is the number one goal. And I think that’s going to start with the type of leader and person that we bring in to partner with myself, with Christopher (Johnson), with Hymie (Elhai) and really build the right culture and really be the leader that can take us to the next level moving forward.

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Joe, can you say specifically what you’re looking for in your next coach?
I think first and foremost we’re looking for a great partner. I think we have a lot of good people in this building. I think we’re looking for a person with great character and integrity. I think we’re looking for a person that’s going to have outstanding vision of what they want the identity of this team to be moving forward, and then what’s the detailed plan on how they want to achieve this identity, someone that’s a great communicator, a great manager. We’re going to cast a very wide net, we’re not going to look at just offense, just defense, special teams, we’re going to look at everybody. It’s important that we find a person with high integrity and outstanding leadership skills and communication skills.

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Do you want your next head coach to have experience coaching in the NFL before? Is that a requirement for you guys?
I think we’re going to cast a wide net, like I said. I think there’s great coaches at the pro level and college level. If there’s a coach on the college level that meets that criteria of leadership, communication and collaboration, has a strong vision of what they want this team to look like and the identity of this team, I don’t think we’re going to shy away from that.

Rich Cimini, ESPN: Joe, do you think Sam regressed this year?
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. I think it was hard for our offense in general to really build the kind of sustained chemistry to create success throughout the year. I think we had different offensive line groups throughout the season. Like I said earlier, we didn’t really get a chance to have our top three receivers on the field at the same time until Week Nine. So, I think all of those things impacted not only Sam, but impacted our offense. I do you think you saw in the month of December Sam played a lot of good ball. You obviously saw that we were able to beat two playoff teams and a lot of that is because of the way Sam played. So, like I said before, I really think that Sam truly does have a bright future in this league, a 23-year-old quarterback, and Sam is still going to get better every year.

Bob Glauber, Newsday: Joe, Christopher was saying a lot of nice things about you yesterday and has along the way and you’ve gotten a lot of plaudits from a lot of different places. He said you’re going to be the lead voice on this coach. Do you feel pressure? Because it’s a lot when a team is like, “You’re the guy who’s going to dictate the future of this franchise moving forward.”
I’m a “we, not me” guy and I think there’s a lot of good people that are going to help in this process. I’m looking forward to getting in with Christopher and talking about these candidates, diving into their character profiles, diving into their football background and really working together to find the right type of person that can lead this franchise, hopefully for many, many years. So, I think you feel pressure to succeed every day you walk into this building. Obviously, there’s a lot of big decisions that lay in front of us this offseason and we have to get them right.

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Joe, did you ever have any experience in head coach searches before in any way, shape or form, even if it was minor?
Yeah, the kind of last time I’ve been around a head coaching search was just on the outside, was when I was a scout in Baltimore back in 2008 when Ozzie (Newsome) hired John Harbaugh, so it’s been a few years. I think my approach, and I’ve been fortunate to talk to a few people recently about this process and really what they did well and what they could do over if they had to do it again. I feel like for me, being in the league for 21 years in personnel, I’m going to stick to what I know and that’s attacking it like I would a draft, almost like you’re drafting a coach. You have your critical factors, you have your position specifics, you basically create your criteria and your reports based on that. So, I think with me I’m a very pragmatic guy and so I think we have a really good process right now and I’m looking forward to starting it.

Kim Jones, NFL Network: I was interested watching your team this year that they really didn’t quit and that’s not always the case in your league. So, if you believe that to some extent you do have at least a few of the right players, what are the characteristics in a head coach that you will prioritize to bring out the best in the players who do remain, as well as the ones you bring aboard?
Yeah, you brought up a great point. I think right now there’s no priority to the characteristics, I think there’s a group of characteristics and obviously leadership plays a big role in that and being able to connect and engage with everybody on this team, being able to garner the respect of every member of this team, whether it’s offense, defense, special teams, being able to hold everyone accountable, setting clear standards and expectations and this is how you’re going to be rewarded if you achieve these standards, these are going to be the consequences when you don’t. I think that was one of the great things about yesterday in doing the player exit interviews. I think there are some outstanding discussions throughout the day and I really appreciate the guy’s candor and there was great back and forth. I think when you talk about the characteristics, leadership and communication are going to be a really big part of it.

Brian Costello, New York Post: Joe, there was a large segment of your fan base that was hoping the team would go 0-16 when it got to 0-11, 0-12. Obviously, if you had the number one pick, your job might be a little bit easier this offseason, what were your emotions when the team won that game in Los Angeles?
I was happy for these guys, I mean, these guys never back down. The week before we had flown out to Seattle and that was a bad one. And so, your thought process is how are these guys going to respond and flying back out to the west coast, playing a great team in the LA Rams and basically leading from start to finish. I was so proud of the way that these guys battled, they never backed down and I know just being in locker room how much joy and excitement there was in these guys. There was no one on this team, no one in this organization that wanted to go 0-16 and have that scarlet letter on their resume for the rest of their career, so my hat’s off to the way that they stuck together and battled.

Bob Glauber, Newsday: Do you have any opinion on this year’s quarterback class in the draft? If you don’t want to be specific, I understand, but collectively, is this a good group that you’re looking at?
Look, we’re going to have plenty of time to talk about that down the road. I think right now, our number one focus, our number one goal is get the right person in here and lead the franchise.

Bruce Beck, WNBC: Joe, why is this a good job to take and not a dead-end job?
I would say, the people here. There are so many good people here, (starting with) Christopher and Hymie. I think there’s so many people here that are willing to do anything to win, and they’re willing to help in any way that they can. I think in a perfect world, I think it’d be great to create this football utopia of an egoless football organization. I feel like there’s a lot of that already in place from a lot of people here, that their hearts are in the right place, they just they just want to win, they just they just want a winner. So, you know, I think first and foremost, it’s the people. I think there’s a lot of resources here to help a coach succeed. I think we’re in a good position in terms of draft capital. I think we’re in a good position in terms of cap space. So, I think there’s a lot of positive things for us moving forward.

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: This might be in the same light, Joe, as the draft question, but Marcus Maye, obviously has his contract up, he’s kind of expressed a desire to come back, I was wondering if you met with him and how much of an interest you guys have in bringing him back next year?
Yeah, I had a chance to meet with Marcus and I really appreciate his time and candor. It was a great conversation, obviously won’t go into specifics, but I would tell you guys that bringing Marcus back is going to be one of the priorities of our offseason.

Brian Costello, New York Post: Joe, Christopher yesterday speaking to us was asked, I think the term was asked in the question, CEO coach, and he said he doesn’t love that term, but it does explain what you guys are looking for, someone that kind of coached the entire team. What if that coach says, “If I’m the CEO, I want to have control over personnel too,” what would be the answer from the organization if that’s brought up?
Yeah, I think that’s a good question to ask Christopher. Ultimately I think we’re looking for a great partner that going to come in here, work hand-in-hand, we’re going to lock arms and we’re going to try to turn this thing around together and I think that’s the quality we’re looking for.

Rich Cimini, ESPN: Just to follow up on that Joe, Christopher also mentioned that they changing the reporting structure is a consideration, would you like to see a change to where it’s more of a conventional setup where the coach reports to the GM?
To me, it’s about the person. And, again, that doesn’t matter to me, I just want to hopefully attract the right person, the right leader into this job.

Andy Vasquez, The Record: Joe, what have you learned from being in the number one chair for these last 18 months that you think will help you during this coaching search get the right guy in here?
Yeah, I think being here for a year and a half, I feel like you have a pretty good lay of the land in terms of the organization and you have a really good feel of the things that need to be addressed, need to be fixed. I feel good about, like I said before, there’s a ton of good pieces here already in place. I think being able to really describe, explain the culture that we’re trying to build here, the pieces that we already have in place. And I think that moving forward, I think that’s going to be able to help me communicate with any future candidates exactly what we’re looking for, what we need.

Brian Costello, New York Post: Joe, what would you say to Jets fans who are wondering how far this team is away from being a playoff team again?
Yeah, I think there’s a lot of good pieces here, I think there’s some good young core players. I think it’s our responsibility to try to build around the pieces that we have in place. It’s our responsibility to make the best decisions in terms of the leader that we bring in, the players that we choose from in free agency, the players that we draft. And so, obviously, we’re excited about the resources we have. We’re excited about talking to a candidate to come to this great city, to this great market and this great fan base and really do something, build something special that hasn’t been done here in a long time. And so, I think these are exciting times for this franchise, for this fan base. Obviously, it’s important that we get all these decisions right moving forward.

Kim Jones, NFL Network: Is there a time where you will seek out from C.J. Mosley if he’s part of this going forward or do you know that now? And I guess the really quick follow up would be, was there any day this season that you regretted trading Jamal Adams away?
Yeah, so on the C.J. piece, I have not had the opportunity to speak with C.J. since the seasons ended, I do want to reach out to him and just see where he’s at, make sure he’s in a good place, his health is good, he’s feeling good. Obviously, he’s a special player. In terms of Jamal, I’ll say that I’m happy that Jamal has an opportunity to compete in the playoffs. I wish him success. I would say that we didn’t look in the rearview mirror once we made our decision on Jamal and we’re excited about what we were able to receive in the trade for him. Now it’s on us to go find the right players with the resources that we acquired in the trade.