General Manager Joe Douglas, 8.31

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Opening Statement…

I don’t know what other blanks I can fill in for you guys that Hard Knocks and 1JD (One Jets Drive) hasn’t, but it is good to be with you guys, excited about this season. I want to thank the players for all of the hard work and effort they put in, a lot of tough conversations this week, letting some really good players go. I want to thank the staff too, the coaches, personnel, training, strength and conditioning, our player development staff, they have done a great job in helping put this roster together. It is a team effort 100 percent because when you look at our roster when we talk about using every avenue to build this team, I think when you look at our final roster you see that. We have literally used every avenue, whether it is draft picks, unrestricted free agent signings, undrafted guys, trades, we have used every avenue to build this initial 53. So, excited to move forward, excited about the season, but ultimately excitement doesn’t win games. It is preparation, execution, and discipline that wins games, so we have a really tough match up Week One against the three-time defending champions Buffalo Bills of the AFC East, so looking forward to that opportunity.


Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: What was the week like for you after the last preseason game leading up into the deadline on Tuesday?

You get with the coaches, we go over the team, we decide who the top 53 guys are going to be, we are really trying to put together the best 69 players that we can with the 53 and the 16 practice squad guys, so just getting with the coaching staff, getting their rankings, getting their orders, getting with the personnel staff, analytics staff, trying to figure out who is the most likely to get claimed if we have to cut somebody, and really trying to put the best 69 players together that we can.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Joe, two years ago you had a really young roster and you talked about growth and improving, what’s the goal for the season? Last year it was meaningful games in December. Is this year, are playoffs the expectations?

We are excited to be in the conversation as one of the better teams in the League, but again, like I said earlier, excitement doesn’t win games, we have a lot to prove. We are in a good place moving forward, I think one of the first check points was getting through training camp, and having a productive training camp, and staying healthy, and we have been able to do that. The next step is going out there and proving it on Sundays and winning games and winning division games. So, we are jumping right into the fire for the first game of the year.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Joe, we haven’t talked to you since Aaron (Rodgers) renegotiated his contract. He talked about how it was an easy process, he talked to you and was able to talk to you throughout, can you go through what that whole thing was like and were you surprised by how much he was willing to give back to you guys?

Yeah, really that conversation, that discussion is really emblematic of Aaron’s entire time here, what he has done in coming here, and a truly unselfish thing what he has done. It is really going to give us great flexibility moving forward and allow us to be aggressive if other opportunities present themselves.


Rich Cimini, What he did, the whole restructure, did that come with the understanding, like, ‘I’ll do this, but now you have all this money and now you can go out get some players before the trading deadline’? How did that work out?

Yeah, I think it goes unsaid. It is almost like an unspoken thing. You know if you are doing this, there is a reason why he is doing this. So, it is going to give us great flexibility moving forward.


Steve Serby, New York Post: Joe, what have you learned about Aaron that you maybe didn’t know from afar?

I think it started from the very first time that I had the opportunity to speak with him when we all went out to Malibu. The word that I always use when I am asked about him is authentic. He is a genuine, authentic person. Highly competitive, we all know how smart he is, but also a very authentic, genuine, caring teammate, and genuinely wants to build real relationships with people, not only teammates, but everyone in the building.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Joe, what is a successful season for this team, as it’s constituted?

I’ll let everybody debate what that looks like. I’ve said it earlier, we are not running or hiding from any expectations that are out there. When the dust settles you want to be in the conversation as one of those teams that can compete for a Super Bowl. You get a ticket into the dance, and anything happens. I think with the training camp that we have had, I think the job that the players have done, the job that the coaching staff has done, we are ready, but we are really not looking any further than the Buffalo Bills. Again, this is a three-time defending AFC East champions are coming into MetLife and we know what kind of task that is to compete against them. Then after that, we are going to be looking at that opponent, going down to Dallas and playing in a hostile environment, so we are just going to take this one day, one week at a time.


Steve Serby, New York Post: How would you assess the state of your offensive line right now?

I am excited about this offensive line. We are getting healthy at the right time, adding Duane (Brown) back to practice has been awesome and he is such a great leader in the group. Mekhi (Becton) has had a great training camp and it’s been really awesome to see Mekhi go through this August and watching him bounce around and the energy that he had prior to the Tampa Bay game, I knew he was going to have a great game. It was good to just see him just go out and do what he does and look like rookie Mekhi again, which I think everyone that was here for rookie Mekhi saw what he can do. I think we are getting healthy at the right time and I feel good about where we are.


Connor Hughes, SNY: You have been a part of a Super Bowl team with Baltimore, you have been a part of a Super Bowl team with the Eagles, what you saw from them do you see the same makings here? What made those teams special and what made those teams capable of making the Super Bowl, do you see the makings of that here?

Yeah, Connor, it’s a good question because I think the common denominator between those Super Bowl teams in Baltimore and ‘Philly’ (Philadelphia) was that it started in the locker room. It started with great leadership and was a great combination of personalities, but just great people, great guys in those locker rooms. Those are player driven locker rooms and just fantastic people and leaders. You feel that chemistry when you walk out there, when you come into the building every day, there is really good chemistry. I know you guys have heard me say the most important room is the locker room and I feel like this locker room is in a good place.


Connor Hughes, SNY: One more quick one with that, when you were in Philly and it was that same Super Bowl year, but also Howie (Roseman) does it all the time, he seems like one of those guys who seems most aggressive with in-season acquisitions when it is right upon, so how do you know when is the right time? Is it around the deadline? Is it earlier in the season? Do you guys  plan to be aggressive and how and when do you start?
Every situation is a little different. The Super Bowl year in Philly we had an opportunity to acquire Jay Ajayi and bringing him in with LeGarrett (Blount) it really solidified the running back room, and we were a bus all in the playoffs that year. You just have to be ready when the opportunity comes. You don’t know when it is going to happen, but again, we have great flexibility moving forward if the opportunity does present itself.


Joe Mauceri, PIX 11: With regard to the general manager and coach dynamic, as you were coming up in Baltimore and Philly, watched how Ozzie (Newsome) did it, what is one of the things you have learned most about making it work with your head coach?

I have been fortunate because I have seen from the very beginning of my career how important it is to have a strong relationship between the top personnel person and the head coach. I saw that with Ozzie and Brian (Billick), I saw that with Ozzie and John (Harbaugh), I saw it with Howie (Roseman) and Doug (Pederson), and it is critical. The relationship that I have been able to build with Robert (Saleh), it’s been fun. His energy is infectious, how thoughtful he is, how communicative he is as a leader, it’s been great to be around. It’s great because having not worked together prior to here, we can bounce different ideas and philosophies and things that we have been around and come together to do what is best for the New York Jets.


Mark Cannizzaro, New York Jets: What do think just to follow that, has made it work so well? What about Robert (Saleh) makes it work well with you? What are some of the dynamics that you feel?

I think it’s just the amount of candor that we have with each other. We can go in… if he has any questions or concerns about my thoughts, he’ll come in and we’ll talk about it. I feel like neither one of us are afraid of just challenging each other on different thoughts and ideas, but at the end of the day, not letting your ego or not letting other things, your ego or pride get in the way. Being willing to have some tough conversations, at the end of the day we know why we’re doing it. It’s just for the betterment of the team.


Ian O’Connor, Harper Collins: Before you started the process of trading for Aaron, did you see it at first as more of an unrealistic scenario that you had to take a shot at or did you always look that as a realistic proposition?

Yeah. Honestly after the season, I thought it was very unrealistic and then as the days went along and the conversations that I had with Brian (Gutekunst) and then we we’re allowed to talk to Dave Dunn. We were given permission to talk to Dave and it became with every passing day, this could really happen. I think it really became a real thought that it could happen around the Combine.


Steve Serby, New York Post: Do you feel, have you seen signs of the MVP Aaron (Rodgers) as opposed to 2022 Aaron?

The only scope I’ve seen Aaron is 2023 Aaron. I see an unbelievable competitor, fiery. He wants to go out there and do a lot of damage. I love it. I feel like that back and forth that we’ve had at practice with the offense versus the defense and when we have the call it periods with Aaron calling plays, CJ Mosley calling plays, they’re just unbelievable battles. It’s been fun to watch Aaron go at it against our defense. It’s been really fun.


Connor Hughes, SNY: Has there been a point in time where you were either watching practice on the side or reviewed the film where you sit back and say that’s my quarterback, I can’t believe we got this guy?

Yeah, like five, six times a day. When I’m watching the film, there’s these throws that are just unbelievable, unreal, tight window throws, accuracy. The delivery, the compact quick delivery, balls just riffle out of his hands, decision making. I’ve said it before, but it’s surreal.


Rich Cimini, How does trading for Aaron, a future Hall of Famer whose 39-years-old increase the sense of urgency to win now?

Well yeah, I think Aaron came here to win. I think Aaron and I don’t want to put words in Aaron’s mouth. I think Aaron’s talked about it, but Aaron obviously saw something in this group that made him want to be a part of it. He came here for a reason. We’re all doing this for a reason. We all know the ask in front of us. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re all excited to move forward.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Why did you feel the need to add Dalvin Cook?

Well, I think it’s another opportunity to add another Pro Bowl caliber player to the roster and another player that was excited to come here and a player that we feel was a difference maker to the team, to the offense. The experience that I’ve had, and the team has had with Dalvin, has been unbelievable. He’s all ball and he loves football, and so we want to be a group of guys who first and foremost love this game, love competing, and Dalvin’s one of those guys. It’s been good to spend time with him and see him. See him go about practice this week.


Ian O’Connor, Harper Collins: What is it about Aaron’s leadership ability or approach that has impressed you the most or has surprised you? Something maybe you didn’t know you were getting from him in that context.

I go back to the leadership approach, I go back to the same word, the authenticity of him just being able to really get real with these guys and build these relationships with first-and second-year players that grew up watching him play, but he’s able to relate with them, and have the special handshakes, have these real bonds with these guys. Again, it’s fun to watch.


Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: How much do you think the feedback that he’s been giving these young guys can help their development?

I think when we said we traded for him, when you bring up a player like him, it’s going to raise the level of everybody. I think he does that, his feedback, his insight, his tips, I think it’s been showcased pretty well on 1JD and Hard Knocks. What he’s seen? He seen everything and he can un-part little nuggets and little pieces of wisdom to every single player and not just offense. He does it defensively too. When you have a guy that can do that everyone’s level of playing is going to go up.


Steve Serby, The New York Post: How excited are you about your defensive line number one, and number two, do you feel pressure to win? You personally.

Well first, yeah you feel pressure to win every day, every day you walk in here. I feel like we embrace that, but on the D- line (defensive line) specifically we have a bunch of Junk yard dogs and they play so hard, it’s a real credit to Coach Saleh to Coach (Jeff) Ulbrich to Coach (Aaron) Whitecotton Shaq (Wilson) and these guys, they push themselves every day. It’s a race to the ball, it’s a race to the quarterback. The effort, the motor, the mentality of the explosiveness, and they all push each other, they all play so hard. It’s great to see every day.


Brian Costello, New York Post: How do you feel about your wide receiver room?

I’m excited about the wide receiver room. I feel like the wide receiver room is a little symbolic of our team because it’s a unique group, mix of vets and young players. You got (Randall) Cobb, you have Allen (Lazard), you got Mecole (Hardman Jr.) and then you got a group of first-and second-year players in Garrett (Wilson), (Jason) Brownlee, Zay (Xavier Gipson), and Big Swerve (Irvin Charles). It’s a pretty cool group.


Connor Hughes, SNY: With (Jason) Brownlee, when did you kind of realize you had something in there?

I think early. Early in OTA’s. He made some unbelievable plays. He’s a big body with really soft hands. I think with both of those young undrafted wide receivers that made the team, they both came in with the right mindset and mentality. They kind of attacked it as pros from day one, while having that youthful energy. I think with Brownlee, definitely it’s his length, it’s his ball skills, catch radius, he has good route skills for a bigger guy. Here look, there’s some j-o-b-s, j-o-t-s, that each one if these guys can get a little better on, but he opened eyes early, as did Zay (Xavier Gipson).


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: When you talk about pressure, do you feel pressure every day? Is that different? Is it more now for you because of the expectations or has it always been?

I feel like it’s always been there. Whether things are going good, whether things are going bad. It’s just life in the National Football League. Every day you walk in the building you don’t want to let your teammates down, you don’t want to let the players down, you don’t want to let the staff down, you don’t want to let any of these guys down, any of your teammates down.