General Manager Joe Douglas and Head Coach Robert Saleh, 4.28 (2023 NFL Draft Day Two)

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Opening Statement

Joe Douglas: Fired up to add big Joe (Tippmann) to the team and his Wisconsin waterfall. Probably the best mullet in the Draft right now. Again, excellent size, excellent feet, can bend, great on the move, I feel like he’s a natural fit for our offensive style and a guy that even though he’s only played center, with his size of 6’6”, 300 pounds, his athleticism, he can provide a lot of versatility to our interior which has been a hallmark of our interior. Just fired up to have him.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: You talk about the nastiness the offensive linemen bring, is that what you’re looking for?

JD: Yeah, he brings athleticism, he brings toughness, he brings intelligence and he’s going to be a good fit with our guys.


Rich Cimini, In all of your years of scouting, to have a 6’6” center, how unusual is that? Can you think of someone similar?

JD: I remember Max Unger. Max Unger was a taller center, Ethan Pocic currently with the Browns, he’s a taller center, but they come in all shapes and sizes.


Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: How much does him just being able to call out plays at the line of scrimmage and make checks and reads just kind of stick out to you during the process?

JD: Yeah, I mean he’s a guy that’s an unbelievable communicator. Very intelligent, quick grasp of the offense there in Madison and able to control the huddle. That means a lot, the center has to be the core of the interior, core of the offensive line, so has to be able to communicate, take control.


Brian Costello, New York Post: You guys brought back Connor (McGovern) on Monday, do you view this as a competition in training camp between the two of them?

Robert Saleh: Yeah, you guys know how we are, everyone’s competing. Doesn’t matter where you get drafted, doesn’t matter what you get paid, you’re coming in to compete to begin with, so it’s going to be an open competition.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Is Joe considered somebody that could play, is he a pro-ready center or is he a little bit more developmental?

JD: Oh man, I think he’s played in a pro-style offense and with his experience, he started in a lot of games in the Big 10, played a lot of high-level interior players, interior defenders so, like Coach said, great opportunity for him to come in and compete. We have a lot of talented interior guys, so should be a good group moving forward.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: You guys have also been linked to Ben Jones, the free agent center, does this with retaining Connor, drafting Joe does that probably take you out of those conversations?

JD: We’ve had some really good talks with Ben. Our options are always going to be open when it comes to that and really, really talent player so, you know, we’ll see how things progress, but obviously feel good about where we’re at right now.


Brian Costello, New York Post: What kind of traits does an interior offensive lineman need for you guys, this offense and what does Joe have that fits that?

JD: Obviously, it’s intelligence, we’re looking for smart guys. Smart, tough, reliable guys and athleticism is a big part of that too. Just being able to get out in the move, being able to move laterally, reach, reach guys, scoop guys, get up the second level, being able to get out on pulls, screens, so, those are some of the key traits.


Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: Joe, why aren’t there more 6’6” centers? You’ve scouted the position forever, I’m not talking about him – but is it a leverage thing, is it their pad levels are too high, why generally don’t you see 6’6” centers?

JD: That’s a good question, you know, Matt Birk, another taller center that I’ve been around that’s had a lot of success in the League. Look, they really do come in all shapes and sizes, I guess you could say some teams prefer a more shorter, squattier guy, but I think at the end of the day you’re looking for smart, tough, reliable, athletic.


Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Robert, and Joe also, both of you, with a center, especially a rookie coming in, and now you have a veteran quarterback, how important is it for them to kind of get together quickly and know each other and the way they work?

Robert Saleh: Yeah, I think it’s very important for all of them to get together. He is booked by, that center position is surrounded, you got AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker) who’s got experience now, he’s going into his third year. You got Laken (Tomlinson) who’s played a long time and then you’ve got a quarterback behind them that has played a long time too. So, there’s a lot of experience around him, and in that room when you talk about Connor. Connor’s played a lot of football in this League and he’s going to be an asset also for the young kid to be able to lean on and learn off of. So, get them here as quickly as possible, that o-line you want it to gel, in a perfect world the same five play 17 games and then you’re rolling, but yeah, you want him in here as quickly as possible.


Dennis Waszak: In that quarterback, center exchange, that relationship is kind of unique too though?

RS: Yeah, you’re probably going to have to ask the quarterback on that one. It’s probably a personal thing.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, the way the spring has evolved, OTAs, offensive linemen and defensive linemen haven’t been doing a lot because you guys are trying to keep them healthy, how does that change for a rookie offensive lineman and how do you get him up to speed in the Spring?

RS: They still do a lot individual, we still do a lot of walk throughs, so there’s going to be a lot of learning it’s just going to be more mental than it is physical. The individual will be the physical aspect of it. We’re not going to bang obviously without having pads on, but it’s a great set up in my opinion for o-line and d-line to learn from the mental part of it, to go in slow motion and just work on your targeting, work on your technique and work on all that stuff, so while we may not be banging, so you may not be getting the physical part of it, he’s definitely still going to get the mental part of it.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Aside from the tape and everything you guys saw when you had the visit with him, is there something that stood out?

JD: He’s a fun guy to talk to. You can tell how passionate he is about the game. He’s got a Jets connection as his high school coach was Jason Fabini, former o-lineman here. That’s a cool thing. I didn’t talk personally to Jason, but he talked to a few people in the building and he loves Joe. He’s (Joe) got a great personality, he’s got just a blue-collar demeanor, so he’s going to fit right in.


Rich Cimini, Joe, was there a thought to try to obtain a third-round pick?

JD: Yeah, there were a few conversations leading into the Draft, ultimately, nothing materialized for us.


Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: Robert, with the center position with McGovern and Tippmann, Tippmann’s obviously a really good prospect, but some people would say are you really going to start a rookie center with Aaron Rodgers, how would you respond to that?

RS: Aaron’s done it before, he’s had a rookie the last couple of years. If the rookie does his job and he wins it, I think he’ll earn the respect of his peers.