Joe Douglas is scheduled to speak with reporters on Tuesday via Zoom, a rare public appearance from his Florham Park cocoon.
The last time we heard from the Jets general manager was just before this season began when he spoke about how insulted the team was at the blatant disrespect it was encountering from prognosticators.
“Our guys don’t live in a bubble, we see the things that are said, we see the things that are written,” Douglas said in early September. “It angers a lot of people.”
Two months, eight losses and zero wins later, you have to wonder where Douglas’ anger lies now with the team he saw go 7-9 a year ago now spiraling at 0-8 after he spent his first full offseason with the club reconstructing the roster.
And now, in a twist that fits perfectly with the mayhem that 2020 has delivered to date, the Jets’ next opponent, the reeling 2-5 Patriots, represent perhaps their best chance at winning a game, their best chance to avoid going 0-16.
This raises a Tuesday question for Douglas, who has recently sold off two defensive starters for future draft picks (defensive tackle Steve McLendon and linebacker Avery Williamson): Does he even want to win next Monday night’s game against the Patriots … or any game the rest of this season for that matter?
Smart money has Douglas preparing to trade away Sam Darnold and starting over at quarterback by drafting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1-overall pick in April.
Smarter money has the Jets earning that No. 1-overall pick and possibly doing so while posting a perfectly imperfect 0-16 record.
But wouldn’t it be so very Jets if they defeated the Patriots on Monday night, thus damaging their chances to pick first in the 2021 draft?
In a way, the Patriots, who have beaten the Jets in the past eight meetings, 11 of the past 12 and 16 of the past 18, would actually defeat the Jets again by losing Monday night. Because, do you think Patriots coach Bill Belichick wants to play Trevor Lawrence twice a year in the AFC East?
On Tuesday, Belichick wanted no part of talking about how far his franchise has fallen without Tom Brady. What he was perfectly willing to talk about, however, is how good he thinks the winless and toothless Jets are.
“I think they’ve played very competitive,’’ Belichick said of the team that’s been outscored by 144 points, an average losing margin of 18 points per game.
“The offense is improved,’’ he said of an offense that’s produced seven TDs in eight games.
“Darnold’s playing better,’’ he said of the Jets quarterback who’s regressed this season, having thrown only three TD passes in six games.
“The defense is aggressive,’’ he said of a Jets defense that on Sunday allowed Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to throw for 416 yards and five TDs and didn’t put a fingerprint on his jersey.
“Adam does a great job of game-planning, and is always hard to prepare for defensively,’’ he said of a Gase offense that produced 4 yards in the entire second half of a loss to Buffalo two weeks ago and two first downs in the second half of Sunday’s loss in Kansas City.
“They get a little better each week,’’ Belichick said, now fully warmed up. “Their record doesn’t show it, but looking at them on film … they’re a lot better than they were last year.’’
This was all said without the aid of a laugh track.
Listening to Belichick’s assessment of the Jets, you’d think he was on Joe Douglas’ payroll.
Douglas, since he was hired and given a six-year contract, has gotten a free pass for the past two seasons while Gase has taken more shots to the jaw than Mike Tyson’s opponents in his prime.
But Douglas’ fingerprints are all over this roster that’s performing worse than the one a year ago did — before he rebuilt the offensive line and replaced receiver Robby Anderson (51 receptions, 688 yards, 1 TD) with Breshad Perriman (11 for 118 and no TDs) among other dubious moves.
So, on Tuesday Douglas speaks for the first time since the season began. He’ll be asked a lot of questions he won’t answer with any transparency — including whether he truly wants to beat the Patriots on Monday and possibly spoil his plan to draft No. 1 overall.
Here’s to wishing someone spikes his morning coffee with truth serum.