Jets must do this – there is no way around it Dan Leberfeld

They need to do this, and they need to do this now!

The Jets need one central football chief who lords over their football operation.

Their current structure isn’t working.

Some people might be under the impression that GM Joe Douglas is the Jets’ football boss, but not entirely.

He makes all the player personnel decisions, like running the draft, signing free agents, and cutting players.

However, he has no power over the head coach or his staff. With the Jets’ current power structure, the GM picks the players, and the head coach, Adam Gase, coaches the team, and decides who plays, and who doesn’t, on game day.

Gase and Douglas both report equally to the owner.

You can make an argument this set-up might not be ideal. Why?

Well let’s apply it to the current situation.

Douglas is probably the smartest football guy in the building.

And let’s say he thinks that Gase should give up offensive play-calling to Dowell Loggains or Jim Bob Cooter, and take more of a 30,000 view, and focus more on all three phases, Douglas is not empowered to tell the head coach that. It’s not his job. While Douglas decides who’s on the roster, he’s not Gase’s boss.

And let’s say Douglas sees game plan issues, or problems with how certain players are being used, he’s not in a position to say “boo” to Gase about it, because Gase doesn’t report to him.

And honestly, if Douglas went to Johnson with his thoughts about the job Gase is doing, some would argue he would be stabbing the head coach in the back. He would be going to Johnson to criticize an equal, a department he doesn’t run, and a person who doesn’t work for him. In the corporate world, that’s probably a no-no.

With all due respect to the owner, his right-hand man Ira Axselrad and team president Hymie Elhai, they’re business people, and aren’t probably the best equipped to break down games and go to Gase with suggestions on what needs to change strategy- or staff-wise. This isn’t being flippant, just dealing with reality. As Bill Parcells always said, “Know who you are.”

And if the Jets do make a coaching change, no business people should be near the interview room. It needs to be a football chief doing all the interviews and picking the new coach, if the Jets chose to make a change.

So this is why the Jets need a football czar, who oversees the entire football operation, and who the coach reports to, and who will pick the next coach, if a change is made.

And that should probably be Douglas, a man who has three Super Bowl rings (two from Baltimore and one from Philly). It’s probably unfair to judge him harshly about the current state of the roster. He hasn’t been running the personnel department long, and had a major oil spill to clean up. His first #1 pick looks like a keeper. He got a king’s ransom for Jamal Adams, who is a really good player, but just like the Jets, the Seattle Seahawks can’t stop anybody through the air this year, and are giving up yards at an alarming rate. Whether you like it or not, getting two first-round picks (and more) for a box safety, is a nice haul.

Of course, with a czar, Christopher Johnson would still have final say on really big moves like Robert Kraft still has in New England, but on a day-to-day basis, 99 percent of the time, Bill Belichick is the football czar, and he makes all football decisions. Once in a blue moon, Kraft steps in, but it’s rare.

It’s time for the Jets to have a football czar.

There is no way around it.

If they don’t do it, they will just keep spinning their wheels.


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