The Jets haven’t played in the postseason in more than 10 years, but their newest players expect that to change very soon.
Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins and defensive end Vinny Curry won a lot of games in New Orleans and Philadelphia, respectively. But they had no reservations or hesitation about joining the Jets because they believe general manager Joe Douglas is building something and new coach Robert Saleh will get the most out of players.
"One thing I feel like I got a good eye for is leaders of men," Rankins said during a Zoom on Tuesday afternoon. "I feel like that’s what we got with Robert Saleh.
"It’s not going to be easy to essentially turn around an organization that, let’s just be completely honest, hasn’t won a lot of games in a while. But when you got someone at the helm that demands excellence and you bring in guys that demand excellence that does nothing but have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the roster."
Curry knew Douglas from his days as the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel. They won Super Bowl LII together, one year after Doug Pederson became a first-time NFL head coach. Curry sees similarities, and said the situation was "too good to pass up."
"Just to see Saleh and Joe Douglas and everybody, just to see where they’re trying to take this ship, I just want to be aboard," Curry said. "I just wanted to get on this ship. I’ve seen this ship before when coach Pederson took over in Philadelphia. I’ve seen this ship before, and I just wanted to be a part of it."
The Jets went 2-14 last season, but they are positioned to improve quickly depending on how Douglas does in the upcoming draft.
With the No. 2 pick, the Jets are expected to take BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. They have 10 picks overall, including another first-rounder. Douglas should be able to fill many holes with those picks and has the flexibility to be very active in trades.
Douglas already has improved the defensive line in a big way with the signings of edge rusher Carl Lawson, Rankins and Curry. The D-Line already was a strength with cornerstone tackle Quinnen Williams and improving tackle Foley Fatukasi returning.
Under Saleh, Curry believes the Jets’ front could "be a force." Rankins said they "could so some damage."
"The great thing about talent on the defensive line is you can’t double everybody," said Rankins, who signed a two-year deal. "When you look at the depth on this defensive line there’s not a lot of guys you can truly give many one-on-ones to and those guys not win.
"Listen, I’ll be extremely happy if they decide to double everybody else and give me all the one-on ones. That will be a beautiful thing, a beautiful thing. I’ll take all those every game and I like me to win most of mine."
Rankins, who played with Drew Brees the past five seasons, isn’t concerned about a rookie quarterback leading the Jets. He knows it will take time for everything to come together, but he believes it will.
"The organization is going to put the best product onto the field," Rankins said. "If that happens to be a rookie quarterback, I’ll be confident in him to go out there and lead this organization to wins. Just as he’s going to be confident in me and the defense to go out there and get stops and get him the ball back. It all goes hand-in-hand.
"This organization is trying to do things the right way and turn things around."