The Jets are off to a miserable 1-5 start, they’re coming off a humiliating 54-13 road loss to the Patriots, and their rookie quarterback is out for up to a month with a knee injury.
But owner Woody Johnson remains confident in the direction of his team despite the poor record under general manager Joe Douglas and first-year coach Robert Saleh.
"I have unwavering, steadfast confidence in Joe, Robert and the coaching staff," Johnson said shortly before NFL owners gathered Tuesday for their annual fall meetings at the Intercontinental Hotel in New York. "I’ve been around — this is going on 22 years [as owner]. This is a good group. So we will get it right."
Why the confidence in the Douglas-Saleh partnership?
"Talking with Joe and Robert, and seeing how their plans are put together, how they’re deep thinkers," Johnson said. "I think they want to do things like establish a culture, and they’re getting the right players in the right positions."
Johnson didn’t hide his disappointment at losing to the Patriots, the team’s chief rival, whose coach, Bill Belichick, left Johnson’s Jets after declining to become Bill Parcells’ successor in 2000. The Patriots have since won six Super Bowl championships, while the Jets have made two AFC Championship Game appearances in that span.
"Last week was frustrating," he said. "But now we turn the page and we’re off to the Bengals [on Sunday at MetLife Stadium]."
Johnson insists he isn’t worried by Zach Wilson’s rookie struggles, and he is heartened that the posterior cruciate ligament injury to Wilson’s right knee won’t keep the quarterback out too long. Wilson is expected to be out 2-4 weeks.
"We’re just a very young team with a young quarterback," Johnson said. "[Wilson] just turned 22, so he’s seeing things for the first time, like a lot of the young quarterbacks now. It’s going to take him a little bit of time, but I have a lot of confidence in Zach, too."
Johnson declined to comment on the ongoing controversy regarding emails involving former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen, whose correspondence with coach Jon Gruden led to his resignation from the Raiders this month. Gruden used racist, misogynistic and homophobic language in emails he sent to Allen when Gruden was an ESPN analyst before joining the Raiders.
"That’s something between the league and various people," Johnson said. "I’m not going to really opine on that. We’re here for football."
He added that the owners "will be spending a lot of time on diversity and inclusion and all of that in trying to help our game, which we’re working on. I know that’s a critical part."
Asked if the league should be more transparent with the investigation involving workplace misconduct within the WFT, which resulted in team owner Daniel Snyder being temporarily stripped of day-to-day operations, Johnson said, "It’s very, very important, and I think those issues are very transparent."