When I got hired to work in pro scouting with the New York Jets, it did not take me long to see how awesome the team’s fan-base was.
I will never forget all the fans who packed in to watch the pre-season scrimmage across the street from Hofstra University, or the scene prior to kickoff at The Meadowlands before the AFC Divisional Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
I was riding in one of the police escort led buses and as we made the turn into the parking lot of the stadium, all I could see was a sea of green and white Jets flags waving in the wind…kids playing catch ….and Jets fans as far as I could see out my window.
J-E-T-S ….JETS…JETS…JETS…was deafening roar inside the stadium as Fireman Ed led the crowd.
The scene after the game ended was surreal as well. The Jets had won! Confetti was raining from the sky… fans were jumping up and down…and the feeling of pure excitement filled the air. The scoreboard was flashing, “Up next, AFC Championship Game….”
It is a scene that is forever frozen in my heart, mind, soul and in my imagination.
I am sorry Jets fans about quarterback (QB) Zach Wilson. It was heart-breaking last weekend watching you all have a chance to get back into the stadium, after the covid thing last year. I could feel the anticipation, I could feel the hope and I could feel your expectations…
As Zach Wilson’s most outspoken critic in America, I was the only person yelling, “Don’t do it,” prior to the draft and I was verbally slapped silly for saying it…
I really liked QB Sam Darnold. I even gave him a good grade when I evaluated him in 2019. It was not his fault everything fell apart. He was part of the solution – – not part of the problem and now he is showing us that in Carolina. He may even make the Pro Bowl this season.
I would never have gotten rid of running back Le’Veon Bell at the time and I never would have traded safety Jamal Adams either, I loved both of those guys. They were integral pieces to the Jets’ puzzle. I loved how they played the game. Unfortunately, team general manager (GM) Joe Douglas seemed to be more interested in long-term job security and his ability to sell potential (with draft picks), than deal with his team building skills being exposed?
Remember also who hired Adam Gase?
It’s the same guy who drafted Wilson.
Everything Zach Wilson has done for the last two weeks was on film at BYU. Every. Single. Thing. I watched every one of his throws last season. I watched all of his runs. All the clues were there – – including the erratic ball placement. Receivers at BYU were jumping and sliding all over the place, and his long balls were inaccurate as hell, it was like watching someone throw NBA jump balls, and that was even with a smaller football they use in college opposed to the larger NFL-sized regulation football.
As much as it might piss you all off to hear this (because of your awesome support and hopes for the Jets), this is not going to get better. This is who Zach Wilson is. I am sorry about all the false narratives out there that got you to believe in this crap, to get your support and your dollars again.
I want to see the Jets win another Super Bowl and I have the plan and staff in place that can win it for you guys next season. I am serious. I know how to do this. I have the most aggressive coach in football and I have the greatest motivators and outside-the-box thinkers ready to go.
I was hoping Douglas would have traded out of the second pick and landed a Miami type of windfall (three-four number ones) and kept Darnold. Douglas then would have had enough fire power to build a powerhouse much like the amount of draft picks the Dallas Cowboys had back in the ‘90’s for the Herschel Walker trade. I wanted 3-4 high impact supporting players to build around Darnold’s experience.
Anyways, what is done is done. I just want you all to know, I read your comments and I know they are all driven by your passion and commitment to the team. I do not take offense. I know where you are all coming from. You want to win. I get it. I am truly sorry that Wilson is not who you were led to believe he is. I hate how these major outlets control these money driven narratives that seem to have influence this awesome fan-base. If I am ever given the opportunity, I will hand you guys another Lombardi. Hell, I may even make some you guys my scouts. I want the people who care the most and have the most passion out there doing the evaluating because that is all you will be able to see in the prospects.
I love you guys – and thank you for some of the best memories of my life,
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.