New York Jets owner and chairman Woody Johnson, apparently not shaken by his team's 1-5 start and historic loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, expressed "unwavering, steadfast confidence" Tuesday in general manager Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh.
"I've been around for, this is going on 22 years, with my little absence that I had recently, and this is a good group," Johnson told reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Manhattan. "We will get it right. Last week, you know, [was] frustrating, but now we turn the page and we're off to the Bengals."
Johnson, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2017 to 2020, returned to the team in January, shortly after it had hired Saleh, formerly the San Francisco 49ers' defensive coordinator.
The Jets have the youngest roster in the league, so there figured to be growing pains, but they hit rock bottom with a 54-13 loss the Patriots -- their most points allowed since 1979. To make it worse, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson sprained his right knee, which will sideline him for two to four weeks.
It was an unusually early vote of confidence, but Johnson, 74, took the time to explain why he has so much faith in Saleh and Douglas, who was hired in June 2019.
"Just talking to the leadership -- Joe, Robert, and seeing how their plans are put together," Johnson said. "How they're deep thinkers, they want to do things like establish a culture and they're getting the right players in the right positions.
"It's just a very young team with a young quarterback," he continued. "He's 22 years old, he just turned 22. So he's seeing things for the first time like a lot of the quarterbacks now, a lot of the young quarterbacks. It's going to take him a little bit of time, but I have a lot of confidence in Zach, too."
In Johnson's 17 seasons of ownership, not counting his four seasons overseas, the Jets have made the playoffs six times. Those appearances came from 2001 to 2010. The team's 10-year drought is the longest active streak in the league.