The New York Jets have a Ravens flavor, one that impresses Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta but does not concern him.
During this offseason, the Jets have made former Ravens national scout Joe Douglas their general manager and recently added two more former Ravens front office assistants in Chad Alexander and Phil Savage. Alexander, the Ravens’ assistant director of pro and college personnel for the past nine seasons, is New York’s director of player personnel, and Savage was named a senior adviser to Douglas.
Only Alexander’s departure will have a significant impact on the Ravens because he was still under contract. Douglas and Savage haven’t been with the Ravens for years, but their names will give the Jets credibility, which New York hasn’t had in years.
The Jets’ last winning record was 10-6 in 2015, and before that it was 11-5 in 2010. Maybe now — maybe, just maybe — with the addition of the Ravens trio, the Jets can close the distance between them and the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
“I am not in their building but I respect the Jets organization,” DeCosta said. “They have added exceptional football guys in Joe and obviously, Chad. They have also added some talented guys who have played for us in the past. If you add some players and make a couple of good moves, you can turn things around quickly.
“Some teams that didn’t do well last year will come up and surprise people this season, and some who won last year will struggle this season. That’s the beauty of this league. That’s what makes the NFL fun.”
The Jets needed someone like Douglas. From 2000 to 2015, he worked with the Ravens as a scout and as a player personnel assistant under former Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, who resigned at the end of last season.
Starting in 2016, Douglas served as the Philadelphia Eagles’ vice president of personnel, helping build the team’s Super Bowl LII champion roster. He has a quiet demeanor, much like the man who tutored him, Newsome.
“Joe is an excellent scout,” DeCosta said. “When he speaks, people listen. He doesn’t talk a lot, but he is smart and commands respect when he does speak. When he talks, it carries a lot of weight. He was trained really well by Ozzie and always has a good overall picture. He knows a good football player when he sees one.”
Alexander was with the Ravens for 20 years and provided some key scouting reports on rookies the team ended up drafting, such as outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, offensive tackle Michael Oher and conrerback-safety Lardarius Webb. He was also instrumental in evaluating free agents and poring over the rosters of opponents’ scout teams.
“Chad was extremely loyal, extremely hardworking,” DeCosta said. “He was great in the community and a great family man. Another guy who started out in college but worked a lot in pro personnel. He is a good evaluator and in finding talent on other teams, other rosters, through free agency. He had a really good feel for finding other players who fit our team.”
DeCosta said there is no urgency to replace Alexander. Nearly a year ago, the team hired Bobby Vega as its East Coast scout even though there was no opening. The Ravens have revamped their scouting department, beginning with owner Steve Bisciotti’s plan to do so shortly after the 2018 season.
Savage was one of the team’s main architects when the Ravens moved to Baltimore for the 1996 season, serving as director of college scouting (1996-2002) and director of player personnel (2003-2004). Besides winning a Super Bowl title with the team in the 2000 season, he also played a major part in the Ravens drafting three Hall of Fame players in left tackle Jonathan Ogden, middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed.
In addition to inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, who signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Jets this offseason, New York has three other former Ravens on its roster, including receivers Deonte Thompson and Tim White and left guard Kelechi Osemele.
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“Phil is a great football man with tremendous skills in a lot of different areas,” DeCosta said. “He will be a great resource for Joe D. Overall, though, I think we’re in pretty good shape. I hate to lose a guy like Chad, who was a great friend to me and many in the department. But we made some changes in January and announced them in May. We have a good group of young and veteran guys. I think we’re in a good position with what we have.”