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Jets GM aims to support Darnold with OL, playmakers

Since taking over as the New York Jets' general manager, Joe Douglas has had one main goal: Support quarterback Sam Darnold.

In a conference call Wednesday, Douglas recalled telling Darnold's parents last preseason that buffering the signal-caller was his first priority. That task remains.

"I promised I was going to do everything in my power to take care of Sam with protection and playmakers," Douglas said, via the Associated Press. "I think we still have a lot to do in both those regards moving forward. I think we've done our best to attack some of the issues we had in the past."

In 13 starts last season, Darnold was sacked 33 times and was under heavy pressure often behind a shaky offensive line. In attempting to reshape the O-line this offseason, the Jets have signed center Connor McGovern, guard Greg Van Roten and tackle George Fant, while re-signing guard Alex Lewis.

"That's our focus, is doing everything we can to help Sam succeed," Douglas said. "The one thing we didn't want, we just didn't want a situation where Sam was just going to have to be under fire all the time with protection issues."

None of the additions to the blocking unit were big splashes, and Douglas is expected to look toward the draft later this month to continue to build.

"I think there's a real shortage of quality offensive linemen in the National Football League," he said. "So, we're going to try to do our best to get as many quality ones as we can because you can never have too many. We're going to try to keep it simple with guys that are smart, tough and versatile."

Along with upgrading the offensive line, Douglas is tasked with providing Darnold more weapons entering the QB's third season. Wideout Robby Anderson left for Carolina, with Gang Green signing Breshad Perriman as a replacement. The pass-catching group is one the GM would still like to bolster.

"We're going to keep addressing playmakers moving forward," Douglas said.

With a deep draft at the receiver position, the Jets should add to the wideout crew, whether it's with the No. 11 pick or in later rounds.

With Darnold's up-and-down play through two seasons, Douglas understands there is still work to be done as the young, talented quarterback enters a pivotal season.

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