The Jets have a new leader of their football operations department. The team also finally has a new team president. That’s a lot of new leadership for a team that has been in flux since last year. The team announced on Monday that they have hired former Texans vice president of football administration Rick Smith as their new team president.
It has been a few days since the New York Jets hired Steve McClendon as the team’s new director of player personnel. As part of the deal, McClendon was named to serve as the team’s new team leader, replacing former general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
The New York Jets have a lot of new faces this offseason, but none more eye-catching than that of safety Jamal Adams. The team found a leader in the second round of the draft that will carry on the legacy of safety Steve McLendon, who led the Jets from 2005-2009. Adams has been compared to the safety from all corners after his impressive combine workouts, and they just might have found themselves another star.
Getty On November 29, 2023, New York Jets defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi celebrates a sack. During the preseason for the New York Jets in 2023, a few players stepped out as leaders of this new Green & White core.
C.J. Mosleys and Marcus Mayes, as well as Greg Van Roten and Corey Davis, are among the few veterans who have been forced into these positions, whether they like it or not. However, one player in particular has stood out.
Folorunso Fatukasi, a defensive tackle, not only matches the leadership position he’s taken on, but he also seems to be ready for it. As a previous sixth-round selection in the NFL in 2018, the former UCONN prospect comes from modest origins.
In five years of chances, he was probably ex-GM Mike Maccagnan’s top overall choice, growing into one of the NFL’s hardest run-stuffing defensive lineman. In terms of culture-building, Fatukasi is often present in pregame huddles, energizing his teammates.
Foley Fatukasi is in the midst of the squad huddle, motivating them for the MetLife practice.
August 7, 2023 — Brian Costello (@BrianCoz)
The nose tackle is a three-year Jets veteran, making him one of the team’s longest-serving players, and he seems to have accepted these critical responsibilities in stride. Of course, he had some assistance from one of the greatest when it came to studying.
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Fatukasi is channeling Steve McLendon
Play “We Want To Be A Really, Really Good D-Line” | Foley Fatukasi Media Availability | Play “We Want To Be A Really, Really Good D-Line” | Foley Fatukasi Media Availability The New York Jets are a professional football team based in New York, New York On Monday, August 9, 2023, Folorunso Fatukasi talks to the media after a training camp session. Subscribe to the YT channel of the New York Jets: bit.ly/2KRtBJd #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL newyorkjets.com/2021-08-09T19:29:16Z For more Jets news, visit newyorkjets.com/2021-08-09T19:29:16Z
Fatukasi spoke to the media for the first time at training camp this season on August 9.
“I feel fairly comfortable about us,” the DT started, “but that’s not to say — you know, we realize that we still have a lot of work to do to keep honing our tools, but I feel like we’re progressing and taking the proper steps.”
He stated that everyone in the defensive line room is “selfless,” but none of the Jets’ defensive lineman exemplified this quality more than Fatukasi’s mentor, Steve McLendon.
For four and a half seasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2023 Super Bowl winner was a member of Gang Green. During that time, he imparted a great deal of knowledge to fellow defensive tackle Fatukasi, despite the fact that the possibility finally rendered him superfluous.
Fatukasi was “giving off some Steve McLendon vibes” at the presser, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, who asked the big man whether the two had stayed in contact since he was moved to Tampa.
“Ah man, big Steve, clearly you guys know I could speak a lot about him,” Fatukasi said. He’s been a great friend, mentor, and brother to many people… I was lucky to have him around, as were we as players [and] as friends, but as he would remind me, “the show goes on, and you have to keep going.”
The Jets defensive tackle went on to say that the two still speak “on a regular basis.” Fatukasi said it’s “simply as easy as everyone doing their job” to match the Bucs’ level of success.
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Defense suffers a setback, and ‘Standard Must Remain High’
“There’s A Level Of Play That We Want To Maintain” | Foley Fatukasi Presser | The New York Jets | NFLDT Folorunso Fatukasi talks to the media after the team’s second preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Subscribe to the YT channel of the New York Jets: bit.ly/2KRtBJd #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL
On August 21, Fatukasi commented on Carl Lawson’s injury, once again showing a McLendon-like viewpoint.
“To be honest, losing Carl was a shock, but one thing we learned after speaking with him is that he doesn’t feel sorry for himself, and he reminds us, ‘hey, the bar needs to remain high, you guys have to keep performing’… We understand what we need to accomplish and how we need to keep moving forward after hearing those comments from him,” Fatuksi said.
Fatukasi is both, while Lawson has always appeared to be more of a lead-by-example type. He described the fierce edge rusher as a “men of faith” who “sees a larger vision,” suggesting that the Jets must do the same.
He subsequently clarified, “Just because [one player] is down, doesn’t imply the quality of play decreases.”
Fatukasi discussed how the New York attitude has influenced him on One Jets Drive. “Being a New Yorker means being a rough, grizzled individual. Nothing is going to be given to you; you have to fight for what you want.”
Because, despite his Nigerian background, ‘Foley’ is a Queens native. Because he represents the spirit of the Big Apple, it seems that the hard-nosed defensive lineman was meant to symbolize the city.
In the end, his unit’s objective for 2023 is straightforward. “We want to be a very excellent D-line, and we have high standards for ourselves and each other. We know what we need to do, where we need to go, and where we need to concentrate our efforts. There are a lot of things we want to achieve in terms of what we want to accomplish, but it only comes from the amount of effort we put in here every day.”
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