Robert Saleh responds to Rex Ryan
Following the New York Jets’ 45-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills, former Jets head coach Rex Ryan made headlines with his extremely candid criticism of Robert Saleh’s coaching.
“Don’t ever compare this guy to me,” Ryan said of Saleh on ESPN’s DiPietro & Rothenberg radio show in New York. “This guy is supposed to be a defensive guru … this team doesn’t play with any damn heart.”
Those quotes are only the tip of the iceberg. Ryan held nothing back in an all-out Cover 0 blitz on Saleh’s performance and career background.
Saleh was asked about Ryan’s comments at his Monday press conference – ironically, on the same radio station where Ryan made his statements that morning.
On ESPN’s The Michael Kay Show, Saleh said that he doesn’t know Ryan and never met him, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
From there, Saleh did not exactly go with a cookie-cutter answer to shoot down the controversy.
“Obviously, if it’s that personal for him, he knows where to find me, ” Saleh said.
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Saleh said he was not surprised by Ryan’s comments, acknowledging the former coach’s knack for speaking his mind.
“Nah, I’m not surprised by him,” Saleh said. “He’s always got something to say.”
Saleh was a nearly unanimously praised hire when the Jets picked him to lead their team back in January. But now that his team sits at 2-7 with an NFL-worst average point differential of -15.0, it appears his honeymoon period is long gone. The former San Francisco defensive coordinator is starting to get a feel for what it’s like to struggle in the New York sports market.
The brunt of the criticism for Saleh stems from the fact that the team’s biggest problem is its defense, which is the side of the ball he hails from. New York is allowing an all-time franchise-record 32.9 points per game, the worst mark in the NFL this season.
Five of the Jets’ next six opponents rank in the bottom-10 of total yards per game this season. Saleh and the Jets’ defense have an opportunity to either take advantage of the soft stretch to end their woes or perpetuate them by continuing to sputter against teams that are far from intimidating.
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