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Former Pro Bowl QB: Jets’ Saleh has ‘no idea’ how to develop QB

Robert Saleh, NY Jets, HC, Head Coach, Alex Smith
Robert Saleh, New York Jets, Getty Images

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh got ridiculed by a former No. 1 overall pick

It’s not a secret that there are differing beliefs on how the New York Jets handled Zach Wilson‘s development. Some place the blame for Wilson’s NFL failures solely on Wilson himself, while others believe the Jets set him up for failure and didn’t give him the proper time (or tools) to develop.

Before the Jets parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, he admitted that the team should have handled the quarterback situation differently. Recently, we also saw Joe Douglas’ take on the situation. Douglas believes first-round quarterbacks should be ready to start once drafted, but he admitted that the team didn’t properly help the BYU product develop.

Co-hosting a segment on SiriusXM Radio, former Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith talked about the development of young quarterbacks under rookie head coaches. While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kyle Trask’s development (under former Jets head coach Todd Bowles) was the original point of discussion, the Jets and Robert Saleh caught a stray from the former 49ers quarterback.

“Yeah, Robert Saleh, you’re a great defensive mind and coordinator, but like you have no idea how to develop a quarterback. The coordinator you hired never called plays,” Smith said. “So that’s a completely different animal. And as much as you think you’re prepared to handle that development of a young kid, you’re just not.”

Saleh has consistently commented on the Jets’ desire to continue developing Zach Wilson, but actions speak louder than words.

After a rough year in 2022, Wilson was benched for Mike White after his 77-yard passing performance against the New England Patriots in Week 11. Wilson was given another chance in Week 15 against the Detroit Lions, but was benched again for Chris Streveler after another horrific showing against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football in Week 16.

This season, the Jets will be starting future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. With the Jets unlikely to pick up Wilson’s fifth-year option next offseason, time will tell if Wilson’s story in New York has been told – or if his second act is yet to come.

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Jonathan Richter
1 year ago

I don’t think it’s the head coach’s job to develop the QB. The head coach is responsible for too many other things to pay that much attention to one position, especially an offensive position when you’re a defensive coach. It’s the GM’s job to put in place the OC, and the QB coach, to do that development. Greg Knapp would have been the perfect guy to develop Zach, but we all know what happened.

Unfortunately, JD didn’t respond to that situation very well. Calabrese hasn’t done anything and with Todd Downing here I’m wondering why Calabrese is even still here. JD has also admitted that he should have had a veteran QB in camp, at a minimum to help Zach out, but maybe also to start while Zach learns. Aaron Rodgers sat for 3 behind behind Favre, and Chad Pennington sat for 2 years behind Vinny. Fortunately,

I am optimistic that Nate Hackett will make things easier for Zach, and watching ARod go about his business can’t hurt. I’d also like to see another vet brought in , like Bridgewater or Ryan or Wentz, to stand next to Zach on the sidelines and let him know what he should be looking for.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jonathan Richter
Jim G
1 year ago

I will give Alex Smith’s opinion on QB development some credit since he was a No. 1 overall pick who did not develop who did not develop as everyone expected for a No. 1 overall pick. In hindsight, he probably looks back and sees things which could have been done differently for him.

But Coach Saleh’s status as a defensive mastermind doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to develop a QB. Everyone else signed off on the decision to bring in a rookie OC with a rookie HC and a rookie QB. At least the Jets are admitting mistakes were made and probably won’t make that mistake again.

Conversely, would anyone seriously say Bill Belichick knows how to develop a QB because of the way Tom Brady turned out?

1 year ago

The funny thing is we give these players and ex-players the benefit of knowing these things. Umm..Alex Smith, you never won anything, and never coached a professional position let a lone a team, maybe you don’t know what you’re talking about. Just because you played QB doesn’t mean you’re an authority on coaching a QB.

Most of these current player and recent ex-player opinions are nothing more than a popularity thing. They are all about buddy/buddy.

Hey Alex, does that Wild Card loss where you blew the 38-10 lead in Indy mean you don’t know anything about how to play QB? Does one performance like that define your entire career? Go suck an egg. I’m tired of these guys throwing shots across the bow when there is no risk of getting one thrown back at you.

Struck a nerve today.

Jonathan Richter
1 year ago

Ok, so defensive coaches like Saleh and Bowles can’t develop QBs. That what OCs and QB coaches are for.