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Kyle Shanahan takes subtle shot at Robert Saleh, NY Jets

Robert Saleh
Robert Saleh

The New York Jets’ head coach came up during Kyle Shanahan’s Wednesday media session

Three days removed from losing Super Bowl LVIII, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media on Wednesday, announcing the team is parting ways with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Coming up in the discussion was Shanahan’s former defensive coordinator with San Francisco, current New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh.

According to 49ers reporter Rob Guerrera, Shanahan said that hiring another energetic defensive coordinator isn’t something he necessarily wants. Saleh, of course, was known for his fervent energy during his time with San Francisco. This led Shanahan to say, “Watch Saleh now, he’s not that energetic.”

Clearly, Shanahan has taken notice of the Jets’ struggles and is trying to say that winning trumps everything else. It’s hard to get energetic when your team isn’t winning games.

Saleh was known as one of the most enthusiastic coaches in the NFL during his time with the 49ers. You would constantly see him on the sidelines screaming at the top of his lungs or running onto the field to jump up and down with his players.

While Saleh certainly still brings plenty of energy to the sidelines as the Jets’ head coach – you’ll occasionally see some moments just like the three shown above – it does feel like his overall enthusiasm and fire have dwindled a bit from where they were in San Francisco (at least based on what he shows publicly).

And how can you blame him? The Jets aren’t winning. Over three years, that will take its toll on anyone. If the team starts figuring out how to win some football games, that classic Saleh energy from San Francisco will surely return.

Of course, whether or not the Jets start earning those coveted victories is largely up to Saleh himself. In San Francisco, it was easy for him to be a ball of energy on the sidelines, as he only had to focus on one phase of the game. But as the head coach, you have to manage the entire game and monitor what’s going on in all three phases. It’s a completely different job.

So far, Saleh has not been up to that job, but he will get another chance to improve in 2024. He’ll be hoping to build a breakout similar to the one that Shanahan put together in his third season with San Francisco. Shanahan went 10-22 over his first two seasons with the 49ers before going 13-3 in 2019 and making it to the Super Bowl.

Saleh’s third season did not go quite as swimmingly, although the Jets had legitimate hopes of a similarly successful season before Aaron Rodgers got hurt. Team owner Woody Johnson seems content with giving Saleh a pass for 2023 and essentially viewing 2024 as his true third season.

With Rodgers (hopefully) healthy in 2024, the goal is for Saleh to follow in Shanahan’s footsteps as a young head coach who started off rocky but found their groove after getting time to figure things out.

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pat brady
pat brady
3 months ago

What does that even mean? Just a random cheap shot for no reason?

Shanahan is a great coach but he seems to tighten up late in these big games and get conservative. It’s like he’s afraid to make a mistake. No one wins being afraid to lose :-/

3 months ago

The role of the HC is to be more level with your emotions than when you are a coordinator. I don’t see it as a shot more as that role has changed. Honestly, I know a lot of fans are down on Saleh, it’s their right, but no coach would do well with the QB options he’s had in his 3 seasons, yet the team is better than when he got here.

For all of the “disaster” of last year they still won 7 games, and beat 3 playoff teams. They also proved they aren’t that far behind the Chiefs. Every coach has things in a game that fans, media etc. take issue with but the Saleh “hate” is a bit over the top.

Look at the heat Shanahan is taking….now it’s to the point where people are hanging wins and losses on coordinators as if the team doesn’t have a HC (Atlanta…or DC for that matter). It’s laughable.

I blame the NFL for allowing the “all-22” to be available and the instant replay. Now, everything is evaluated frame by frame, including coach’s decisions, by people who have no clue what is being coached by the team. I listened to a “talking head” say “I watched the film and Shanahan had no options for some of KC’s blitzes.” Really? How does he know that? He knows the play design? He knows the call? He knows if the QB had a check play and didn’t use it?

I’m to the point I shut off all the sports talk this week, it’s like dealing with an uncontrollable mob. Irrational, and obnoxious behavior. Sorry for the rant.

Here’s my prediction…Saleh is considered for coach of the year next season.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jets71
pat brady
pat brady
3 months ago
Reply to  Jets71

I agree with you about the talking heads. EVERYONE is an expert. The reality is there are WAY to many shows with way too much time to fill. Everyone is trying to get attention and nuance doesn’t get that done.

Robert Papalia
Robert Papalia
3 months ago

Saleh has no energy because he stinks as a head coach. He will be gone after 2024.