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NY Jets HC Robert Saleh talks Rodgers, coaching staff, and more

Robert Saleh
Robert Saleh

In his first time speaking to the media this offseason, the New York Jets’ head coach addressed a multitude of questions surrounding the team

After weeks of silence, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh has finally spoken to the media.

Saleh addressed reporters at the annual league meetings on Monday, answering a multitude of questions about the Jets.

Saleh said that wide receiver Mike Williams, the team’s latest free agent signing, has “a long way to go” in his rehab and is on a similar time frame to running back Breece Hall.

He also spoke about what Willaims will bring to the team as a playmaker in 2024.

“He’s a dynamic receiver. We’ve been a big fan of his for a while. You say 50-50 ball, but it’s more 70-30 when it goes up to him. He’s a dynamic athlete, a dynamic receiver, very confident when he goes up and gets the ball. So to be that compliment to Garrett (Wilson) and the receiver room is a good deal.”

The Jets’ head coach also spoke about Javon Kinlaw, another free-agent addition who spent time with Saleh during his tenure as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator.

“I think his career is still ascending. He’s a young guy, obviously he’s had some injuries his second and third year, he was healthy last year. He’s still learning the game, so we’re excited to get him here & see what he can do.”

Saleh said that quarterback Aaron Rodgers “is on a mission” and wants to achieve what he could not last season.

“I know Aaron Rodgers is on a mission. He’s working his tail off in California and communicating with us often. Knowing Aaron, he’s on a mission to do a lot of things that he wanted to do last year, and he’s not going to stop until he gets them done.”

Regarding other positions on the roster, Saleh said that the Jets feel good about Carter Warren and Max Mitchell serving as offensive line depth this season.

He specifically spoke about Warren, saying he had “a lot of promise” and “I like his mental makeup and his mindset, so there’s hope that with a strong offseason, he can do something.”

Saleh also said that Alijah Vera-Tucker is on track to be ready for Week 1, and the team plans to keep him at right guard for 2024.

Saleh said that the Jets are in “constant” talks with Corey Davis, calling him a “tremendous athlete and man,” and said, “The door is always going to be open for him.”

He added that, in terms of adding a pass rusher like Jadeveon Clowney, “the more the merrier.”

The head coach also mentioned that they are “definitely” going to add a third quarterback to their roster, said the running back room is “not done yet,” and that they are not “done” adding to the safety position.

Outside of roster-based questions, Saleh spoke about the team’s outlook for the season and how the coaching staff is shaping up.

Saleh said he does not feel any added pressure from Jets owner Woody Johnson to win this season.

“There’s always pressure to win. Obviously, we are all disappointed in the way things worked out a year ago, but I don’t think anyone’s confidence is shook. I think we are all confident in our abilities…we just gotta go to work, keep our heads down, and find a way to get some Ws.”

In terms of seeing the 2024 season as a failure if they don’t make the playoffs, Saleh said, “I’ll never say that,” and “This year is about picking ourselves up, putting our heads down, and just work.”

Regarding recent reports about the team’s dysfunction, the Jets’ head coach said, “When you don’t achieve what you’re supposed to achieve, people are going to take their shots.”

He also expressed confidence in where the Jets are at as an organization.

“I feel really confident. I feel like guys like Sauce Gardner have spoken about the organization. I feel really good about where our organization is, and outside noise is outside noise…the only way you are going to change the narrative is by winning,” said Saleh.

Regarding the coaching staff, Saleh said he considered adding another coach to the offense but decided that Nathaniel Hackett and Todd Downing would be enough. He also confirmed that Downing would be the team’s quarterbacks coach in 2024.

Speaking about Carter, Saleh expressed confidence in his offensive line coach for 2024.

“Keith is a hard-charging football coach, and you can’t deny the fact that when he was in Tennessee, they were one of the better run teams in all of football. They were good when he was there, and they fell off when he left. He’s a damn good football coach…  sometimes messaging can get lost in tone. I know he’s working on all that stuff, but I’m not concerned about his ability to coach this football team.”

The Jets’ head coach said that “a lot of things” will change regarding messaging and that the team’s offseason program will be adjusted to reduce injuries.

Even in what amounted to a 30-minute press conference, Saleh did not say anything that was overly surprising.

The Jets still need to add to their roster, specifically at positions that the head coach mentioned. The team needs to adjust areas of their process, and it is good to see Saleh acknowledge as much.

Most importantly, Saleh, even in a roundabout way, stated that the team needs to win this season.

Nothing Saleh, Douglas, or anyone else in the organization says matters until the offseason expectations and success translate to the field. Until the Jets do that, the pressure and questions surrounding the team will only remain constant.

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