NY Jets: Robert Saleh could fix the broken organizational culture

NY Jets, Robert Saleh (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Robert Saleh (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ head coach candidate Robert Saleh can fix the organization’s culture

Animated, energized, and enthusiastic — San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator and now finalist to fill the NY Jets head coaching vacancy, Robert Saleh is unlike any head coach that the Jets have had over the past six years.

For a franchise like the Jets that is seemingly forever sinking, Saleh may be just the guy to establish that winning culture that ownership has failed to deliver Jets fans for over a decade.

After the disaster that was the Adam Gase era, the Jets ownership may be wary of hiring another “brilliant offensive mind”.

They should look no further than Robert Saleh, the man whose defense carried the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2020. In fact, Saleh led the 49ers’ defense to two consecutive top-five finishes in total yards allowed per game in 2019 and in 2020.

While Saleh is clearly qualified to fill this position with the Jets, so is every other candidate that general manager Joe Douglas and the Jets have requested to interview. However, what sets him apart from the rest is his energy.

The 41-year-old Saleh is a mad dog on the sidelines who dials up the heat with both his blitzes and his personality. He is the type of coach who needs his own personal “get-back coach” to keep him from rushing the field when things get tense.

He is not afraid to showcase his emotions as he will be the first person to celebrate a big defensive stop with his players or chew out an official after a bad call.

Energy and enthusiasm are key qualities that both former Jets head coaches Todd Bowles and Adam Gase lacked immensely.

With Bowles, there never seemed to be any sense of urgency as he was so laid back and soft-spoken. With Gase, there was much of the same paired with his stubbornness to adjust his scheme to match his personnel.

Both Bowles and Gase were successful as coordinators, but they failed as head coaches because they did not possess the charisma that a head coach needs in order to spark life into their team when things get rough.

With Saleh, this won’t be the case.

The NY Jets would be getting a very different head coach in Robert Saleh

In the NFL, seeing is believing. There were many unknowns and conflicting reports on how players felt about Bowles and Gase.

Bowles’ stone-cold, lifeless face and Gase’s crazy eyes were not exactly the most inspiring. When it comes to Saleh, fans will be able to see for themselves that players love playing for him when they watch on Sundays.

San Francisco cornerback and respected veteran of the game Richard Sherman told the Detroit News in a recent interview that he expects Saleh will be a head coach in 2021.

Sherman said, “He’s able to rally men, and that goes a long way.”

Something else that Sherman respects about Saleh is the fact that he refuses to make excuses. The 49ers fought an uphill battle all season long as they were the most injured team in the NFL.

Sherman said, “To lose so many (defenders) and have guys who can’t practice, week after week, he never makes an excuse.”

To have a guy like Saleh come in after two years of Gase blaming his failures on his players’ inability to stay healthy would be refreshing, to say the least.

Saleh will be likely to bring with him either San Francisco’s passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur or run game coordinator Mike McDaniel to be his offensive coordinator assuming Joe Douglas and the Jets approve it.

In my opinion, the Jets would be lucky to have someone who was groomed by an actual offensive genius like Kyle Shanahan.

If the Jets were to hire Saleh, he would build this team an identity that they have been missing ever since the Rex Ryan AFC Championship days. The Jets under Saleh and Joe Douglas will be a team that prioritizes strengthening trenches.

There will be “people movers” on both the offensive and defensive line that will help the Jets dominate the line of scrimmage and bully their way to victory.

Most importantly, Saleh’s energy and the passion he coaches with could bring the joy back to watching Jets football.

Saleh has been targeted by several NFL teams including the Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles are the most recent team to request to interview him.

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Robert Saleh can change the Jets’ culture if he’s hired. And culture is something that this organization desperately needs to be fixed.