But it goes well beyond “default.” Jets general manager Joe Douglas was given the green light to find the guy of his choosing and for the first time in 12 years, a Jets GM hired the coach of his choice.
And for the first time in 12 years, the Jets GM and the head coach are on the same page with the same goals. Saleh was one of nine coaches that interviewed with the Jets and one of only two that was invited back for a second interview.
By all indications, Saleh crushed the interview.
He and Douglas reportedly had never met before that initial Zoom call, but Saleh apparently did enough to get the job a few short days later after flying in for a second interview in person.
The importance of the coach and the GM being on the same page cannot be understated – especially where it concerns the NY Jets
The last time a Jets general manager was permitted to hire his own coach was in 2009 after the Eric Mangini/Brett Favre debacle when then-GM Mike Tannenbaum hired Rex Ryan.
After two very exciting years, the Jets took a huge gamble and went all in to win — and failed. The organization hasn’t recovered to this day.
In 2013, John Idzik was hired to replace Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan was retained as the head coach. The problem was that Idzik inherited a salary cap disaster and needed to rebuild, but Ryan was in win-now mode to keep his job.
It was never going to work with the conflicting agendas. The fact that Idzik was criminally underqualified for his position certainly did not help.
The Jets, never ones to learn a proper lesson, fired both after the 2014 season but hired new GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles independently of each other and forced them to report to the owners instead of the more traditional method of the coach answering to the GM.
Once Bowles was let go after the 2018 season, Maccagnan retained his job for several months as the organization once again hired a coach on its own. That coach, the one and only Adam Gase, eventually got Maccagnan fired.
Enter Joe Douglas.
Douglas was hired under similar circumstances to that of other recent Jets hires — different page than his coach, salary cap disaster, the need to rebuild. The difference is that Douglas actually appears to know what he’s doing.
Douglas methodically set about stripping the team in order to build it from the ground up. Unlike his predecessors, he stayed the course and weathered the public storm in the face of a terrible two-season stretch.
And now, after letting Gase go following the season finale in New England, Douglas has his man. And the Jets organization has an energetic and motivating leader, something it hasn’t had since Rex Ryan, and arguably Herm Edwards.
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After years of coaches that never change expression, or don’t look up from a play sheet, or try to be every player’s buddy without ever holding them accountable, the Jets appear to have a coach who can relate to his players and motivate them regardless of which side of the ball they play.
Saleh doesn’t have head coaching experience, but everyone who’s ever shook the guy’s hand has given glowing reviews about him. Players, peers, everyone.
A coach with that type of profile, hired by a GM that grew through the ranks in good NFL organizations and obviously has a plan in place.
It’s foreign to the Jets fanbase to be in such a position and, of course, there’s absolutely no guarantee that the results will be there.
But the Jets appear to have the right leadership group in place at last. Jets fans are excited by this hire, and they well should be.