General manager Joe Douglas and the rest of the NY Jets organization believe that Robert Saleh is the guy to lead them back to the playoffs and bring that attitude back to the Jets organization.
Something that Adam Gase didn’t do in his two-year stint with the team.
Saleh started from the bottom of the coaching ladder. His first job was being a graduate assistant for Michigan State until he got his first NFL opportunity as a coaching intern with the Houston Texans in 2005.
12 years later he was named the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers and has had a top-five defense in the last two seasons.
Now Saleh comes to Florham Park in hopes to clear up this dumpster fire Gase left behind. Saleh is highly regarded around the league by his former players and coaches that have worked alongside him.
1. Improved defense
One of Saleh’s 10 lessons of coaching is “ignore the noise and trust your process.” The first reason should be the most obvious, with Saleh as head coach, the Jets’ defense will improve drastically.
In his last two seasons with San Francisco, Saleh’s defenses had been ranked in the top five in total defense. Even with the number of injuries the 49ers endured in 2020, Saleh still had that unit as the fifth-ranked defense in the NFL.
The Jets’ defense has a lot of improving to do, but they already have some building blocks on defense that can be possible Pro Bowl players under Saleh such as Marcus Maye, Quinnen Williams, and Bryce Hall who impressed fans later down the stretch of the season.
Also returning to the mix on defense is C.J. Mosley who sat out the 2020 season due to COVID-19.
Saleh is known to run an aggressive 4-3 defense, opposite to the 3-4 defense Gregg Williams ran. The change from the 3-4 to the 4-3 is an opportunity to see a vast improvement in the pass rush.
Be on the lookout for some former 49ers players entering free agency this season to follow Saleh to the Jets. Some of the notable 49ers defensive players hitting free agency are cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams.
2. Robert Saleh will change the culture of the NY Jets
Passion. It’s something the Jets haven’t had since the Rex Ryan days. Adam Gase was the complete opposite of a passionate coach.
Throughout this past season, fans heard reports that well-known players like Avery Williamson were questioning some of the practice habits the team had under Gase.
Saleh, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He’s known around the league as a fiery passionate and emotional coach that players love and respect.
It’s why so many fans loved the hire because it will be a complete culture change and a more aggressive attitude — something the Jets need after the last lifeless four-plus years under Todd Bowles and Gase.
Another one of Saleh’s 10 rules of coaching is “invest in your team, make everybody around you better.”
This is the coach the Jets needed in this situation — someone who can be a spark plug for the franchise and get it back to where it once was 10 years ago. A team that is competitive, tough, and most importantly, playing smart football.
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3. A new offensive scheme
Saleh will bring in former 49ers passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur (brother of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur) to be the offensive coordinator.
LaFleur will bring a similar scheme he ran with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers to Florham Park. An offensive scheme that helped the 49ers get to the Super Bowl last season.
LaFleur and Shanahan ran an offensive scheme that involved a lot of production from the running backs catching balls out of the backfield and a lot of play-action plays to the tight end.
On offense, the Jets have some talent already with Jamison Crowder who will benefit vastly from the scheme, and Denzel Mims who is already showing promise.
The two big questions on offense are who will be the Jets running back and will they do what they did in San Francisco with a committee of backs? And the question that everyone is asking, who will the team’s quarterback be?
Sam Darnold can benefit from this type of offense because it is play-action heavy, however, the team does have the second overall pick and can take Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields or BYU’s Zach Wilson.
The future is bright. It will be interesting to see what Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas do in the coming months of the offseason.