NY Jets HC Robert Saleh belongs in Coach of the Year conversation

Give Robert Saleh his flowers
NY Jets, Robert Saleh
NY Jets, Robert Saleh / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh has been the recipient of plenty of unfounded criticism, but with the dust settled at the team's bye week, it's impossible to ignore the incredible coaching job he's done this season.

Saleh has this Jets team at 3-3 entering the bye week without Aaron Rodgers. This is despite facing a murderer's row of some of the NFL's elite teams over the first six weeks of the season.

Saleh's Jets, led by a backup quarterback, hold victories over the Buffalo Bills and previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, with a near-win over the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

This is, of course, despite injuries to the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Joe Tippmann, etc. Saleh's team has overcome significant adversity to defy the odds and place themselves firmly in the playoff conversation entering Week 7.

Robert Saleh has done an incredible job with the NY Jets this year

Few coaches have been able to do more with what they've been given this season. The Jets have no doubt been carried by a top-tier defense, but it's that very defense that Saleh hangs his hat on.

Saleh's defense has forced more turnover-worthy plays than any other team in the NFL through six weeks. The Jets have allowed a measly 5.2 points per game on average in the second half — the best mark in the NFL. In fact, the Jets have only allowed one second-half touchdown all season.

That's coaching. That comes down to halftime adjustments. It's a direct result of Saleh's defensive philosophy that keeps Jets defensive linemen fresh well into games because of a strict rotation.

Saleh's defensive philosophy has given the Jets an identity. The Jets lead the NFL in pressures as arguably the best pass rush in football. They have two athletic, rangy linebackers playing as well as any linebacker duo in the NFL right now.

Combine that with an elite set of cornerbacks, and you have all the makings of a dominant defensive unit that's been carefully crafted by Saleh and Co. He deserves a ton of credit for molding this Jets defense into one of the best units in the league.

Despite his flaws as a coach, Saleh shines when it matters most. He maximizes the talent on the roster, is a defensive schematic mastermind, and is a well-researched leader inside and outside the Jets' locker room.

Saleh might not be the favorite for Coach of the Year — that should probably be designated for someone like Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions or Mike McDaniel of the Miami Dolphins — but he absolutely belongs in the conversation.

Give Robert Saleh his flowers because he deserves them.