Actions speak louder than words in life and in the NFL, but every word out of the mouth of NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh during his scheduled press conference on Monday was a disaster.
There's no way around it — this was one of the worst and potentially most harmful press conferences by a Jets coach in recent memory.
Saleh went out of his way to praise and defend Zach Wilson on numerous occasions. He insisted that the team has to do a better job around Wilson. He referred to Wilson as the Jets' "unquestioned quarterback" moving forward.
Saleh showed accountability for every player and coach on the roster, with the exception of Wilson. It was a calamitous series of quotes from the third-year head coach — and you'd better believe his comments won't go over well with the other 52 players on the Jets' roster.
Robert Saleh is risking losing the NY Jets locker room
Let's take a look at some of the most egregious quotes from Saleh's press conference today.
When asked about Wilson's poor performance against the New England Patriots in Week 3, Saleh told reporters that "stats don't tell the whole story" before insisting that the team has to play better for Wilson.
He then went on to praise Wilson for his performance on Sunday, lauding how the third-year quarterback didn't turn the ball over. Saleh said the Jets were still in the game at the end because Wilson played a "clean" game.
Saleh then told reporters that Wilson was the Jets' "unquestioned" starting quarterback moving forward, insisting that Wilson was "not the reason [the Jets] lost yesterday."
Quotes like this are how you lose a locker room. Saleh refused to show any accountability for his quarterback, even seemingly blaming the rest of the team instead.
Saleh didn't even entertain the possibility that Wilson could be replaced if he continues to struggle. He told reporters that the Jets have seen signs of progress from Wilson in practice. There was no indication that the Jets are even considering a change at quarterback.
The Jets' players know that Wilson is the biggest problem with this roster right now. In fact, if any player at any other position had performed as poorly as Wilson has, they would have already been on the bench.
Wilson is being held to a different standard than the rest of the roster — and the players know it. We already saw some of the frustrations with the Jets' coaching staff bleed into Sunday's loss. Garrett Wilson and Michael Carter's sideline blow-ups might just have been the tip of the iceberg.
Saleh's words, though possibly spurred on by organizational pressure, are an insult to the rest of this Jets' roster. There are 52 other players on the team to worry about.
Words of encouragement and affirmation are one thing, but accountability is necessary. Imagine being any other player on the Jets' roster, and you hear your coach say that the team has to be better around Wilson one day after his abysmal performance on Sunday.
The players should be mad. They should be frustrated. That frustration won't be directed at Wilson, either, nor should it be. It will be directed at the individuals who continue to allow this to happen.
It will be directed at the individuals who have shown public verbal accountability for every player on the roster aside from the one most responsible.
Robert Saleh's words on Monday may have protected his quarterback, but they might have come at the expense of the rest of the locker room. His seat just got a whole lot hotter, and the reality of the situation is that it might get worse before it gets better.