NY Jets HC Robert Saleh deserves major credit for the job he's done

Justin Fried
NY Jets, Robert Saleh
NY Jets, Robert Saleh / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh became the subject of criticism following his mishandling of the clock in the final moments of the team's Week 15 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Saleh's lackluster time management cost the Jets crucial seconds and partially contributed to the team's loss on Sunday. Saleh himself admitted that he mismanaged the clock and should have used one of his timeouts earlier when speaking to reporters after the game.

In reality, Saleh avoided using a timeout after Garrett Wilson's 10-yard catch because he didn't want to give officials time to look at the play and potentially overturn the spot. The logic makes sense, but it was ultimately the wrong decision.

Saleh made a mistake — one that had some logic behind it — but a mistake nonetheless. However, that should be where the criticism ends.

Saleh has not only done a good job as it pertains to clock management this season, but the work he's done to help transform this Jets defense and roster as a whole can't be overlooked.

NY Jets HC Robert Saleh deserves Coach of the Year consideration

The Jets' defense was one of the worst in football a year ago, and in the span of just one season, Saleh has helped turn the unit into the third-ranked defense in the NFL — up 28 spots from 2021.

It's not a coincidence that so many players on the Jets' defense are having career years. This defense is as much a product of Saleh's defensive system as it is Joe Douglas' roster building.

It's a system that has allowed Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed to thrive. It's a system that has helped players like Quinnen Williams and even Bryce Huff reach new levels in 2022. That can't be overlooked when discussing the Jets this season.

Even ignoring the Jets' defensive success, Saleh has had to dodge numerous minefields this year in an effort to maintain a stable locker room culture. He's done just that.

The Jets have had their top five offensive tackles all spend time on the injured reserve. They've been forced to start three different quarterbacks. They've had multiple wide receivers request a trade. They lost arguably their two best offensive players to injury early in the season.

This has not been an easy road for Saleh, but he's guided the Jets to a 7-7 record in spite of everything. We've talked about "changing the culture" at Florham Park for over a decade now — Robert Saleh has done just that.

It's fair to criticize Saleh for his mismanagement at the end of Sunday's game, it's completely justified. But that's pretty much where the criticism should end.

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Saleh deserves legitimate Coach of the Year consideration (the latest betting odds indicate he's in the mix). When lambasting the second-year head coach, be sure to remember the big picture.

Robert Saleh has done an excellent job this season.

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