NY Jets HC Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich's defense has underperformed in 2021
The Jets are as bad defensively right now as they have been in many years. You can attribute a lot of that to youth, injuries, and talent. But a Robert Saleh defense is not supposed to play at such a poor and undisciplined level.
The problem is that it's Saleh's defense, while not really being his defense. As head coach, you take ownership of all areas that falter on your team. But it's reaching a point where Robert Saleh might have to step up and take complete control of a unit when he doesn't want to.
There are signs that Saleh might.
A week ago, when pressed by the media about the team's quarterback situation involving Zach Wilson, Saleh admitted during an interview on the Michael Kay Show that he wasn't sure of what his decision would be because he spent the majority of the day focusing on fixing the defense.
By all accounts and based on his reputation, the last thing Saleh wants to do is undermine his assistants or divert his attention from the rest of the team. It's not in his nature to take on a totalitarian role, like legendary coach Bill Parcells often did.
Even as a defensive coordinator, Saleh was known as a collaborator. Saleh would often take input from assistants to help mold his defense. It's one of his strengths, but if the Jets' defense continues to perform at a historically awful level, Saleh can't afford to stand back and watch while things deteriorate.
Let's face it — Jeff Ulbrich is doing a horrible job schematically. And in recent days, Ulbrich has publicly stated how he is not going to change his system to fit his players.
Out of loyalty and because of his CEO-type approach. Saleh may give Ulbrich a lot of rope and leeway to get the ship righted. But Saleh needs to step up and be as proactive. The same way the team was in fixing its offense in midstream.