Robert Saleh shoulders blame for NY Jets persistent penalty problems

The Jets are an undisciplined mess
NY Jets, Robert Saleh
NY Jets, Robert Saleh / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The NY Jets are the most undisciplined team in the NFL. That statement isn't so much one of opinion but rather fact. There isn't a team in the NFL that has been penalized more than the Jets this season — and it isn't particularly close.

The Jets have been penalized a whopping total of 123 times in 16 games this season. That's 15 more penalties than any other team.

Their total penalty yardage is 940 yards — again, the worst in the league. For reference, the Nathaniel Hackett-led Denver Broncos led the NFL with 970 total penalty yards in 2022. The Jets are almost guaranteed to surpass that figure this season.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh spoke to reporters following Thursday night's loss to the Cleveland Browns, a game in which his team was penalized 12 times for 74 yards, and took blame for the Jets' persistent penalty problems.

Robert Saleh's NY Jets are the most undisciplined team in the NFL

Saleh told reporters that he "has to figure it out" when asked about the Jets' penalty issues this season. He suggested that there were a lot of pre-snap penalties on Thursday night but that, ultimately, he has to be the one to determine the root of the problem.

The Jets were actually one of the least-penalized teams in the NFL over the first few weeks of the season, but it's fallen apart as the year has progressed. They've been penalized a ridiculous 26 times over the last two weeks combined.

In fact, the Jets have been penalized at least eight times in each of their last five games — three of which have featured double-digit penalties. It's easy to see where the biggest culprits are as well.

No team in the NFL has been penalized for more false starts than the Jets this season (31). There's only one other team that has more than 25 false starts this season. Only a handful are even in the 20s — the Jets have 31.

On defense, the Jets lead the league in illegal contact penalties (seven) and unnecessary roughness penalties (nine). The latter is a direct reflection of the style of defense Saleh employs. It has its benefits, but it clearly has its downsides as well.

The Jets also rank among the league leaders in delay-of-game penalties and offensive holding calls. The former has been an issue for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett throughout his career, including last year in Denver.

The bottom line is the Jets have a serious penalty problem. Mental mistakes like these are a direct indictment on the coaching staff in many cases, and Saleh seems to be admitting that here.

Saleh and his staff will be back in 2024 — that much has already been confirmed. But the Jets need to find a way to get their penalty problem under control, or else next season will likely be this regime's last.