The discourse surrounding NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh has once again turned to calling for his job, as a season that began with championship aspirations has led the Jets to just five wins through 14 games following Aaron Rodgers' injury.
Those who support Saleh will argue that he needs to get the chance to work with a viable NFL quarterback, as he has been forced to switch between a collection of below-average backups. That argument still won't calm down all the Saleh haters who think he could lose the locker room.
One very vocal defender of Saleh is top cornerback Sauce Gardner, who believes that fans who want the third-year coach fired are being too emotional and not seeing the entire picture. According to Gardner, via the New York Post, the injuries have made it tough to give Saleh a fair evaluation.
"“I see a lot of things about how certain coaches should be fired and everything,” Gardner said. “I don’t think that’s the case. Coming into it, the coaches, Joe [Douglas], [Robert] Saleh, they did a great job at bringing a lot of important pieces in. We were just unfortunate with injuries and everything. I wish Aaron was able to be on that field throughout the season. I wish our O-line was able to be healthy.""- Sauce Gardner
Sauce Gardner defends Robert Saleh, NY Jets coaches after 5-9 season
The anti-Saleh group certainly has some ammunition after this season. The refusal to fire Nathaniel Hackett, a historically bad offense, and his 16 wins in three seasons are certainly evidence to suggest that a change is needed.
However, Sauce is correct in assessing that injuries have been so devastating that it makes it hard for this team to get anything going. With Rodgers getting hurt instantly and Alijah Vera-Tucker suffering another season-ending injury, arguably the two most important players on this offense were knocked out early.
Saleh is a defensive coach, and he has his defense performing as a Top 10 unit. He's developed the best collection of cornerbacks in the league, his defense pressures the quarterback, and both of his linebackers are viable Pro Bowl and All-Pro candidates. Maybe get him an NFL quarterback!
The Saleh optimists are banking on the idea that his defense will still be very good and that Rodgers returning to his offense could help paper over the cracks. With Rodgers himself giving him a vote of confidence, it looks like the gang is going to return.