The New York Jets have a brand new head coach in Robert Saleh, former defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. Anybody who’s adopted the Niners’ title-contending protection lately has probably heard his title, and Jets followers ought to know proper off the bat that he in all probability cannot be a lot worse than Adam Gase or Todd Bowles after watching their workforce go 23-57 from 2016-20.
However who’s Saleh, actually? Higher but, what ought to Jets trustworthy count on from the first-time head coach as the brand new chief of the workforce?
Because the 2021 offseason will get underway, this is an on the spot peek at what the 41-year-old Saleh brings to New Jersey:
Intense and player-friendly management
Should you’re studying this because the polar reverse of Adam Gase’s teaching model, you are in all probability not completely off-base. Jets normal supervisor Joe Douglas is an internally well-liked front-office character (except your title is Jamal Adams), and it stands to purpose he was eyeing a equally relatable figurehead for the workers. And for as a lot as Gase could have earned the respect of some, like quarterback Sam Darnold, there isn’t any query Saleh is only a extra expressive character. For crying out loud, the man is called a lot for his explosive sideline celebrations as his dominant San Francisco defenses.
It is not simply that Saleh is bodily imposing — a muscular specimen whose aggressive fist pumps mirror the depth of his gamers. He is been in contrast favorably to Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, certainly one of his chief mentors and boss from 2011-2013, due to his glass-half-full strategy with each followers and gamers. A few of his finest former pupils, just like the 49ers’ Richard Sherman, have endorsed his motivational abilities. Having a CEO-type character is one factor, and translating it to on-field success is one other, however there isn’t any query New York has upgraded in the case of having its coach hook up with the locker room.
A technically sound and aggressive 4-3 protection
This one goes with out saying, however Saleh’s calling card is protection, the place the Jets completed because the ninth-worst unit within the NFL throughout Gase’s closing yr atop the workers. It is secure to say New York’s “D” will get a bodily and philosophical makeover underneath Saleh, who runs an aggressive 4-3 scheme moderately than the hybrid 3-4 variations seen underneath former coordinator Gregg Williams. The important thing items (Quinnen Williams, Neville Hewitt) will nonetheless have massive roles, however it’d be beautiful if Saleh and Douglas did not workforce as much as prioritize restoring the trenches and cornerback spots this offseason.
Extra than simply personnel modifications, Saleh figures to convey an inflow of fundamentals, which helped him hold San Francisco’s unit afloat even amid a rash of accidents in 2020. The Niners ranked among the many league’s leaders in deal with share regardless of shedding depth at totally different factors within the yr, and Saleh constantly discovered methods to maximise expertise within the entrance seven. There might be some rising pains as New York swaps in new faces on the sphere, however one factor followers ought to count on is extra self-discipline all through the unit.
A run-oriented offense
This may occasionally not sound particularly engaging when you’re a Jets fan, however every little thing about Saleh’s teaching journey suggests it is coming. As an up-and-comer with the Houston Texans, he would reportedly sit in on then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s conferences, ultimately reuniting with Shanahan and his run-heavy strategy in San Francisco. He studied closely underneath Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks have lengthy desired a ground-first strategy. His finest pal is Inexperienced Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who’s emphasised the run recreation to assist Aaron Rodgers. And he is anticipated to tab LaFleur’s brother, Mike, as his Jets offensive coordinator, carrying over a passing system that was immediately tied into the Niners’ speeding assault.
This doesn’t suggest Saleh is averse to throwing the ball. Heck, his Jets could very properly spend a excessive draft choose on a brand new QB. However he noticed in San Francisco how a lot a powerful floor recreation can raise a QB, and a strong speeding assault would go hand in hand with a stout protection. Do not be shocked within the least if one of many new coach’s prime priorities, exterior of beefing up the protection and resolving the long-term QB problem, is infusing a few new faces into the working backfield and letting LaFleur construct round a play-action technique.