The New York Jets hired Robert Saleh to be their head coach in January of 2021. Saleh is now going into year two as the Jets’ head coach with expectations for growth. With a year of experience and an improved team, the situation for Saleh makes improvement possible.
Brief review of 2021:
His first year was a challenge. The Jets went 4-13 in 2021. Saleh saw his defense struggle tremendously, ranking last in the NFL in yards per game allowed. Despite the tough times, Saleh still proved some of his most notable attributes, which made him a highly-touted head coaching candidate. Saleh showed his passion at times. He seemed to connect well with the players, commanding their respect, and having them consistently play hard. Finally, he had the team competing until the end of the season against much better teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills late in those games.
Saleh is well known for his defensive mind and leadership. His scheme defensively is predicated on what he accomplished with the Seattle Seahawks under Pete Carroll during the Legion of Boom era. During his last three years with the San Francisco 49ers before coming to the Jets, his defense ranked at least 13th each season. The 49ers’ defense ranked 13th in 2018, second in 2019, which helped lead to a Super Bowl appearance, and fifth in 2020, even with many injuries. In terms of leadership, Saleh shows great energy on the sidelines to be a player’s coach. His players also seem to respect him as a coach and person. Saleh’s reactions on the sideline throughout the 2019 season on the 49ers’ journey to the Super Bowl were well documented.
Heading into his second year, the biggest expectation for Saleh is that he learned from last year and is primed to significantly improve. Hopefully, he can show everyone why he was such a highly-regarded head coaching candidate just last year.
A few core things for Saleh to display growth will be having the team prepared every week to start games fast, managing tough in-game situations the right way, clock management, and having his players in a position to commit minimal mental mistakes.
In terms of his defense, he now has a vastly improved unit in terms of talent. A healthy Carl Lawson with Jermaine Johnson, Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Jordan Whitehead bolster the defense to make Saleh’s life easier. Considering his strong defensive mind, Saleh needs to have his side of the football execute much better this year. If so, that thrilling emotion he can exhibit will be on display.
Final preview thoughts:
A fair expectation for Saleh in 2022 would be getting the Jets to at least seven wins, having his defense ranked in the top-20, and having this team playing competitive football in the playoff hunt come late November and into early December. If Saleh can accomplish these three things along with some of the other noteworthy points above, it would qualify as an encouraging second year for him. These goals would indicate growth and would ultimately provide the future of the Jets franchise with potential. In the end, Saleh should have a good year in 2022 for the Jets.