Robert Saleh is Jets’ first finalist for next head coach

New York Jets, Robert Saleh

The New York Jets have taken a significant step in narrowing the search for their next head coach. Later today, the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, will be flying in to meet with the organization.

He will be the first candidate brought in for a second interview, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Saleh is one of the most highly sought-after candidates for teams needing head coaches for next season. He has already interviewed with the Lions, Jaguars, Falcons and Chargers, along with the Jets. Now, the Eagles have requested an interview with him as well. To sum it up, Saleh is in high demand.

With all of the openings at head coach, he was expected to be one of the top candidates for seemingly every team. Since becoming the defensive coordinator for the 49ers in 2017, he’s been receiving a lot of attention, and rightly so.

The 49ers Robert Saleh defense got better each season with him at the helm. In 2017, they were ranked 24th in yards-per-game allowed. The following year, in 2018, the shot up to 13th. Last season, in which they went to the Super Bowl, they ranked second in yards-per-game allowed and were one of the elite defenses in the league. This season, while dealing with an immense number of injuries, they finished fifth.

Along with the great numbers his defenses have produced, his energy on the sideline is infectious and echoes throughout the team. The way he got his defense to produce each week, while missing top players due to injuries, resulted in the league taking even more notice of his ability.

Robert Saleh is more than deserving of a head coaching job in the NFL. If things continue down the same path, he could be the next head coach of the New York Jets.

New York Jets: HC candidate Matt Campbell likely staying in school

New York Jets

The New York Jets were reportedly interested in talking with Campbell, but he’s set to stay with Iowa State.

Matt Campbell is apparently sticking with Ames over East Rutherford and the other NFL markets.

The Iowa State head football coach strongly hinted that he’s staying with the Cyclones despite reported interest from several NFL camps, including the New York Jets’. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports originally reported that the Jets were expected to speak with Campbell, but Bruce Feldman of The Athletic has shot the notion down. Campbell’s tweet appears to have confirmed such a departure.

“So grateful for the commitment of so many to continue to want to build our program together,” Campbell said in his tweet. “Our foundation has been built on Loyalty and Faithfulness and it will continue to be our guiding light. Humbled and Grateful to continue to lead to be different.”

Campbell’s celebration of unity stems from his ISU program welcoming back all but two starters on offense and defense from what’s likely the most prolific season in team history. The Cyclones tied a program-record with nine wins and made their first appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game. Though they fell to Oklahoma 27-21, ISU was ranked 10th in the final College Football Playoff poll and earned a postseason victory at the Fiesta Bowl, topping Pac-12 champion Oregon 34-17.

The Cyclones have qualified for a bowl game in each of the last four seasons under Campbell’s watch, setting yet another program-best. Their future fortunes received a strong turn in the right direction when All-American tight end and All-Big 12 safety Greg Eisworth each confirmed that they would likewise return to Ames, eschewing the 2021 NFL Draft.

Despite the apparent loss of Campbell, the Jets’ coaching search continued throughout the weekend. The team confirmed they held interviews with several candidates including playoff-contending coordinators like Brian Daboll, Brandon Staley, Matt Eberflus, and Arthur Smith.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags