As Robert Saleh has noted in the past — when you lose in the NFL, you’re a loser.
Nothing you say or do can really change that opinion, especially in New York, unless you start winning. Right now, the New York Jets head coach is a loser to a good portion of the fanbase because through his first 13 games, he’s only won three.
Sure, the franchise has dealt with an absurd amount of injuries, and sure, this roster is filled with youth and inexperience. Some fans do get that, others just don’t care.
In New York City, excuses get you nowhere. All that matters are results.
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Saleh Doubles Down
To be fair, Saleh’s never once asked for pity or forgiveness. From the start, he welcomed the challenge of coaching in NYC and he has yet to back down from that.
On December 15, Saleh doubled down on this franchise’s future when asked if his message to the players has changed after failing to contend in year one. He stated:
Messaging, to me, and it’s not to be stubborn but it doesn’t change… Obviously, we want to win but it’s so process-oriented and so, just focused on the moment — bring your best version of yourself everyday, results will take care of itself. At the same time, helping players understand what’s at stake, right? So the month of December, December football is different. It is different, in terms of being in the hunt, getting ready to play for a chance to go get into the dance and play for a championship, that is a big deal and to understand that Miami is in the playoff hunt, they’re bringing a different style than we saw a few weeks ago. It’s gonna be different and to understand the intensity level and feel that intensity level, capture that intensity level and embrace it — because we’re going to be in these positions for years to come, and we’re going to be in December playing meaningful games. So it’s really exciting for these next four games cause it doesn’t matter that we’re already eliminated, cause they’re still a lot of things that we can learn because like I said, we’re going to be in these positions, we’re gonna have a lot more wins than we do now and these games are going to be meaningful and so what can we learn from all of this moving forward?
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Frustration Boiling Over?
Some may feel for Saleh because he’s been put in a near-impossible situation but some of that was by his own choosing. Joe Douglas may be the general manager but the HC signed on for the youth movement.
For many fans, frustration has hit a high in 2021 and even the overly optimistic Saleh has shown signs of aggravation. During the Week 14 postgame press conference, the polite and respectful coach had an uncharacteristically heated exchange with beat reporter Rich Cimini.
The ESPN newsman voiced that “from an outsider’s view, there doesn’t seem to be tangible progress,” and the response was a long hard stare from a more imposing Saleh.
The Jets HC looked about ready to unleash a season’s worth of rage on Cimini but instead, he took a breath and said: “I’m not getting you on that one, Rich, because you’re looking at a bunch of guys who are getting first-time opportunities. There’s a lot of — I’m good on that one.”
Then in the follow-up question from Connor Hughes, Saleh added that “whether it’s tangible or not, [he] can see” the younger players getting better with every rep.
The Jets HC did admit: “It’s always a challenge whenever you’re going into a building where you’ve had what you’ve had over the last 10 years and you’ve got a lot of guys trying to figure out how not to lose football games and how to win games. We have been getting better, it’s just a matter of sticking to our guns and sticking to the philosophy of what we’re trying to get done.”