On Monday morning ESPN analyst Rex Ryan made waves on social media after calling out Saleh for his team’s lack of heart. If that wasn’t enough Ryan also said he never wants to be compared to Saleh again because they aren’t on the same playing field as it pertains to defenses.
“This guy is supposed to be a defensive guru. I take it personally on this one. Everything I heard was, this guy is a lot like myself but without the bad part. Well, some of the bad parts you need. This team doesn’t play with any damn heart. Don’t ever compare this guy, this Robert Saleh to me.”
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That Didn’t Take Very Long
Just a few hours later Saleh made his weekly appearance on The Michael Kay Show and was asked about the Ryan jab:
“Guys honestly you know what I’ve never met Rex, I’ve never had a conversation with him, I don’t even know him except for people that know him throughout the league. Obviously, if it is that personal for him he knows where to find me.”
He was then asked if he was surprised by Ryan’s comments to which he responded, “I’m not surprised by him, he always has something to say.”
All of this criticism from Ryan stemmed from the Jets’ latest loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 10 where they were blown out 45-17.
Not only was Gang Green obliterated by an AFC East divisional foe, but their defense mimicked a pair of saloon doors as they let the Bills walk right through them the entire game:
- Josh Allen threw for 366 passing yards and averaged 13.1 yards per completion.
- They became the first NFL team in 55 years to allow at least 45 points three different times in a four-game span.
- Points allowed over the last four games: 45 (vs Buffalo), 45 (at Colts), 31 (vs Bengals), and 54 (at New England).
There is no denying the level of ineptitude and embarrassment and Ryan capitalized on the moment and buried Saleh for his struggles.
Good to Finally See Some Emotion
The on-field product has obviously been lackluster, but one of the biggest criticisms of Saleh has been his lack of emotion on the sideline.
Regardless of what has transpired on the field, whenever the camera has shifted to Saleh he has appeared stoic, robotic, and completely emotionless.
What made him unique and attractive in a lot of respects during his time as the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers was his ability to ride the emotional roller coaster.
When the defense got a big stop, Saleh wore his emotions on his sleeve and would regularly celebrate with his players and jump around.
We haven’t seen that during his time with the Jets and while Saleh has explained that is because he’s taking a more CEO approach with the team, it still has rubbed people the wrong way.
The perception when Saleh doesn’t show any emotions in blowouts gives off the impression he doesn’t care, even if it isn’t true that is the perception.
The antidote to correct all of this is simple, win. If you win football games no one will care about your emotions or lack thereof.
For what it is worth, Saleh remains optimistic that this thing “is going to flip.” During his open availability with the media on Monday, he was asked about his message to Jets fans at a time like this and he reiterated that this thing will turn around “he knows it in his heart.”