San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will get his chance to lead an NFL team. On Thursday, Saleh became the new Jets coach after agreeing to a five-year contract. Saleh will replace Adam Gase, who went 9-23 in his two seasons as the team’s head coach.
Main Takeaways from Saleh as New Jets Coach
Saleh interviewed with CEO Christopher Johnson and GM Joe Douglass earlier this week and there was speculation that Saleh was the leading contender. Saleh was a hot commodity this offseason. He met with the Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Chargers, and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Urban Meyer was wanted as new Jets coach
Meyer was an A-list candidate for the Jets but ultimately was hired by the Jaguars. Meyer likely saw the Jaguars as the better opportunity. Considering the Jaguars have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, the team will likely use the pick on quarterback Trevor Lawrence. That will give Meyer a chance to coach his quarterback of choice. For the Jets, he is not going to get that opportunity.
Saleh received five years
Obviously, Saleh is going into this job with the agreement that this is a rebuilding franchise. The team has no clear quarterback, running back, or foundation in place. Saleh is bringing along passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur to take over as offensive coordinator. It brings the question of could Sam Darnold function in an offensive compatible with Kyle Shanahan? On defense, he will have that covered. In 2019, Saleh’s defense ranked No. 3 overall and No. 6 in 2020, despite multiple injuries.
Jets got this right by starting fresh
Saleh does not have a track record as a head coach, but this feels like a fresh hire. The team could have brought in a veteran coach but that would not have done any good. The next couple of seasons are going to be a grind for the team. The team is going to need to build team up with young draft picks and learn how to win. After the debacle that was the Gase-era, this feels like a breath of fresh air.
Moving forward with a new Jets coach
With a new Jets coach in place for the next five years, there is hope that the team can get back to qualifying for the playoffs. The Jets haven’t qualified for the postseason since 2010. Over the next few years, here is our wish list for the franchise.
- Jets receive a top-3 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. An even better scenario would be the No. 1 overall pick and use that pick on the top quarterback prospect.
- The Jets won 8 games after the 2022 season and are ready to contend by 2023.
- Saleh leads the top-15 defense in the first or second year, prompting ownership to invest in top-tier free agents.
- Jets break a 12-year playoff drought in Saleh’s third season.
- The Jets have their first franchise quarterback since Mark Sanchez by Year 2.