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Robert Saleh more involved with offense during OTAs entering fourth season with Jets

During his press conference last month, Aaron Rodgers said Jets coach Robert Saleh was taking “a deeper role in the offense.”

That, indeed, has been the case during organized team activities this spring.

Although he has always been fully aware of what happens offensively, Saleh has observed it more frequently during practices and in meeting rooms. He has also been seen chatting with Rodgers and other offensive players on the field.

When Saleh was hired by the Jets, he was 41 and entering his first head coaching gig after serving as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator for four seasons. Now, entering his fourth year with the Jets, Saleh has become more of a CEO type of coach.

“He has been in there with us a lot, which is a lot of fun,” Jets passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Todd Downing said about Saleh. “I enjoy having the head coach in there, especially when he gives a different perspective from defensive things and how they might look at some of our offensive schemes.

“He’s such an easy guy to get along with and talk football with. We have a lot of conversations in there that we try to polish up or soften the edges up with some things we are trying to implement this year that are maybe new or we are trying for the first time.”

Saleh is entering a make-or-break season with the Jets, so it’s easy to see why he would want to know what’s going on with the offense. Gang Green finished 7-10 and 31st in yards (268.6) and 29th in points per game (15.8) without Rodgers after he tore his Achilles in the season opener against the Bills. Saleh has an 18-33 record in his three seasons with the Jets.

A year ago, after the Jets hired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Saleh let him and Rodgers implement their system and was a bit hands-off. But now, in Hackett’s second season, Saleh has given offensive suggestions and ideas on how the Jets can attack certain defenses.

Saleh started to get more involved late last season. However, the Jets were already on the verge of their seventh consecutive losing season.

Gang Green thought Rodgers would solve all its offensive issues, but that was not the case. This is why the Jets added three new starters on their offensive line —  Tyron Smith, John Simpson and Morgan Moses  — and drafted Olu Fashanu. They also signed veteran QB Tyrod Taylor in case something happened to Rodgers, 40, again.

Last year, Saleh and Douglas received a mulligan because of Rodgers’ Achilles injury. It’s hard to imagine owner Woody Johnson doing that again, with his frustration mounting after the Jets missed the playoffs for the 13 consecutive seasons in 2023.

“Last year was Year 1, so there was a lot of learning even for me,” Saleh said. “First time I had been a part of an offense where the quarterback had such a voice, so a lot of it was me absorbing, and along with everyone else, and learning this new system.

“It’s Year 2, it’s this natural evolution of, got a really good grasp of the offense, and so just trying to provide some insight from a defensive perspective. Just understand what they’re trying to accomplish and just trying to provide some insights.

“If it feels more, it’s probably just like I said last week, there’s a lot more dialogue and including for myself, but it’s more from a defensive perspective.”


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