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Jets' New HC Robert Saleh: 'I Won't Handle Play-Calling'

DC Jeff Ulbrich and OC Mike LaFleur Will Make the Calls in Games


From his words during Thursday's virtual introduction, Robert Saleh, the new head coach of the New York Jets, is committed to a style of management espoused by some of the best leaders in business: Hire the best people, work in collaboration, delegate and allow them to do their jobs.

Although Chairman Christopher Johnson, President Hymie Elhai and General Manager Joe Douglas cast a wide net during their search for a head coach, Johnson made it clear the Green & White wanted a CEO-type who oversees everything. Saleh, a defensive guru during his years with the San Francisco 49ers, made his intentions clear when he said: "I won't handle play-calling."

That statement came on the heels of Saleh selecting Jeff Ulbrich as his defensive coordinator, while the Jets' new sideline CEO also brought aboard five other coaches for his defense. (See Eric Allen & Ethan Greenberg’s coach-by-coach breakdown at

And while Saleh said he has no plans to second-guess Ulbrich on defense and Mike LaFleur, the new offensive coordinator, his hiring also brought more clarity to the team's chain of command. Douglas will report to Christopher Johnson (and soon to Woody Johnson, who will be returning to his role with the Jets after a spell as the U.S. ambassador to Britain) and Saleh will report to Douglas.

"The structure has changed," Christopher Johnson said. "It seems to be a clean and simple way to do things, but honestly not much will change. We have good communication already and I don't think that will alter things here all that much."

As clear as that pecking order now is, the same can be said for the team component, with Saleh sitting atop the pyramid, organizing and setting the tone for his coaches and players.

"I have confidence in Jeff Ulbrich to do it [call plays]." Saleh said. "We share the same thoughts. The message is that the organization has to work locked in arms and together to ensure the messaging is there and maintain it throughout. Everyone has to find their connection to the players, with the mindset that we're going to get these guys better every day. The entire organization moving in same direction is what we want. I won't be calling plays."

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