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Jets Reach Agreement in Principle with Robert Saleh to Become Head Coach

Saleh Spent the Last Four Seasons as 49ers Defensive Coordinator

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh watches from the sidelines during an NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 in Santa Clara, Calif. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 27-24. (Greg Trott via AP)

The Jets have agreed in principle for Robert Saleh, the San Francisco 49ers' defensive coordinator for the past four seasons, to become their head coach.

Saleh will become the Jets' 20th head coach in franchise history and their 18th coach appointed to take Green & White reins before the start of a new season.

Under Saleh's direction in 2020, San Francisco had a top-10 defense in total yards (fifth), rush yards (seventh) and pass yards (fourth). In '19 San Fran finished second overall in the league in total defense — with its 281.8 yards/game allowed the best by the team since 1997 — and first in pass defense — with the 169.2 pass yards/game allowed coming in as the best in the NFL since Rex Ryan and Jets defense allowed 153.7 pass yards/game in 2009. After coaching up that 49ers unit, Saleh received The Sporting News' Coordinator of the Year award.

Similar rankings occurred in Saleh's previous pro stops in the previous 16 seasons. At Jacksonville from 2014-16 he was the Jaguars' linebackers coach, and the team improved to sixth overall and fifth vs. the pass in his final season with the Jags. From 2011-13 he was Seattle's defensive quality control coach focusing on LBs and the Seahawks defense rose to No. 1 in the league overall, vs. the pass and in scoring in his last year in the Great Northwest in 2013.

Saleh held three different titles in six seasons with Houston from 2005-10 and the Texans moved into the top half of the league in many defensive categories in 2009, his first of two seasons as assistant linebackers coach.

A native Michigander, Saleh grew up in Dearborn and started at TE for four seasons at Northern Michigan University. Before entering the pro coaching ranks, Saleh extended his Michigan roots with two seasons as an assistant coach at Michigan State and one at Central Michigan before a brief stop at the University of Georgia in 2005 before heading to Houston.

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