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Robert Saleh's 'Dialog' with Jets Offense: 'Trying to Provide Some Insight' for 'an Exciting Group'

Head Coach on Unit's Goal: 'It's Just a Matter of Creating an Identity...and Being Who We All Know We Can Be'


It's a little bit of a change for Robert Saleh this offseason, adding some offensive input to his background as a defense-oriented leader. Then again, maybe it's not anything too different than what he's already done in his first three seasons as Jets head coach.

"For me, last year was year one," Saleh told reporters before Wednesday's OTA practice at One Jets Drive, elaborating on his new focus working with QB Aaron Rodgers and coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. "There was a lot of learning, even for me. It was the first time I've been involved with an offense, with a quarterback that had such a voice. So a lot of it was me absorbing, along with everybody else, this new system.

"It's year two, so just a natural evolution of I've got a good grasp of the offense and I'm just trying to provide some insight. I understand what they're trying to accomplish and I'm just trying to provide some insight. If it feels more, it's probably because there's a lot more dialog, including from myself, but more from a defensive perspective."

In other words, Saleh doesn't see himself calling from the sideline up to the pressbox more than usual, telling Hackett what killer play to dial up in the middle of a game.

"As far as a specific play, I don't envision ever being somebody who's going to mandate a specific thing," he said. "They've got a vision of what they're trying to accomplish on that side of the ball, we have a style that we're trying to accomplish as a team. That part, I'll always be vocal on. But at the same time, I'll have suggestions just like any other head coach. If I feel convicted, obviously ... but I don't envision any of that happening in the near future."

Besides, Saleh already knows the weapons he has on the offensive side, and he knows that with that elusive but all-important good health at QB and along the line, the issues of last season will sort themselves out in 2024.

The coach had some particular thoughts on how WR Garrett Wilson will progress, now that he's hit his third season as a pro wideout.

"Not to put extra expectations on Garrett, but year three is usually when these young kids figure it out fully," Saleh said. "He's been phenomenal his first two years, but year three is when they learn balance between their newfound fame, the money in their bank account, the social media stuff, the branding, the family part of it and then the football part of it. They learn how to balance all that so they can keep the main thing the main thing, which is being a great football player.

"Garrett comes from a great background, a great family. He's always had his head on straight. Knowing the game the way he knows it, I think the sky's the limit for him."

Then he provided updates around his reworked offense.

"We've got playmakers," he said. "We've got a really good receiving corps. When Mike Williams gets back, he adds a dimension. I think Allen [Lazard]'s had really nice OTAs, he looks good. Then our backs — Breece [Hall] is Breece, but Izzy [Abanikanda] looks good, the two young rookies we drafted [Braelon Allen and Isaiah Davis] look really good, [Xazavian] Valladay looks good. So it's an exciting offense, an exciting group.

"It's just a matter of creating an identity and sticking with it and being who we all know we can be," Saleh said. "I think we're all hopeful that if we can stay healthy, we'll be pretty damn good."

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