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Robert Saleh Still Puzzles Over Jets' Struggling Offense: 'We Need to Expect More from Ourselves'

Series at the End of Each Half Spelled the Difference in Green & White's 13-8 Home Loss to Falcons


There wasn't much new or different that Robert Saleh could say or would say. After the Jets 15-8 loss to Atlanta's Falcons at MetLife Stadium, the Jets head coach had some variations on the theme of his team's losing skid that has stretched to five in a row and 4-8 on the season. He's also searching for answers, but few were available for the reporters asking the questions.

"We're just trying to spark the offense," he said about changes he might be making for the Houston Texans next Sunday, including at quarterback. "We're searching. I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities with potential explosives, possible touchdowns on the field today. And we've got to find a way to take advantage when we have that opportunity."

Two specific junctures of the Green & White were the ends of the halves. In the last three series of the final four minutes of the second quarter, the Jets were flagged for seven penalties for 51 yards (the Falcons had one marked off for 10 yards) and it all led to a Falcons half-ending field goal for a 10-5 lead.

"Our guys play hard. I understand the question," Saleh said of perhaps the offense's discipline in trying to mount TD drives. "I'm not going to apologize for their play at the end of the first half. It was borderline comical. We've got to clean up the presnap stuff on offense with regards to usage of cadence. It's obviously fooling us more than it is them. But it's stuff we've got to get better at."

As for referee Reggie Torbert's crew, which led to 11 flags against the Jets compared to six for the Falcons, "I'm done talking about those guys."

The second half was more frustrating since the since of the first 45-plus minutes could have been undone with that one elusive TD drive. One of the series started at the Atlanta 48, the next one moved to the 48 before backup QB Trevor Siemian lost a fumble.

"You back up an opponent, you can keep 'em backed up and you field [the punt] at the logo, you're supposed to score," the coach said. "And we need to expect more from ourselves when we're on those positions to go score."

Saleh was thoughtful in his answers but there were just some questions that he declined to answer or couldn't answer early Sunday evening from the Jets' interview room.

One question he answered rhetorically: Why, with all the alterations you might be considering for the season's final five games, would you not sight adjust from offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett?

"It's a fair question," he said. "I guess you will have a better idea when you see the all-22 from this one."

And why wasn't WR Garrett Wilson, who finished with three receptions on seven targets for 50 yards, including a 31-yarder from Tim Boyle on the first play of the second half, get more attention from the Jets coaches and QB in the first half, when he appeared to be open for even more big plays.

Saleh paused a few seconds before replying: "I'll have a better answer for you tomorrow."

Needless to say, the Jets are trying to fit round pegs into round holes for some more yards, points and third-down conversion (2-for-15) and fewer giveaways (a Boyle INT and lost fumbles by Dalvin Cook in the first half and Siemian in the second. Saleh's trying his best with what he has on hand to find a winning formula.

"We've got to find a way to get the guys that we do have better, for sure," he said.

"And when you're backed into a corner, the only thing you can do is keep swinging."

See the best game action photos during Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

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