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HC Robert Saleh on Jets' Early, Jammed Schedule: 'You Take It as It Comes'

QB Aaron Rodgers Has ‘No Restrictions,’ Expect Spirited Competition at Safety


On Tuesday, in his first encounter with the news media during the Jets' OTAs, head coach Robert Saleh responded to a question about his team's jam-packed early schedule with a simple message: "You take it as they come."

The same could go for every challenge along the way, whether it's the status of quarterback Aaron Rodgers ("no restrictions"), to the coming competition throughout the roster, but particularly at the safety position.

"The schedule comes out and every team has things on their schedule that they've got to deal with, and we've got some things we're excited to deal with," Saleh said.

As it stands, the Jets will be under the bright lights with six primetime games, the maximum allowed by the league, plus another standalone game in London against the Vikings. In all, the Green & White have seven games in the first 11 weeks of the season.

"It's not going to change the way we approach training camp," Saleh said. "From the last preseason game, you've got two weeks until the regular season. But as we go into the season just be cognizant of the rest time, so that's definitely something we'll address."

The Jets do not have their week off during the season until after they face Indianapolis on Nov. 17 -- an opening spell that includes six primetime games and the trip to London to face the Vikings at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Oct. 6. Saleh was asked about the team's decision to not take the early bye after their trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

"The decision not to take the bye was the feeling that if we could get a Thursday game early [New England on Sept. 19, the home opener] they act as miniature byes, then we prefer a later bye. There's so much data now with regards to the London trip and so many teams have tried it so many different ways. We feel really comfortable about what we're going to do ... I'll keep it quiet ... but there's a couple of things from our last trip [in 2021, a 27-20 loss to Atlanta] that we learned that we'll omit and a couple of things we're going to add. Every experience is a learning experience."

Saleh said he, ideally, sees the season divided into manageable chunks now with the bye coming after the Week 11 game.

"You come off training camp and you've got those two weeks, a bye week before the season starts, so in a perfect world you have eight or nine games, get a bye week then play eight or nine more," he said. "But with the Thursday game, it kind of acts as a miniature bye so you're trying to get the league to give you a kind of six, six and six or five or whatever it is. The biggest reason is to just get a refresh in the middle, toward the end of the season. A refresh to hit your surge for hopefully what should be a playoff run."

While it's certainly early, Saleh spoke about the team's strength in the defensive backfield, particularly among the defensive backs -- led by Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed, with Michael Carter II in the slot.

"We believe so much in D.J.," Saleh said. "We think D.J. Reed is an upper-echelon corner in this league and he can defend anybody."

So while the Jets seem set at DB, Saleh acknowledged there's strong competition at safety that, at present, includes Chuck Clark (coming back from a season-ending injury), Tony Adams and recently re-signed Ashtyn Davis.

"There's competition all over," Saleh said. Then speaking about Clark, he added: "You know it's passion coming back. He's proven he's a ballhawk and this defense, he knows the defense. Chuck, obviously he's got tremendous experience and we love him a lot and obviously Chuck's coming off an injury so it isn't open that the entire safety room was open."

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