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Robert Saleh on Excitement About the Jets: 'We Have to Keep Our Heads Down'

Fourth-Year HC Says His Team's 'Great Offseason' Must Be Followed by Finding Ways to Get Better


This is one in a series of articles that will also appear in the New York Jets 2024 Yearbook, which will be published later this summer.

The wind was taken out of the Jets' sails four plays into last season after Aaron Rodgers, their newly acquired future Hall of Fame QB, ruptured his left Achilles tendon. But head coach Robert Saleh kept his team from capsizing in what he described as a frustrating 7-10 season.

Entering his fourth year coaching the Green & White, Saleh feels the Jets are perhaps even more primed than last year to compete for the playoffs.

"Obviously, we all want to win games," Saleh said. "We all want to go to the playoffs, we all want to win championships. That's been the goal since the day we walked in here. It felt like we were going to have that opportunity last year. It didn't happen. This year is about picking ourselves up, putting our heads down and just working."

The Jets defense returns most of its starters on a unit that finished in the NFL's top five the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the offense, which finished No. 31 in yards/game, started four quarterbacks and 13 offensive line combinations, underwent construction in the offseason.

General manager Joe Douglas added a pair of big fish to the offense in LT Tyron Smith, the eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro, and WR Mike Williams, who ranks No. 6 in the NFL in yards per reception (15.6) since he was drafted No. 7 overall in 2017. Douglas also used the Jets' first two draft choices to help Rodgers — Penn State T Olu Fashanu in Round 1 to help protect the QB and WR Malachi Corley in Round 3 as another offensive weapon.

With similar expectations around this time last year, Saleh isn't hiding from the noise.

"You trade for a guy like Aaron Rodgers, it sounds silly for any of us to try to hide from it, but the reality is winning the offseason doesn't matter," he said. "We have to win football games, and no matter how much excitement there is around the organization, no matter how much excitement there is around free agency or the draft, none of it matters. We just have to keep our heads down and find ways to get better, continue to have a great offseason.

"And when we get to the season, we have to find a way to put W's in the win column."

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