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Robert Saleh on Jets Locker Room Following First Career Win: 'It's Awesome'

Coach Stays Even-Keeled, Says His Team 'Has to Find Ways to Get Better & Not Read Our Press Clippings'


There was no doubt that Robert Saleh was wound up tight on the sidelines as the Jets' overtime win over the Titans unfolded at MetLife Stadium. No doubt that he wanted every call, jumped for joy with his team's successes, agonized with every error.

But the Jets reporters have gotten used to Saleh's calm demeanor when it's required. Which is probably why no one in the Jets interview room asked the young head coach how it felt for him to put that first win of his pro career into his back pocket.

About the best the reporters got came when Saleh was asked two questions late in his short media session, what he told Zach Wilson after Randy Bullock's 49-yard field goal sailed wide left, securing the 27-24 victory.

"You havin' fun yet?" Saleh said.

And how is his locker room right about now?

"It's awesome," he said. "It's awesome."

It wasn't a perfect game by any means, but there were a lot of perfect plays embedded in the game's almost 70 minutes of play that helped the Jets persevere in the first half, then grab hold of the lead in the third and fourth quarters, then take it for good in the extra session. Wilson passes, catches by Corey Davis — playing his first game against his team of the previous four seasons — Keelan Cole and Jamison Crowder, defensive stops by C.J. Mosley, a wild showing by LB Quincy Williams, two more sacks by "little brother" Quincy Williams, seven sacks of Ryan Tannehill and all. And on and on.

On Wilson, Saleh said in his calm baritone postgame voice: "The guy was resilient, he had resolve, he was a playmaker. ... Just like one loss doesn't define, one win doesn't define, and he's got to get back to it and continue to grow and get better from this."

Regarding the defense, the unit after Saleh's heart, the HC was effusive in his analysis.

"The defense has been spectacular all season," he said. "Stats don't do justice to what they've ben able to accomplish at all three levels. The D-line was outstanding, the linebackers were outstanding. The young DBs, play after play after play, through all the adversity — call them what you will. We had the game over several times in regulation. But credit to them. We were fantastic."

It all came together for a number of firsts for many of the Jets players and coaches, especially those who are new to the operation this season. Among the firsts that Saleh can savor if he choose back at home late tonight:

■ The offense's first first-half touchdown of the season, which came at the end of Wilson's first of four 70-yard drives, his first of four TD drives, crowned by rookie RB Michael Carter plowing up the middle for the 2-yard TD, with a lot of help from his bigbody friends shepherding him across the goal line. That TD also ended the Green & White's touchdown-less streak at nine quarters.

■ The defense's first seven-sack game in the last four seasons. They also had three more red zone stops in five opportunities.

■ His Jets' first comeback win — in fact their first multiple-comeback win, from 9-0 down to 10-9 ahead in the third quarter, from 17-10 down to 24-17 ahead in the fourth until the Titans scored late in regulation to send the game to OT. Also with those advantages, his Jets held their first leads of the season after spending no time ahead in the first three games.

■ His Jets' first overtime win. They hadn't had an OT victory since stopping the Jaguars at MetLife, 23-20, in 2017.

■ His Jets' first home win, after dropping their home opener two weeks ago to the Patriots, 25-6.

■ His Jets' first win. It took four games, and it looked shaky at times early and late, but the Jets got it done.

Now the trick will be one of balance. Saleh, with no strong emotion showing but that tiny half-smile of his letting him know that he believes in the culture he and his staff and players are installing, repeated the mantra about losing doesn't define and neither does winning, this time in case the Jets think they've got everything figured out before they head over this week to London to prepare to play the Falcons next Sunday.

"You've got to stack these things up. You've got to stack up great days and continue to get better," said the coach. "We've got a really good opponent coming up in London. We've got to do our best to find ways to get better and not read our press clippings."

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