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With Improved Jets, Has Robert Saleh's Messaging Changed?

HC Says T Mekhi Becton Looks Fantastic; Allen Lazard and Corey Davis Provide Size at WR


On Jan. 21, 2021, Robert Saleh was introduced as the' 20thhead coach in Jets franchise history. He inherited a team that finished 2-14 in 2020, Saleh introduced the "All Gas, No Brake" mantra while stressing the importance of daily improvement.

"I cannot tell you enough about how excited I am to work with this entire Jets organization and understanding that when we wake up in the morning, we will all — from top down — step on the pedal and find a way to get somewhat better than we were when we woke up," he said.

Embracing a youth movement with new systems in place, the Jets took baby steps in Year 1 and finished 4-13. In Saleh's second campaign, the Jets nearly doubled their win total in the 2022 season and featured a roster with elite players on both sides of the ball as GM Joe Douglas quickly transformed the roster and Saleh's coaching staff developed a group that flirted with the postseason. After acquiring four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers from the Packers two days before to the NFL Draft, the Jets are expected to field one of the AFC's top teams.

But the ever-consistent Saleh has not changed his messaging. More than 25 months into his tenure, Saleh spoke a familiar refrain to reporters during the recent rookie minicamp.

"It's redundant and I get it, I feel like I say it to you guys all the time, wake up and find a way to get better and maximize who you are every single day," he said. "That's it, that's the expectation. If it leads to starting, if it leads to a left tackle position, it doesn't matter. If you go to bed satisfied with the way you approached the day and the way you attacked it, then odds are it's probably going to work out in your favor. If it doesn't, at least you can go to bed with no regrets. So, with everybody in this organization, that's the expectation. It's to go to bed better than when you woke up. If you do, things usually work out."

Don't expect Saleh and the Jets to change with different external expectations. Pundits talk about the pressure to win, but Saleh is man who has always embraced each challenge. Even as the Jets continue to ascend, it's important to remember what Saleh said on Day 1.

"We embrace your passion, we embrace your expectations," he said of messaging to a hungry fan base. "We cannot wait to go on this journey with you. Please understand, we understand that we have a lot of work to do. But make no mistake that our goal is to win championships. And so again, I cannot wait to get through this journey with all of y'all. It's going to be an exciting time, and I promise that you're going to love what y'all see."

See the best photos of the Jets during the first week of phase two during optional offseason team workouts at 1 Jets Drive.

The Best 5
At this point during the Jets' offseason program, you can pencil in RG Alijah Vera-Tucker and LG Laken Tomlinson in as starters.

"We're going to play our best five," HC Robert Saleh said. "You can assume AVT is the best right guard and Laken and our center and both tackles, so it's going to be a cool competition."

At center, the Jets signed Wes Schweitzer and Trystan Colon in free agency, re-signed Connor McGovern and then used a second-round pick on Wisconsin's Joe Tippmann. At tackle, veteran Duane Brown returns, Billy Turner has started in 75 of his 91 career games, Max Mitchell will look to build on his early rookie success, and a highly motivated Mekhi Becton has transformed his body this offseason.

"He looks good. He looks fantastic," Saleh said of Becton while later adding, "Just find a way to get better every day, but he's attacking this offseason the right way and I'm excited for him."

Good Size at WR
The Jets offense absorbed multiple hits in their Week 7, 16-9 victory over the Broncos. RB Breece Hall (torn ACL) and OL Alijah Vera-Tucker (torn triceps) sustained season-ending injuries. WR Corey Davis exited with a knee injury and went on to miss the next three games. Davis's absence forced the Jets to go to a smaller lineup. Allen Lazard (6-5, 227), who had 14 receiving TDs with the Packers in 2020-21, was added to a group this offseason that includes Davis (6-3, 209) and Denzel Mims (6-3, 207).

"The cool thing with what [offensive coordinator] Nathaniel (Hackett) is bringing, and this whole system, is there is a lot of versatility amongst the receivers in terms of being able to play multiple spots," HC Robert Saleh said. "The one thing when Corey got hurt last year, we got small quick. I felt like this year, bringing in Allen and having Corey, we have a lot bigger personnel now. There's a lot of grinding that goes on in the run game, the red zone, all those big-boy catches that happen off the play-action pass. Those things are where Allen and Corey excel. It's not just to limit them to those, we're going to see how they play within this system over OTAs and training camp and their roles will be defined more, but to have him, you can never have enough receivers."

The revamped wide receiver group will be one to spotlight in training camp. Garrett Wilson, the Offensive Rookie of the Year, is a star who will be paired with Aaron Rodgers in Year 2. Speedster Mecole Hardman Jr. and Randall Cobb, a favorite of Rodgers in Green Bay, give the Jets options in the slot and red zone. The Jets currently have 12 wideouts on the roster.

"To have a guy like Allen and Corey, then you add Garrett and Mecole with all the speed and all the competition that's going to happen at that five-six spot, Randall and all that," Saleh said. "It's a really cool group of receivers and exciting to see how it shakes out."

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