football

Is Robert Saleh the Jets’ Next Savior?

By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com

As you are reading this, Robet Saleh could be the next Jets’ head coach.

The Jets may have handed him the reins to help them jump off  the head coaching carousel, one that has shifted into a higher gear with other teams ready to plunk him and others off for their own.

If it is, Christopher Johnson and Joe Douglas have to be certain they have their guy.

Saleh was back in Florham Park Wednesday for his second interview, and there was a growing sentiment the Jets would not let him leave the building without a signed contract.

San Francisco’s defensive coordinator, Saleh is among the favorites for the majority of the six available head coaching positions.

With the team battling overall injuries as well as COVID issues all season, Saleh managed to keep the defensive unit among the best in the league. 

The 49ers were fifth in yards allowed, fourth in passing yards, and seventh in rushing despite having five starters out of the lineup for extended periods.

Saleh has been a selling point for the league with his flamboyant and intense style on the sidelines. He rose to fame when his No. 2 ranked defense was a key component that helped the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

 The 41-year-old certainly has the credentials, and he is adored by his players. He appears to be the complete package.

Is he the right hire?  

This is a franchise-turning hire with the No. 2 overall pick, a bevy of others, and a good amount of cap money in the balance.

If Saleh is hiredm, will he tap the right offensive coordinator to work with Sam Darnold or Ohio State’s Justin Fields or BYU’s Zack Wilson? DeShaun Watson is a longshot.

Former Jets’ offensive coordinator Brian Shottenheimer was just let go by Seattle. He worked wonders with Mark Sanchez. 

Or could Schottenheimer suddenly emerge as a head coaching candidate?

The Jets made it clear that this search would be thorough leaving no stone unturned. They would prefer a candidate with head coaching experience, and Adam Gase was the only head coach since Bill Parcells in 1997.

Former head coach Todd Bowles was fired Dec. 30, 2018, and Gase was hired less than two weeks later on Jan. 11. Gase reportedly was one of the hot commodities at the time.

Gase was fired Jan. 3 and Saleh could be hired Jan. 13.

Hmm..see the pattern.

The Doug Pederson scenario could bring this process to a halt, as he is a viable candidate with had coaching experience. The Jets may be hesitant to hire Pederson after they rushed to hire Gase soon after he was fired by the Dolphins.

The Jets interview former Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis, but the 62-year-old doesn’t seem like the final piece of the puzzle. Ex-Colts head coach Jim Caldwell has gotten a brief feelre from some teams, but he has fallen out of the spotlight.

This does bounce back to Gase’s hiring, when the Jets missed the mark by passing on Matt Rhule, Kliff Kingsbury, and Matt LeFleur. Mike McCarthy looked like a better choice back then.

They could have made a run at Sean McVay and Matt Nagy if they let Bowles go a year earlier.

Kansas CIty’s Eric Bienemy, Buffalo’s Brian Daboll, Tennessee’s Arthur Smith, and the Rams’ Brandon Staley — all offensive coordinators — loom as worthy candidates for second interviews and heavy consideration.

The Jets have to stay on task, but they likely will be forced to pull the trigger soon once one of them is hired.

Since Parcells, the Jets’ head coaches have compiled an overall 150-186 mark with Herman Edwards and Rex Ryan having the most productive and longest runs, even though they both finished under .500. (Edwards, 39-41; Ryan, 46-50).

“Saleh the Savior” soon could be battlecry for Jets’ fans.

Whoever it is, the Jets have to get it right.

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