Taking Receipts: Lessons Learned
For the first time since being hired (at least to my ears), I heard the first murmurings of discontent with Robert Saleh, not just the odd person but a general wave of sentiment that turned ever so slightly. I’m going to look at his comment from earlier this week and give my thoughts on why I think he made an error in judgment.
I had planned to spread the Cleveland preview over today and tomorrow, but with work commitments and real life getting in the way, I’m going to keep it short today and then load tomorrow’s newsletter with all the information on the Browns, so keep an eye on that one.
I also wanted to say a quick thank you to all TJW subscribers, we’re currently on 998 just two short of the magic number of 1,000, and the growth within the first year has been really encouraging, so thank you. I officially started the newsletter on October 6th, 2021, and expected it to last a few weeks, but here we are on edition #222.
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We do have some injury news to get into and a few others things from yesterday’s press conference with Coach Saleh.
Let’s start with the Jets and Browns injury report from yesterday. In terms of the Jets we can all relax about George Fant, he was getting a veteran rest day, and the early expectation is that JFM will play on Sunday. However, there is real concern that Jordan Whitehead will miss the game, those fears were intensified when the Jets announced they’d signed Will Parks to the active roster from the practice squad. They also signed punter Ty Long to the practice squad, I thought it was down to Mann’s performance but seeing him limited with a back injury, maybe it’s just a contingency plan. Berrios should be fine and it was good to see Zach back, if just in a limited fashion…all we want to see is him trending in the right direction.
The Jets also announced that they had signed CB Jimmy Moreland and released wide receiver and return man Diontae Spencer.
Coach Saleh admitted that Flacco needed to be quicker with his decision-making, but also stated that he "wasn't as bad as people think he was." - I actually do agree with that, I don’t think any of our QBs would have flourished behind that line on Sunday.
On the performance of Max Mitchell who held his own playing right tackle in his NFL debut, Saleh said "He's going to be a very good tackle for a very long time." - Mitchell allowed 1 sack and 3 total pressures but overall looked good considering the Jets planned 2022 as a kind of redshirt year for him.
One notable inactive on Sunday was defensive end Bryce Huff, Saleh said that was due to loading up on bigger bodies to try and stop the run. They achieved that by limiting the Ravens to under 65 yards, but it’ll be interesting to see when and if Bryce gets an opportunity.
Former Jets LB Marvin Jones was named the head coach for the Tulsa Oilers indoor football team. Don’t say I don’t bring you all the best Jets-related news.
Finally, Saleh spoke about his comment on Monday about taking receipts. He reiterated his belief in the project and the locker room but said that he learned a lesson that you can’t control what’s said and that in the end, only wins will stop the outside noise about “same old Jets”…which leads us onto my main segment.
I just want to preface this entire segment by saying I loved the Saleh hire, I still think it was the right hire, I still believe in the project, the re-build, the development, and think in 15 years we’ll look back at this as a turning point for the franchise.
With that said, Saleh is still a very young coach in terms of his experience leading a franchise and having to answer to the media on a weekly basis, and despite my belief in him, his press conferences are starting to grate.
Here was my instant reaction to his “taking receipts” comment:
I’ve spoken about this with several people, Jets fans and non-Jets fans and I stand by what I said immediately. A lot of Jets fans have claimed that it was a diversion technique by Saleh to take the heat off his players, but that makes very little sense to me, and here’s why.
The Jets lost to the Baltimore Ravens, the Jets were expected to lose to the Baltimore Ravens. It wasn’t a 40 or 50-point blowout so the national attention on the Jets was low. On Monday morning very little time was spent on the Jets in the news cycle, it wasn’t that big of a story. Sure Peyton Manning took a little shot at us on MNF, but even that was after the Saleh comments, so instantly it didn’t work.
Fast-forward 12 hours to Tuesday morning and the Jets were all over the back pages, they had a segment on Good Morning Football and the clip was on countless radio shows, podcasts, and online websites. It did nothing to divert attention, it had the opposite effect, it drew attention to the Jets.
People won’t just look at a comment in isolation, it’s not as binary as you talk about the coach or you talk about the team. If a coach says something that catches attention, people want to know why he said it. People I spoke to who aren’t Jets fans basically confirmed this saying they hadn’t really paid attention to the Jets score on Sunday, but because it all got covered in light of the comments (the record in September, the playoff draught, the opening loss, etc) they took notice. That’s not deflecting from the players, that’s bringing the heat on the organization, players and coaching staff.
I sometimes think that coaches believe they have to be a certain way in New York, extra bravado, but I also think that sometimes happens because they are becoming somewhat uncomfortable. My dad always used to say to me that people under pressure either do two things, handle it with quiet confidence or come out swinging - the perception being that to swing is better, but the ones who stay quiet tend to have the better outcome.
At the end of the day, New York fans are pretty easy to please. You need to win. That’s it, that’s it in a nutshell. If you win you can be as loud as Rex Ryan or as quiet as Todd Bowles, it doesn’t matter. If you’re losing then fans don’t always want to hear the bravado, they want to see it on the field.
Right now, the inescapable truth for Robert Saleh is that his win percentage as a head coach is .222 - That’s worse than Adam Gase (.281), worse than Lou Holtz (.231) and only Rich Kotite has a worse record for coaches who managed at least 10 games. Now there are extenuating circumstances, the Jets are going through a rebuild, it was broken down to build back up again and as he said recently, the roster was an expansion team when Joe took over (Although it may not be far from the truth, I’m not sure I’d say that with some of those players still in the league, just bad form in my opinion).
I loved the hiring of Robert Saleh, in part because of the much-needed energy he was bringing. That energy seems to have faded a little bit on the sideline, and losing will do that. I don’t know if it’s a conscious decision to become more CEO-like as a head coach but don’t go too far away from what made you “the guy” - I still have faith in Saleh and appreciate the process we’re going through as an organization, but at some point, we need to start seeing those W’s on the board, we need to start seeing some aggressive confidence in the playcalling…until then, you can miss me with the bravado.
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