Head coach Robert Saleh of the Jets looks on against the...

Head coach Robert Saleh of the Jets looks on against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sep. 11, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Robert Saleh feels the fans’ frustration from years, actually decades, of losing. Saleh said it’s exhausting for everyone, but he remains confident that he will lead the Jets’ rebirth and will enjoy proving doubters wrong.

“I know it’s going to happen,” he said Monday afternoon. “We’re all taking receipts on all the people who continually mock and say that we ain’t gonna do anything. I’m taking receipts. I’m going to be more than happy to share them with all of you when it’s all said and done.”

Saleh is known for his passion and fire on the sideline, but during this Zoom call, he delivered some of the strongest remarks he’s made since becoming the Jets’ coach last year.

The Jets are only 4-14 under Saleh’s watch. This season didn’t start the way he hoped, with his team playing a mistake-filled, uninspired game on offense in a 24-9 loss to the Ravens on Sunday.

The fans at MetLife Stadium booed and chanted for Mike White to replace 37-year-old Joe Flacco, who is starting for the injured Zach Wilson. Saleh wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a quarterback change this week for the Jets’ game in Cleveland, but as of now, he’s leaning toward sticking with Flacco.

“Everything is always under discussion and under review,” Saleh said. “It’s more than likely going to be Joe, but the door is open on every position every week.”

The plan coming in wasn’t for Flacco to drop back more than 60 times and attempt 59 passes. He looked stiff, didn’t move well and made some poor decisions, but he could have used more help from his supporting cast.

Flacco was pressured more than 20 times, according to Pro Football Focus, leading to three sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Drops and fumbles also did in the offense, which ran 84 plays, was inside the Ravens’ 25 four times and came away with nine points.

This has put Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur right in the crosshairs of a fan base that hasn’t seen its team make the playoffs for 11 straight seasons or play in a Super Bowl since January 1969.

Saleh appreciates their pain and says there is an urgency inside the organization to win now, but the young players still need some time to grow up.

“It’s exhausting,” he said. “It’s exhausting for coaches. It’s exhausting for you guys to continue to write about losers. It’s exhausting for the fans. It’s exhausting for everybody. And nobody wants to lose.

“It’s on us as coaches to see how quickly we can accelerate this and it’s on us as an organization to see how we can facilitate all this knowledge to get these guys where they need to be so they can do right longer and play the way they need to.

“We’re always trying to accelerate the process and win immediately. We’d love to. So we are frustrated with it. We’re not playing the long game and selling that. We want to win and we want to win now . . . There’s nothing worse than being sold a bill of goods on the future. Everyone wants things now; it’s the instant coffee age. At the same time, we’re grinding, and now these guys are going to get better.”

Saleh was a part of several rebuilds on his way up the NFL ladder before getting his first head-coaching job with the Jets. He’s confident in what it takes for a turnaround and believes the Jets are going to get there — and that everyone will know it when they see it.

“You just feel the team getting faster and faster and faster and you’re going to see it on tape,” Saleh said. “As you’re watching TV, it’s going to be like, ‘Damn, these guys are flying around and they’re making plays and they’re talking smack.’

“All the praise we’ve gotten on the draft picks and the free agents, all of that’s real. We have a really cool football team. It’s on us as coaches to extract it out of them and get them to play better faster. I know we will. It’s going to happen. When? We’ll all know it. You’re just going to feel it happen, I just know it.”


Zach progressing

Wilson will do some on-field individual work this week and throw to receivers running routes. This is his next step in his rehab from a bone bruise in his right knee and torn meniscus. He is expected to be out until Week 4 at the earliest.

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