A slow start to games has led to a slow start to the season, but Robert Saleh said Monday that the Jets have spent the bye week pinpointing weaknesses and will begin to implement undisclosed changes that they hope will allow for more immediate production and save the season.
While Saleh declined to go into detail, the Jets coach did indicate the team will be tweaking the way they schedule things during the week "to get the body clocks moving at an earlier time," and added that subtle changes, along with sustained emphasis on fundamentals, can be the key to significant change. The Jets are 1-4 and have been outscored 30-0 in first quarters, a major reason why they have a minus-54 point differential overall.
"We feel really good about the soundness of the things that we’ll be doing over the course of the week," he said. "One thing that I thought was very important was that we didn’t just make things up and do things just to do things . . . It’s not just a grab bag to try and throw junk at the wall and hoping it sticks."
Saleh said he and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s staff have honed in on Zach Wilson’s first-quarter splits, what he’s doing earlier in the game as opposed to later, and looked at how they can get the most out of their rookie quarterback. The key is to get him more comfortable earlier, allowing him to get into a rhythm quicker.
The bye week, he said, has also allowed Wilson to get much-needed rest, a sort of reboot for the rest of the season.
"I had a good talk with him, I believe it was Friday evening, and just talking about Sunday or Saturday morning," Saleh said. "He’s talking about some things and I was like, ‘Hey, dude, just make sure you go to sleep — just relax and lay off a little bit and just relax.' You know, he’s such a competitor, he’s just constantly thinking about it. But I think coaches, players, organization, even for you guys [the media], just step away and watching somebody else for a minute [is important]. It's a good refresher and a chance to come back and see if we can finish this thing strong."
Saleh compared the changes to perfecting a golf swing — good fundamentals need to stay consistent, because drastic changes will only allow for more failure. Beyond that, though, there’s room for change — possibly in the form of further simplification of the Jets' offensive schemes.
"Just look around the league at the teams that are struggling, what’s the one thing they all want to do?" he said. "Well, maybe we’ll scale back some and give our guys a chance to just go play. And it’s like, well, why don’t you do that from the beginning? But there’s balance because you’ve got to do enough to make sure that the opposing team is always off balance but you want to make sure your players are in the position to play as best as possible."
Braxton Berrios, while also not going into specifics, said he was confident that the changes will show up on the stat sheet.
"We went through it as a team, a couple things that are going to change," the wide receiver said. "At the end of the day, we’re going to do what we’re told . . . whether it’s practice, whether it’s a walk-through, whether it’s the game. Obviously, we’re going to figure it out as a team. Whatever we have to do, we’re going to do but I don’t see, with this group, [the struggles] being a long-term thing. I think we’re going to figure it out shortly."