Head coach Robert Saleh of the New York Jets walks...

Head coach Robert Saleh of the New York Jets walks off the field after a game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Credit: Jim McIsaac

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The dream of being in the postseason officially ended for the Jets last week, but Robert Saleh has no doubt it will become a reality soon.

Saleh strongly believes that the Jets will be playing truly meaningful football games in December under his leadership. He also believes the Jets are playing important games now, and that their remaining schedule against mostly playoff contenders will help them understand what’s at stake and prepare them for some better winters.

The Jets face a surging Dolphins’ team that has won five straight games - including a win last month at MetLife Stadium – and are fighting to make the playoffs. Three of the Jets’ last four games are against teams in the postseason mix or battling for seeding.

Saleh is confident the Jets will be one of those teams as early as next year.

"December football is different," Saleh said before practice Wednesday. "It is different in terms of being in the hunt, getting ready to play for a chance to get in the dance and play for a championship. Like that is a big deal.

"Miami’s in the playoff hunt, they’re bringing a different style than we saw a few weeks ago. It’s going to be different. [It’s important] to understand the intensity level and feel that intensity level and capture that intensity level and embrace it because we’re going to be in these positions for years to come and we’re going to be in December playing meaningful games."

The Jets (3-10) were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with last Sunday’s 30-9 loss to New Orleans. They’ve missed the postseason 11 consecutive years, which is the NFL’s longest active streak.

Saleh was hired to change that.

He hasn’t gotten off to a great start in his first season as an NFL head coach, but Saleh said all of this is part of the process when you’re rebuilding a team from the ground up. He is certain that he will lead the Jets into the playoffs, and he expects to have them competing for Super Bowls.

That seems many years away considering all the holes on the Jets. It could be expedited by the young kids growing up quickly – namely rookie quarterback Zach Wilson – and general manager Joe Douglas drafting and acquiring game-changers this offseason.

Saleh’s focus, though, remains on continuing to build a foundation and getting Wilson and the Jets ready for the final four games.

After playing Miami (6-7), the Jets close out the season against the Jaguars, reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay and Buffalo, a contender to come out of the AFC.

"It’s really exciting these next four games," Saleh said. "It doesn’t matter that we’re already eliminated because there’s still a lot of things that we can learn. We’re going to be in these positions. We’re going to have a lot more wins than we do now, and these games are going to be meaningful. So what can we learn from all of this moving forward?"

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