Sauce Gardner of the Jets looks on against the Texans...

Sauce Gardner of the Jets looks on against the Texans at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 10, 2023. Credit: Jim McIsaac

LAS VEGAS — Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner has made two trips to Super Bowl Week in his first two NFL seasons. The next time he comes, he wants to play in the game.

“That’s always the goal: Make the Super Bowl,” Gardner told Newsday on Thursday. “That’s where I want to be.”

Gardner was in Phoenix last year for NFL Honors, where he won Defensive Rookie of the Year. This time, he’s in Vegas promoting Verizon.

A two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler, Gardner believes the Jets are close to turning that corner. He has a lot of faith in his teammates and his coaches.

Robert Saleh has come under fire for the Jets finishing 7-10 the past two seasons. Saleh also was portrayed as an excuse maker and paranoid in a recent article in The Athletic. Gardner said he hadn’t read it, but he threw a lot of support at Saleh. 

“He’s a great coach, man,” Gardner said. “I don’t think he’s paranoid. I don’t know what he could be paranoid about. I’ve been off social media a little bit in terms of reading stuff. Most of the stuff on social media [is] negative. I don’t really [read it].

“But he’s a great coach. I feel like he knows what it takes. He’s everything I could ask for when it comes to a coach and he’s a defensive head coach as well, man. He’s that guy.”

Gardner said he’s “extremely confident” that the Jets can make a big leap next year and contend for a Super Bowl.

“We’ll make that happens for sure,” Gardner said.

Jets owner Woody Johnson said on Thursday that he needs to see results next season.

"This is it," he said. "This is the time to go. We’ve got to produce this year. We have to produce this year.”

The Jets are banking on Aaron Rodgers returning to form after he played just four snaps this season due to a torn left Achilles tendon.

If Rodgers stays healthy and remains one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL that will solve many of their offensive issues. But they need to revamp the offensive line and add a top-tier receiver to play with Garrett Wilson.

The defense will need some tweaks, but they were a top-three unit this season.

Gardner believes it’s only a matter of time before the Jets become a playoff team because of how hard he and his teammates work.

“I’m confident because I know that other guys around me are confident as well,” Gardner said. “There’s a lot of confidence going on. We’ve got to make it happen. We’ve got to make it work.”

With Tom Rock

More Jets

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months