Jets coach Saleh defends embattled OC LaFleur

Jets coach Saleh defends embattled OC LaFleur

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Even though the New York Jets’ playoff hopes have been shattered, in large part, by a struggling offense, coach Robert Saleh insisted Monday he won’t let the noise outside influence his decision on the future of offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.

Saleh said he still has complete faith in LaFleur even though the Jets have scored just four touchdowns during their five-game losing streak. The Jets (7-9) were knocked out of the playoffs on Sunday with a 23-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, extending their futility streak to eight straight quarters without a touchdown.

Preferring to look at the big picture rather than recent results, Saleh said the Jets are in year two of a “commitment to getting young everywhere – coaches, players, staff, everyone. It’s so important to take a deep breath…and make sure we’re telling each other the truth rather than letting the narrative and the panic take hold.”

Last season, the Jets had a rookie coach in Saleh, a rookie coordinator in LaFleur and a rookie quarterback in Zach Wilson, the second overall pick. The plan was to have them grow together, but there wasn’t much improvement.

Under LaFleur, 36, the Jets finished 28th in scoring last season and they’re 27th this year as they struggled with acute growing pains from Wilson and injuries to rookie running back Breece Hall and the line. offensive.

Saleh is close friends with LaFleur’s older brother, Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur, and has known Mike LaFleur since he was a teenager. When Saleh landed the Jets job in 2021, his first big hire was Mike, also a former 49ers assistant.

“I was in (Mike) LaFleur’s shoes,” Saleh said, recalling how in the hot seat he was as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers after the 2018 season. Kyle (Shanahan) to fire me, very easy to say, ‘You know what?

“But to his credit, we sat down…he committed to me, and the rest is history.”

The 49ers won the NFC Championship in 2019, raising Saleh’s profile as a head coach candidate. He said it takes discipline to make objective assessments and “not have knee-jerk reactions that would derail what could be a very good football manager – or a good player, for that matter. That’s where let Zach come in.”

“I was in (Mike) LaFleur’s shoes. It would have been very easy for Kyle (Shanahan) to fire me, very easy to say, ‘You know what? We went 4-12, you’re the scapegoat , get out of the building. But to his credit, we sat down…he committed to me, and the rest is history.”

Robert Saleh, Jets coach

LaFleur and Wilson, replaced in the roster by Mike White, were the lightning rods when the team collapsed late in the season.

As for LaFleur, Saleh acknowledged that the results weren’t good enough, but he thinks there has been some growth on offense, mostly by individual players. On Sunday, rookie receiver Garrett Wilson became the first Jets player since 2015 to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

“There were times when we had one of the most prolific offenses in the league for a few games in a row, here and there,” center Connor McGovern said. “It’s just about consistency. It’s not just about LaFleur, it’s not just about the players. It’s the whole New York Jets that’s not consistent.”

Commenting on Wilson’s future, which looks uncertain after two benchings, Saleh reiterated that there was no desire to walk away from him. While he wouldn’t commit to Wilson as a 2023 starter, he said it was premature to cut the bait after just two seasons. He doesn’t want to repeat the organization’s past mistakes, noting that there are “so many” former Jets who are finding success.

One of them, Geno Smith of Seattle, beat them on Sunday.

“If there’s one franchise that should acknowledge, ‘Maybe we should give these young men some time,’ it’s this organization,” Saleh said.

#Jets #coach #Saleh #defends #embattled #LaFleur

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *