Saleh said he has full confidence in Lafleur, even though the Jets have only scored four touchdowns during their current five-game losing streak. A 23–6 loss to the Seahawks eliminated them from playoff contention, extending their fruitless streak to eight quarters with no touchdowns.
Saleh, who prefers to look at the big picture rather than recent results, said the Jets are “the second year in a commitment to getting younger everywhere: coaches, players, staff. It’s very important to take a deep breath…and , make sure you’re telling yourself the truth instead of allowing stories and panic to start.”
Last season, the Jets had Saleh as their rookie coach, Lafleur as their rookie coordinator, and second overall pick Zack Wilson as their rookie quarterback. It was a plan to grow together, but it hasn’t improved much.
Under 36-year-old LaFleur, the Jets finished 28th in scoring last season and are 27th this year. Because he dealt with Wilson’s sharp growing pains and injuries to Brees Hall and offensive line rookie RB.
Saleh is a close friend of LaFleur’s older brother and Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur, and has known Mike LaFleur since he was a teenager. When Saleh landed a job with the Jets in 2021, his first significant hire was Mike, who was also a former 49ers assistant.
“I’ve been wearing[Mike]Lafleur’s shoes,” Saleh said, remembering how he was in the hot seat as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers after the 2018 season. It would have been so easy for[Shanahan]to fire me, it was so easy to say, ‘I went 4-12.
“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 Surrey’s profile as a head coach candidate. He said that objective assessment requires discipline, and that “don’t make knee-jerk reactions that derail what could be a very good football coach or a great player.” Hmm, that’s where Zack comes in.”
“I was in (Mike) LaFleur’s shoes. It would have been very easy for Kyle (Shanahan) to fire me. Get out of the building.” We sat down…he committed to me and the rest is history. ”
Jets coach Robert Sale
Lafleur and Wilson were replaced by Mike White in the lineup and were the lightning rod as the team fell apart in the closing stages of the season.
As for LaFleur, Saleh admitted the results were not good enough, but he believes there has been some growth in offense, mostly due to individual players. On Sunday, rookie wide his receiver Garrett Wilson became the first Jets player since 2015 to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
Center Conor McGovern said, “There was a stretch here and there where we had one of the most offenses in the league in two games in a row.” No. The whole New York Jets are inconsistent.”
Commenting on Wilson’s uncertain future during the two benchings, Saleh reiterated that he has no desire to leave him. He has no intention of committing to Wilson as the starter for 2023, but said it’s too early to cut the bait after just two seasons. Many “ex-Jets have found success.
One of them, Seattle’s Geno Smith, beat them on Sunday.
“If there is a franchise that should recognize that ‘we should give these young people a little time’, it is this organization,” Saleh said.