Jump to content

Cimini Jets Season preview


kevinc855
 Share

Recommended Posts

Honeymooners, no more: Why 2022 is big for Jets' Robert Saleh, Joe Douglas

 

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jetscoach Robert Saleh likes to wear a black T-shirt that has "60%" emblazoned on the chest. No, it's not the percentage of cotton in the shirt. It's certainly not the team's winning percentage over the past decade. (If that were the case, the T-shirt would say 34%.)

No, the shirt is a nod to the Navy SEALs and their secret to mental toughness -- aka the 40% rule. Loosely translated: When you're so exhausted that your mind is telling you to quit, you've actually reached only 40% of your body's potential.

Saleh, infatuated with the SEALs, preached the message all summer to the players, coaches and pretty much everyone in the organization, which explains why 60% T-shirts have popped up around the building. His mission in his second year is to push the Jets to a new limit, to make them find that elusive 60%.

"To do that," he said, "you have to go to a dark place."

The Jets, of all teams, know dark places.

They've gone 11 straight years out of the playoffs, the longest active streak in the NFL and tied for the longest in franchise history. Saleh, 43, wasn't even born when the Jets played in their only Super Bowl back in January 1969. He and general manager Joe Douglas, 46, have infused the organization with optimism and hope, but the fan base is getting restless and wants its leadership tandem to deliver results.

It doesn't want to hear about moral victories and carefully crafted marketing campaigns that highlight the emerging youth on the roster. It wants to see tangible progress, meaning wins.

"I still believe we’re going to win championships here," said Saleh, reiterating what he said on the day he was hired and repeated during the toughest times of a 4-13 campaign.

E696CBC1-37E9-4745-8D61-5BE4513CC34B.jpeg.7d82269733164c3ecd4002186149ba65.jpeg
The Jets' roster has gotten more talented under the Joe Douglas-Robert Saleh regime but done little winning. John Jones/USA TODAY Sportsnone

No one expects the Jets to win a title this season, or even make the playoffs in the loaded AFC, but they should be more competitive than last year. Eight of their 13 losses last season were by double digits, including 41- and 28-point losses to the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills, respectively.

They went 0-6 in the AFC East for the second straight year, the longest divisional losing streak (12) by any AFC East team since realignment in 2002. In his first team meeting in April, Saleh hammered the 12-game skid as part of his overall theme: We must close "the gap" in 2022.

The honeymoon is over, folks.

"The goal is to be playing meaningful games down the stretch," said Douglas, reciting a relatively modest goal but one that hasn't been accomplished since 2015.

This is Douglas' fourth year. He walked into a dysfunctional situation with a roster devoid of talent, and he has done a commendable job -- except for an unproductive 2020 draft -- of replenishing the roster with young talent. Still, he doesn't have much to show for it -- a 13-36 record. This is a pivotal year for Douglas, who signed a six-year contract.

Saleh received a five-year contract, aligning closely with Douglas, the person he reports to. It seems like a lot of security for the two top football men, yet there's a layer of mystery around the organization because neither man was hired by owner Woody Johnson, who returned last year from an overseas diplomatic post for the Donald Trump White House.

Johnson, who attends most practices and is very involved in the football operation, wants to win now -- or at least see real progress. How much patience does he have?

"I feel like we're certainly a more talented team than we've ever been," said Douglas, acknowledging the expectations are higher than at any point during his tenure.

The roster is more talented than last season, no doubt, yet they have no players in ESPN's NFL Rank top 100. The Jets are all about the kids -- five first-round draft picks over the past two years, including quarterback Zach Wilson. All told, they have a league-high 13 former first-rounders on the 53-man roster, including seven drafted by other teams.

Saleh likes to say their roster is "built, not bought," which he believes is conducive to long-term success, but the Jets actually have one of the highest payrolls. Their active cash spending is $257 million, which trails only the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and Bills, according to OvertheCap.com. Those are teams coming off multiple winning seasons; the Jets haven't posted a winning record since 2015.

When owners spend a lot of money, they want bang for the buck.

For the Jets, so much hinges on Wilson, who has almost as many knee injuries (two) as starting wins (three). The physical talent is there, but he has yet to demonstrate any consistency. The futures of Saleh and Douglas are tied to Wilson, whom they selected second overall in 2021. If he fails, they fail.

Wisely, Douglas surrounded his quarterback with a cadre of promising young skill players -- wide receivers Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson and running backs Michael Carter and Breece Hall. Hall, who the Jets took in the second round in April, already has some in the organization thinking he might be one of the most talented players on the roster.

But they're all in the range of 21-23 years old. They can grow up together.

"It's exciting to see where we're headed," said backup quarterback Joe Flacco, 37, the team's elder statesman. "I still think we're so young in certain ways, and we haven't won the last few years, so we're still at the point where we're gaining our confidence and proving it to ourselves. We're not going to get completely over that hurdle until we go out and actually do it."

Douglas built the defense to align with Saleh's philosophy -- an athletic front four that goes 10 deep and attacks in waves. They used their top draft pick (fourth overall) on press-man cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, a mild surprise because of Saleh's history of taking unheralded corners and plugging them into his zone system. Gardner should impact third down, when they typically dial up more man coverage than on first and second downs.

Here's a guarantee: The defense will be significantly better than last season.

The punchline: It can't get worse, as the Jets finished last in yards and points allowed (a franchise-record 504).

ESPN analyst Troy Aikman saw some bright spots last season, noticing on tape how the defense flew around the ball, reminiscent of what Saleh did with theSan Francisco 49ers when he was their defensive coordinator. The Hall of Fame quarterback said he mentioned it to colleagues, telling them, "This Jets defense, they're going to be pretty good."

Then he worked the Jets' dreadful loss to the Indianapolis Colts on a Thursday night, when they allowed a season-high 260 rushing yards. Aikman said the Jets "could've stayed home and been more competitive," yet he still sees potential for the unit. And the team.

"I do think the Jets have a chance to be really good," he said. "I don't know if it's a mirage or not, but I like what they're doing, and I like Robert Saleh and I do like Zach Wilson."

Saleh was part of a successful rebuild in San Francisco, but that didn't come to fruition until Year 3, with a trip to the Super Bowl. Several key players blossomed at the same time, and Saleh expects that to happen with the Jets. It should. After all, the roster includes eight top-36 picks, seven of whom were drafted by Douglas. The exception is defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who was picked by the previous regime.

The goal is to develop players who seize the big moments. Saleh mentioned Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs andAaron Donald as those kind of players.

"What's great about this team is I know we have them," he said. "It's going to be so fun to watch this team grow up in terms of who those dudes are, who steps up in the fourth quarter."

In other words, which dudes find that extra 60%.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The expectations for this team from the NFL media and other NFL pundits, including the betting houses, is quite low - 5.5 wins, bottom quarter of the NFL, in competition for a top pick again.  Why are the fans expecting more?  And don't hand me the "it's been X years of losing and I'm tired of it" line.  This team should be improved from last season, but it is not ready to compete for a playoff spot or win 9 games.  The talent is all young.  I see 6-7 wins as a realistic outcome.  

  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can see where some fans are coming from: JD/Jets have invested significantly in Draft capital (EMoore, AVT, GWilson, Becton -fail, Sauce, JJ) and UFA capital (Lawson, Tomlinson, Uzoah, Conklin, Reed, Whitehead, DuaneBrown) to more than satisfy the “surrounding/necessary talent” that BOTH Require, at minimum, for Saleh’s defense to stop a nose bleed and ZachWilson to show he’s a capable Pro QB. 
 

they’ve been given MORE than plenty by JD when juxtaposed with the absolute crap the previous 2 GMs provided for the HC and developing QB. That taken into account, long time fans want much more immediate and palpable results from Wilson & Saleh; JD has done his job despite the major handicap he played with when accepting the job. 

  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, Cyberjet said:

If Wilson doesn’t have it and Saleh’s defense and schemes don’t show up - yes

That's not what you wrote. So if Wilson falters, but the defense is improved, Saleh stays?  This is why I hate ultimatums and made up metrics.  There could be dozens of reasons why a 6 win season is both good and bad.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

Saleh likes to say their roster is "built, not bought," which he believes is conducive to long-term success, but the Jets actually have one of the highest payrolls. Their active cash spending is $257 million, which trails only the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and Bills, according to OvertheCap.com. Those are teams coming off multiple winning seasons; the Jets haven't posted a winning record since 2015.

@bitonti

1 hour ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

The futures of Saleh and Douglas are tied to Wilson, whom they selected second overall in 2021. If he fails, they fail.

Disagree. I think if Wilson fails, but Douglas and Saleh believe the rest of the team is on the right track, they’ll throw Zach under the bus and bring in a veteran. They’ll be able to make that case to Woody, who won’t be so inclined as to eat their contracts, too. 

  • Upvote 3
  • Sympathy 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Joe Willie White Shoes said:

The expectations for this team from the NFL media and other NFL pundits, including the betting houses, is quite low - 5.5 wins, bottom quarter of the NFL, in competition for a top pick again.  Why are the fans expecting more?  And don't hand me the "it's been X years of losing and I'm tired of it" line.  This team should be improved from last season, but it is not ready to compete for a playoff spot or win 9 games.  The talent is all young.  I see 6-7 wins as a realistic outcome.  

So I think the team is significantly better than last year; does that translate to 8+ wins? I don't think so. There are still significant holes on both sides; i am more worried about the D side -without fast safeties, depth at CB and S I am concerned. That being said, 5-6 wins would suck, but if it is 5-6 wins but with a lot of very close games with most of the positive games towards the end of the season, I think it is still significant progress.

Zack has to show growth and improvements if he wants to go into the next season as the starter. Saleh's D has to show vast improvements and the team needs to show up prepared. All of that may not translate to 8-9 wins (but I hope so). This should be fun to watch and if things go well this season (as described above), we should go into next year with the 'build' complete and focusing on the playoffs.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, NIGHT STALKER said:

I saw an article where Cimini picked the Jets at under 5.5 wins.  He's such a negative bitch.  For once Rich, step it up some even if you feel like you're talking out of your ass.  

Thought this article was pretty positive coming from Rich. Sure, he got his digs in, but the overall theme was one of an organization that understands it needs to do some winning now. Coaches and players, both. They feel the pressure of the losing and they want to change that, too. I know Saleh isn’t winning any popularity contests around these parts, but the players certainly seem to parrot almost all of his mantras. Have to see the results on the field with the x’s & o’s, too, but it looks as if his motivational tactics are -so far- resonating with the players. 

  • Upvote 3
  • Sympathy 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Joe Willie White Shoes said:

That's not what you wrote. So if Wilson falters, but the defense is improved, Saleh stays?  This is why I hate ultimatums and made up metrics.  There could be dozens of reasons why a 6 win season is both good and bad.

Huh? I said we are going to find out about 2 people Wilson and Saleh this year. Joe Douglas has done his job. You’re  the one who came up with the ultimatum and made up metric with your response 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Joe Willie White Shoes said:

So if Wilson doesn't have it and the Jets win 4-5 games, Saleh should be fired?  

I think it depsnds on how this happens. If Wilson sucks, thats not really the HC's fault per se, however, if they come out every game unprepared, disorganized, terrible on defense (his specialty) and get the crap kicked out of them like they did last year, then yes, he's a goner. Remember, Sean Payton is looming close by. IMHO, the talent and speed on this team is much better than it has been in a decade. There is no excuse to get obliterated week after week. If they do, it's absolutely the coaching staffs fault.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If they only end up with 5-6 wins at the end of the season, the majority better be from teams in our division. If we get 7 wins but none come from the division it would be more disappointing to me. 

  • Sympathy 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Drums said:

If they only end up with 5-6 wins at the end of the season, the majority better be from teams in our division. If we get 7 wins but none come from the division it would be more disappointing to me. 

Agree that 0-6 or even 1-5 in our division be a failure. We gotta start wining those games if we are truly going anywhere 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, kevinc855 said:

Agree that 0-6 or even 1-5 in our division be a failure. We gotta start wining those games if we are truly going anywhere 

The rebuild hath not yet begun. Stop being impatient.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, kevinc855 said:

Agree that 0-6 or even 1-5 in our division be a failure. We gotta start wining those games if we are truly going anywhere 

Yeah, I think 2 wins should be the minimum. I could live with that as long as the other AFCE games aren't blowouts and we win 5-6 other games too.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, NIGHT STALKER said:

I saw an article where Cimini picked the Jets at under 5.5 wins.  He's such a negative bitch.  For once Rich, step it up some even if you feel like you're talking out of your ass.  

I think that was Anita Marks that said under 5.5 wins. I originally thought Cimini too

 

Over or under 5.5 wins? Under

The Jets could potentially have 13 starters who are either rookies or second-year players. Wilson starts the season with a knee injury, and the team begins its schedule with four straight games against AFC North opponents. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jets begin the season 0-9. -- Anita Marks

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34502379/nfl-team-previews-2022-predictions-fantasy-breakout-players-depth-charts-power-rankings-picks#nyj

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, slats said:

  the players certainly seem to parrot almost all of his mantras. Have to see the results on the field with the x’s & o’s, too, but it looks as if his motivational tactics are -so far- resonating with the players. 

This is a very young team.  Youngsters just want to play and play well.  All this mantra and slogan stuff is IMHO a bunch of BS.  If this is the best Salah has got then he's overrated. 

No more slogans and mantras.  Get these young guys coached up properly and they will give us wins.  These young guys are just as hungry as are the fans.  Coach them up Salah!  Game plan and coach them up.      

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know we talk about how Joe Douglas could be on the hot seat from the Woody Bros if his team keeps losing. But how long before Joe brings Saleh into his office and officially put Saleh on the hot seat, or Saleh puts his coordinators on a hot seat. 

There's lots of hot seats to go around. I think we see a coordinator get fired before Saleh gets the axe. I don't think JD just sits back and waits for woody to clean house. Joe will fire Saleh or his coordinator(s) first just to buy him more time. By this time next year the Jets could have a new HC or at least new coordinators.

  • Upvote 1
  • Post of the Week 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neither Saleh or Douglas will get fired if wilson fails if other parts of the team are progressing.  The jets will just find another Qb instead, some vet.  That is the way of the NFL now.  In the old days your fate was totally tied to the guy you draft, not so anymore.

  • Upvote 2
  • Sympathy 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like what Saleh and Douglas are doing, regardless of the outcome of this season.  I don't have faith in ZW, but I don't think that reflects badly on either Saleh or Douglas.  It just means its almost impossible to win in the NFL with a ridiculously raw talent at quarterback.

Now, if the defense completely bungles like it did last year, and the secondary is completely mismatched and we are getting blown up at the line of scrimmage, then yea maybe we have a problem.  If we have a repeat of last year, then yea they will likely enter the next year under the proverbial gun.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, FootballLove said:

I know we talk about how Joe Douglas could be on the hot seat from the Woody Bros if his team keeps losing. But how long before Joe brings Saleh into his office and officially put Saleh on the hot seat, or Saleh puts his coordinators on a hot seat. 

There's lots of hot seats to go around. I think we see a coordinator get fired before Saleh gets the axe. I don't think JD just sits back and waits for woody to clean house. Joe will fire Saleh or his coordinator(s) first just to buy him more time. By this time next year the Jets could have a new HC or at least new coordinators.

If the season goes off the rails and the improved defense is not a lot better i would say Ulbrich goes. Saleh is here in 23 unless we have some terrible scenario like 4-13 again or worse. However if the Jets end up only winning 5-6 games it’s hard not to see Saleh on the hot seat in 23. JD fate will most likely be tied to how Zach performs in 22. If he’s bad it’s quite the indictment on JD who already has a bad qb pick in captain Morgan under his belt. 

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Cyberjet said:

The Jets team played last year at times reminded me when Gerry Faust coached Notre Dame

 Exactly ! When you consistently see players out of position and plays breaking down, its on the coaching staff . Execution is on the players. As fans however, its really hard to judge these things because we don't have a playbook available, we don't know the actual play called, and most don't have All-22 to reference, even if you do, is a player is in the correct position as per scheme or play call ?...... We can go on and on with this as fans BUT Joe Douglas does have this info and can question the HC on these issues. If the team sucks, and constantly looks out of position he can easily make the call on a coach or HC and figure out what's going on.

We have to rely on Douglas when it comes to the coaches and finally we have a GM with full power not this bullsh*t we dealt with before when the HC and GM were on the same level which is ridiculous unless you are dealing with a true proven HC like an Andy Reid or a Sean Payton. With a rookie HC there has to be some evaluation

  • Upvote 1
  • Post of the Week 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

Saleh likes to say their roster is "built, not bought," which he believes is conducive to long-term success, but the Jets actually have one of the highest payrolls. Their active cash spending is $257 million, which trails only the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and Bills, according to OvertheCap.com. Those are teams coming off multiple winning seasons; the Jets haven't posted a winning record since 2015.

Chicago Cubs Ok GIF by MLB

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, kevinc855 said:

If the season goes off the rails and the improved defense is not a lot better i would say Ulbrich goes. Saleh is here in 23 unless we have some terrible scenario like 4-13 again or worse. However if the Jets end up only winning 5-6 games it’s hard not to see Saleh on the hot seat in 23. JD fate will most likely be tied to how Zach performs in 22. If he’s bad it’s quite the indictment on JD who already has a bad qb pick in captain Morgan under his belt. 

I'm not so sure JD is going to be too harshly Judged on how Zach Performs . He built a pretty talented young team that now has enough depth we are actually cutting some talented players that would have made the roster in the past. Every single QB is a crap shoot its very hard if not impossible to evaluate what goes on in a QB's head, how fast they can process things at the NFL level and how they react to Pressure they basically never saw in College. If Zach stinks this year JD is the guy along with Saleh that are going to have to make the tough call on whether they continue make a change or just draft another QB in 23 that is when I think it will all come to a head. 

  • Upvote 2
  • Sympathy 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Smashmouth said:

I'm not so sure JD is going to be too harshly Judged on how Zach Performs . He built a pretty talented young team that now has enough depth we are actually cutting some talented players that would have made the roster in the past. Every single QB is a crap shoot its very hard if not impossible to evaluate what goes on in a QB's head, how fast they can process things at the NFL level and how they react to Pressure they basically never saw in College. If Zach stinks this year JD is the guy along with Saleh that are going to have to make the tough call on whether they continue make a change or just draft another QB in 23 that is when I think it will all come to a head. 

Cant see them rolling with another untested rookie qb in 23 especially if it’s not the 1st overall. JD be in his fifth 5 year aND Saleh in his 3rd with no winning seasons under their belts. They know they have to start winning. Imagine we use the pick on a premium position and roll with a veteran available QB who can move the offense. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share



×
×
  • Create New...