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All Gaslight, No Brake
Robert Saleh's press conference on Monday went beyond "coach speak."
Does Robert Saleh think we’re all stupid?
I understand that a head coach is almost never going to come out and bash an individual player. No one is asking for that, and no one is expecting that. But what Jets fans do expect is for their head coach to not try and convince them that what they’re seeing with their own two eyes is false.
No one needed Saleh to torch Zach Wilson on Monday or anything remotely close to that, but it would have been completely within his right to say “he has to be better.” You’re allowed to hold your players accountable in a respectful way. He certainly has no issue doing that when speaking about every other position on this team. But Saleh’s insistent defense of Wilson went far beyond the normal “coach speak” you expect at a press conference; it bordered on straight-up lying.
“He is not the reason why we lost yesterday,” Saleh said of Wilson. “The box score doesn’t always tell the story.”
That box score, in case you were wondering, showed that Wilson went 18-for-36 (50 percent) for 157 yards with no touchdowns, no turnovers and 10 points scored on offense. But sure, sometimes a box score can be a bit misleading and more can be revealed in the film when the All-22 comes out the following day. So, what did that film reveal? That Zach Wilson was even worse than a lot of us had originally thought on Sunday…
In the clip above, the Jets were lined up for a 3rd and 7 early in the game. Garrett Wilson (circled) can be seen quickly escaping his zone defender and is wide open over the top with the safety help nowhere near him. If Zach makes this throw, it’s at minimum a huge gain if not a 90+ yard touchdown. Instead, Wilson doesn’t see him and checks down for a short gain instead, leading to the Jets punting on the next play.
This is just one of several instances where Wilson, once known for being a gunslinger, was revealed to be incredibly hesitant and, if we’re being honest, scared to throw the ball and risk making a mistake.
On this play, you can see a similar example of this. Randall Cobb breaks free down the seam for what could have been a huge gain while Wilson had a totally clean pocket but instead – yet again – he chooses to go for the safe check down to Tyler Conklin. And this time, he doesn’t even complete the pass.
With a bad box score, even more telling film and a scoreboard that has seen the Jets offense average 12 points a game with this quarterback under center, Saleh still claims there’s more to it than any of us are seeing. “Everyone” will have their opinion on the film, according to the Jets head coach, but most of them will be “misguided.”
Again, it’s one thing to not to go scorched earth on your players in public but it’s a whole other thing to start gaslighting us about how he’s been playing. I don’t care if he’s Tom Brady in practice, the kid simply is not an NFL quarterback and it is proven over-and-over again in every single game he plays. This has become so obvious to everyone that you even have people like Joe Namath killing Wilson and the coaching staff in public.
“It’s disgusting,” Namath said on The Michael Kay Show on Monday. “I wouldn’t keep him – I’ve seen enough of Zach Wilson.”
And that’s coming from a New York Jets legend who rarely criticizes anybody on the team and has endured a lot of bad football over the last decade alone.
The fans see it, the writers see it, Namath sees it and we know that this organization has to see it, too. So why do they refuse to hold him accountable? Why are the Jets so preoccupied with babying Zach Wilson instead of worrying about the other 52 players on their roster who actually deserve to be there? As of the morning this article is being published, it has been 15 days since Aaron Rodgers went down and the Jets still haven’t signed a single quarterback to their roster.
The latter is not Saleh’s fault – who said in the press conference that it was a “Joe [Douglas] question” – but it is on the shoulders of Saleh for refusing to bench Wilson or give a chance to the only other quarterback on the roster in Tim Boyle. Instead, though, Saleh appears to keep doubling and tripling down at this point, saying that Wilson would be the team’s “unquestioned” starter for the remainder of the season.
Saleh already lied to everyone a week ago when he made it seem like there was no way Mekhi Becton would start at left tackle on Sunday (spoiler alert: he did), so maybe the coach already knows that something else is in the works. Even then, though, what is the point of feeding everyone so much bullshit and expecting us not to question it?
“When [Saleh’s] telling me that locker room’s together, when he’s telling me these guys love one another … they’re not holding hands when they’re losing,” Namath said. “They need to make major changes from top to bottom.”
No one believes you when you say that Zach Wilson has improved simply because they have eyes. He has not gotten better – if anything he’s gotten worse every year since he’s come into the league because his confidence has been absolutely decimated. And yet Wilson continues to be trotted out there by an irresponsible coaching staff every single week. No competitions, no accountability, just lies.
The Jets are actively making the choice to ruin their own season and that is not going to change until another quarterback is starting games – it’s as simple as that.
Until that happens, these fans are not going to take this anymore. They’re sick of the drama, they’re sick of the losing and they’re sick of the damn lies.