They packed the bleachers and chanted “r-on rouge-ers” and marveled at Garrett Wilson’s leaping toe-tap catch in the back of the end zone in a sun-drenched episode of the Must See New York Jets game on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers would make life a lot easier for Robert Saleh.
And potentially much more difficult.
Saleh will no longer have to care and pamper Zach Wilson. In Nathaniel Hackett, they have a veteran offensive coordinator who, together with Rodgers, will be one mind in two bodies. There would be no need to start talking about Saleh holding receipts in an effort to motivate or shelter his players.
This means that there is no excuse.
It’s time for Robert Saleh’s Jets to win. and win big.
All the talk is about what winning a championship in New York would mean for Rodgers’ legacy.
This is Saleh’s golden opportunity to build on his legacy – perhaps his last.
We still don’t know what kind of coach we have here.
Now we know once and for all.
Corey Davis told The Post, “Saleh is a great leader.” “He takes a different approach, he’s not a rah-rah guy, kind [who gets] on your [butt] unless you really need it. He definitely takes a different approach and he makes people work hard for him.
“Everyone in that locker room respects him a lot. It is easy to play such a person. You want to give your all for him, because he does the same for you.
Saleh has done his best behind the scenes, creating a healthy environment and culture from Monday to Saturday.
It would help Saleh tremendously that Rodgers had enough faith in him that he could win a championship with him.
Rodgers is not alone.
“You want someone who isn’t afraid to be good in attack, good in defense. … No matter what, you want someone who is consistent,” John Franklin-Myers told The Post. “It’s easy to go back [Saleh], … You are talking about someone who speaks the truth, who tells it how it is.’
Dressed in all black, Saleh will undoubtedly be wearing a “Positive Vibes Only” T-shirt, but Rodgers’ ubiquity means that reminders are no longer needed.
Rodgers will be the interim coach of the offense.
Saleh is the head coach.
Wins and losses are recorded in the head coach’s records, just as wins and losses are recorded in the quarterback’s records.
And Saleh is entering his third season with an 11-23 record after losing the last six games of the 2022 season.
Just win, baby.
Now there is no growing pains on the edge.
History tells us that if he fails to end the Jets’ 12-year playoff drought, he will receive more blame than Rodgers. Remember, Woody Johnson fired Eric Mangini after his third season as head coach after Brett Favre failed to lead the 2008 Jets to the playoffs.
So it’s playoff-or-bust for Saleh more than Rodgers.
Full gas, no brakes.
It is more difficult to win when you are expected to win, and this is the first time that Saleh will be expected to win. His emphasis is on handling today so that you have the best chance to win tomorrow.
Saleh said, “The hope of winning in this league remains constant.” “You always have that monkey on your back. …the pressure is on how are you getting better? The expectation and pressure to win is always there, but you can’t focus on that.”
Brian Dabol was the 2022 Coach of the Year as a rookie. How does Saleh feel about being coach of the year in his third season?
Jermaine Johnson told The Post, “I think he’s extremely demanding, but he’s also a consistent worker. So he’s not going to demand one thing from somebody and another thing from somebody, cut somebody some slack here. … Everybody on this team, coaches and staff, we work to a standard, and I think he does a great job of holding us to that standard.”
Saleh referenced the belief of famed Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo that, “The best coached teams are the teams that coach themselves.”
Just because Saleh is considered a defensive guru, doesn’t mean he can afford to forego the requirements of his job description.
“It makes our job easier because we don’t have to worry about things we don’t have control over,” Saleh said months ago.
Saleh and inexperienced offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur could not make Wilson a better quarterback. Hackett could make Saleh a better coach.
He is a good man, so it is very easy to criticize him. Can he lead this team to the Super Bowl? “One hundred percent,” said Franklin-Myers. “Why don’t we?”
Why not, Coach Saleh?