FLORHAM PARK — New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh has dealt with plenty of off-the-field distractions over his first two years at the helm so a comment made by a particular player wasn’t exactly going to phase him.
That doesn’t take away from the fact though that former first-round tackle, Mekhi Becton has openly blamed Saleh’s organization for a knee injury that cost him the 2022 season due to being played out of position.
“It made no sense to put me at right tackle,” Becton told Bob Glauber of Newsday. “It hurt my right knee. That’s going to be the knee that I put the most pressure on. I explained it to coaches, but no one cared.”
Saleh’s response before Day 2 of organized team activities though, as it always has been, was calm and about moving on from previous years and was complimentary of the former Louisville prospect.
“I’m not going into the negative. It’s not about finger-pointing. What I’m focused on over the last six months is that Mekhi has gotten his weight down, and he’s been available, and prompt in OTAs. Very diligent with regard to meetings,” Saleh explained. “He’s probably in the best shape of his life and he’s attacking it. Whatever happened in the past happened in the past, it’s just about moving forward.”
The Jets’ head coach has already stated there would be a position battle at left tackle between Becton, long-time veteran Duane Brown, and a series of younger talents for the starting role. While the coaching staff has been impressed with Becton’s work ethic this offseason, that doesn’t mean the job will be handed to him – even if it means moving away from a player that is two years removed from a pro-bowl-caliber rookie season.
“I think Duane will have something to say about it, Max Mitchell will have something to say about it…the good thing is we have a lot of really good tackles that are competing. It’ll be a good healthy competition and those who attack it with the right mindset will wind up reaping the benefits,” Saleh said.
Becton is currently not practicing with the team currently as he continues his process of recovering from knee surgery last season but has had conversations with the Jets’ head coach following his most recent comments.
With a coach that’s already experienced players publicly speaking out against decisions over the years, it’s nothing new to the Jets leader in the locker room.
“He’s fine, he’s in a really good place and we want to keep him there,” Saleh concluded.