Robert Saleh on Jets 2023 outlook: “I love the mindset of our group”

Jets coaching staff
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh works the sidelines in the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

FLORHAM PARK — If the definition of character is who you are when no one is watching, the New York Jets have balanced that line beautifully in 2023. 

Thrust into the spotlight with the arrival of Aaron Rodgers and the placement of “Hard Knocks” the Jets have had the public eye on them for months. Through all the media circus that comes with that though, they have remained true to themselves and what they are trying to build this season.

“If you can’t keep our names out your mouth, it must mean we’re doing something good. We’ve made progress, but we still have to go out and do it,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said Thursday.

Like any major market in sports, responses to questions can be overblown with the rush of the media frenzy always looking for a top story. New York learned that lesson this week as they prepare for the start of their season against Buffalo. 

When D.J. Reed explained that he felt the Jets’ defense could be “historical” this season like other all-time great teams, the coaching staff immediately came to the defense of their player by knowing what the thought process was in the locker room.

“I think when you look at D.J.’s quote, he answered the question just like every team in football and every player in football would talk about what they think they can be. But I think what was omitted, and what’s been omitted from all of our guys’ conversations, is how important the moment is,” Saleh explained. 

New York’s head coach has had his player’s back through the years. Reed’s comments were just another example of Saleh further adding that teams shouldn’t be using his comments as bulletin board material or “they aren’t properly motivated.”

Jets training camp observations
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh speaks to reporters after a practice at the NFL football team’s training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Thursday, July 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) AP Photos

The locker room has been important for the Jets since Saleh was hired as the head coach just a few years ago. Taking over a team full of anonymous sources and disgruntled stars, New York has transformed the locker room into a cohesive unit focused on one thing: winning. 

“It’s people that make things happen. It’s the people that bring things to life, & it takes tremendous character to overcome adversity,” Saleh stated. “It takes tremendous character to overcome the disease of ‘me’. It takes great character people, & that was the first mission when we all got in here two years ago, was to bring in people who you can win with through thick or thin.”

Focusing on the task at hand has seeped into the Jets locker room for several years. Players who have been here for three years as Connor McGovern have noticed the removal of “bad apples” for the betterment of the organization. 

It’s not just McGovern who has seen those changes take effect in the locker room. 

“Everyone has a good focus on what to do to get better every day,” Aaron Rodgers said Thursday. “We just have to play the way we always play. We’re 0-0 just like everyone else.”

New York’s leadership group has changed over the years, but the one constant has been Robert Saleh’s steady hand. As the 2023 season draws closer, the Jets will need that to get through every ounce of adversity that comes their way.

And as the head coach has said, adversity will only shine a light on the improved character of the roster. 

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