Robert Saleh on Frustrated Jets Locker Room: “One Game Does Not Define Us”

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
AP Photo/Steven Senne

Sunday evening’s 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was a sign of major frustration for the New York Jets.

That doesn’t mean the team is ready to give up their 2023 hopes just yet. 

In a game that saw the defense unable to get off the field on third down (Cowboys were 50% on third down), the offensive line struggled immensely (53% pressure rate), and some questionable coaching decisions, the Jets saw several players speak out publicly on social media about their frustrations in the loss. 

New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson runs for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

A day later, the Jets are moving past what they looked like in Arlington and focusing on improving their season with a key Week 3 contest against the New England Patriots on the horizon. 

“Last week wasn’t the Super Bowl and this week isn’t the apocalypse…you have to turn the page to the next game. We have 15 of these left. Yesterday sucked, but it’s not the end of the world either,” head coach Robert Saleh explained. 

Saleh’s message has been echoed by several of the Jets’ leadership group.

“We have a lot of guys who want to win. We have to stay the course. It’s the third game of the season, and we just gotta have a good game Sunday,” captain C.J. Mosley said Monday afternoon. 

One of the players who spoke publicly after the loss was running back Breece Hall. After a dominant Week 1 performance which saw him record over 10 yards a touch, the former second-round pick received just four carries against the Cowboys. Most runs were met by a brick wall in the Dallas defensive line. Hall said after the game “I only got four touches. That’s why we struggled. It is what it is. We just got down early today and just abandoned the run. That type of stuff happens. You feel like you have to get back in the game and it just slips away.”

Saleh agreed with Hall that he was frustrated as well, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

“We just couldn’t get into a flow of stacking up some runs. Our job on the defense is to get the ball back for the offense and when the tilt is almost 50 plays before the two-minute warning, the box score will look out of wack,” Saleh explained. 

New York’s head coach also added that the team’s lack of carries for Hall was not intentional but more of a product of the defense being unable to get off the field on third down. 

Saleh later explained that the defense’s struggles to get off the field also overshadowed the improved play on the field from backup-turned-starter Zach Wilson. While his numbers don’t paint the whole picture of his outing (three interceptions, under 50% completion percentage), the Jets believe that Wilson was not the reason for the team’s demise. 

“He’s not going to see a better pass rush,” Saleh said of his starting quarterback. “I thought anyone who watches football would see he’s so much improved in the pocket. He delivered really good passes.”

New York confirmed that the team would not be searching for a new quarterback to bring in at the current moment, and would ride the rest of the 2023 season with Wilson as the signal-caller. 

For better or worse, the Jets are tied to Wilson’s performance. He may not be the reason for the team’s Week 2 loss, but the team will need to be better around him to save the 2023 season. It may be only Week 3, but the Jets are in a delicate stage now. A win against the Patriots would go a long way to quelling some of the fears that have seeped through the fanbase since Rodgers’ official injury diagnosis. 

In the locker room, there’s just one overall message being sent through.

“It’s one game. One game does not define us as a defense or team.”

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