Robert Saleh on Jets’ goals after Rodgers injury: “There are 52 guys who believe we can do a lot of good things”

Robert Saleh refocuses Jets goals on 2023 season
Jets head coach Robert Saleh says Quinnen Williams will be fine after an ankle injury.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File

If analysts and fans thought that the New York Jets season was over before it began with Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending Achilles injury, they may be sadly mistaken. 

A day after New York won their season-opening game over the Buffalo Bills, but lost their franchise quarterback, head coach Robert Saleh made it clear that the team’s goals haven’t changed just yet.

“I don’t know why people are trying to put an obituary on our team. Aaron is an unbelievable piece to his whole thing but there are 52 other guys who believe we can do a lot of good things here,” Saleh said. “While the outside world can write whatever they want to write, the true story is still being written in this locker room.”

Rodgers’ Achilles injury has certainly had a transformational change on the belief outside of the Jets locker room in how effective the team, and his backup quarterback can be. Before Monday’s contest, New York was picked as the seventh-best odds to reach Super Bowl LVIII but have dropped to 16th following the injury to their starting quarterback.

Jets fear Rodgers tore his Achilles
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) is tended to on the field during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

In Saleh’s mind, there are plenty of reasons why fans of the Jets should still be confident in their current roster and it starts with their backup quarterback.

“People forget that Zach (Wilson) was 5-1 as a starter before the bye week as a starter before injuries killed us. He’s a capable quarterback… we have a championship-caliber defense, skill guys that are all very confident in, and an offensive line that is healthy, we have all the faith in the world in Zach. We believe he’s leap years ahead of where he was,” Saleh explained. 

Wilson now will take command of a huddle he seemingly lost late in the year last season. Now with a fresh mindset and a rejuvenated energy, the Jets believe they are still in capable hands on the offensive side. 

Still, the loss of a franchise quarterback that had worked so hard to be the savior of a down-on-their-luck franchise like the Jets is a hard pill to swallow for everyone involved in the organization. Saleh did not confirm when the quarterback would have his surgery (although he did confirm surgery was required), nor did he state if the quarterback would be with the team following his surgery, but he did express his desire to give the quarterback his space as he processes missing out on the season.

“As you can imagine, he’s down,” Saleh said of Rodgers. “I did not get into the future of what he’s thinking. That’s a conversation left for another day but with everything he’s invested, he’s a little disappointed.”

The Jets head coach explained he hopes Rodgers stays close with the team as the quarterback digests the outcome of Monday night. 

While there are plenty of people immediately jumping off the Jets bandwagon, there is past NFL experience to show that all may not be lost for New York yet in 2023. Wilson has looked improved from a difficult first two seasons, and the roster around him is full of All-Pro talent. 

Previous experience also helps the Jets believe that winning without Rodgers is certainly possible. 

“Every situation is unique but there is precedent. It’s not going to be the first or last time that a starting quarterback goes down and someone rises up to the occasion” Saleh told AMNY. 

And the next step for New York as they prepare for life without Rodgers?

“We’re on to Dallas.”

Without Rodgers, it’s easy to get caught up in the daunting task ahead for the Jets and Robert Saleh in 2023. But the idea that the season is suddenly over for New York is misguided. The Jets have a strong coaching staff with quality players at every level. 

And there’s no better time to set a new precedent than with this current iteration of a loaded roster. 

For more Robert Saleh and New York Jets news, turn to AMNY.com