The Jets were one of three teams to visit the White House this week, and coach Robert Saleh says it’s important for everyone in sports to represent their country.
The “jets new coach” is the latest head coach of the New York Jets. Robert Saleh was hired in January 2018 and took over from Todd Bowles.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Coach Robert Saleh of the New York Jets accepted responsibility Monday for a failed fourth-down play that may have lost his team a massive upset against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“There was a misunderstanding, and anytime there’s a misunderstanding, it always begins with me,” Saleh said. “There’s no one to blame for this.” What stings the most is that one sequence — it is what it is — detracted from all of the incredible events that occurred.
“There were so many amazing things going on throughout the game. It made me ill because it was overshadowed by something — as I have said, it always begins with me.”
With 2:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bucs faced a fourth-and-2 from their own 7-yard line. The Jets executed a quarterback sneak after opting out of a field goal that would have given them a seven-point lead, and Zach Wilson was stuffed for no gain. With 15 seconds remaining, the Bucs answered with a 93-yard drive to win 28-24 on a Tom Brady touchdown throw.
Saleh stated after the game that the play call was meant to be an end-around to wide receiver Braxton Berrios, but it wasn’t relayed to Wilson correctly. If the Bucs’ defensive line didn’t have a guy in the A gap, he added, the rookie quarterback was given the choice to retain the ball. They didn’t, so he went on the run. Berrios would’ve had an easy first down, according to replays.
Saleh seemed enraged by offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, but a day later he tempered his stance. “Of course, I’m going to look at everything as if it’s my responsibility,” Saleh remarked. “Should I have been more adamant about going for it on fourth down so Mike could have more time to speak? It is always my responsibility to start with myself.”
LaFleur, a first-time coordinator, described the game as “amazing,” according to Saleh. On Sunday and Monday, LaFleur was unavailable to the media.
Even still, it was an odd choice to even attempt a quarterback sneak, which is an unusual call in such scenario. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was just the fourth occasion in the past five seasons that a quarterback under center ran a sneak on fourth-and-2. Only one of the four, a Carson Palmer keeper for the Arizona Cardinals in 2017, was successful.
The Jets (4-12), who enjoyed a great performance from Wilson, the No. 2 overall choice, were robbed of what would have been a hallmark victory. In his fourth consecutive game without an interception, he threw for 224 yards and a score.
Wilson’s decision-making on the fourth-down play was backed by Saleh, who said Wilson did his job. Knowing how tough it would be to get two yards against the Bucs’ defensive front, a more experienced quarterback may have modified the play. Wilson may be able to do so in the future, but not right now, according to Saleh.
“I believe he followed the playbook precisely as it was written,” he stated. “In future years, he’ll just turn to the sideline and flip the bird to Mike, saying something along the lines of, ‘Hey, friend, we’re doing this,’ and he’ll make it work. Because his neck is barely above water, I don’t believe he’ll be able to make a choice from a selfish position anytime soon.”
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