Can Robert Saleh Become A True Culture Changer?

Over the past decade, the New York Jets have many coaches that have not brought energy to the team. Newly introduced coach Robert Saleh should change that. In 2014, when they fired Rex Ryan, who was extremely enthusiastic, they hired Todd Bowles. In hopes of turning the franchise around, the team signed veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He brought a ton of energy to the team. However, Bowles was an extremely quiet coach and didn’t show many emotions.

After firing Bowles at the end of 2018, the Jets hired former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. While some thought he would provide stability and change the culture of the team, it was the complete opposite. Whenever talking to the press, he would be hesitant to give a proper response. For example, when asked earlier in 2020 if he called plays, he responded “Dowell was calling the plays, I call the third downs”. However, it was certain that Gase was calling plays as he had the playcalling sheet in his own hands. As a coach, dishonesty is a terrible quality to display.

Once they fired Gase after the 2020 season, general manager Joe Douglas began a long search to find candidates for the next coaching job. After several interviews, the Jets hired Robert Saleh. Saleh was previously the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator. While many reasons factored into the hiring, there was one main one. And that is a change in culture.

Over the past seven years, the Jets have been one of the least motivated teams in the NFL. That should change under Saleh in 2021 for many reasons. In the next few paragraphs, I will discuss why Robert Saleh can be a true culture changer.

 Saleh: Postgame + Pregame Speeches

As an NFL coach, part of your job is to give speeches to the locker room before and after games. However, the last few Jets coaches haven’t done that. Gase, especially, was heard to have “lost the locker room”, meaning no players had respect for him.

Robert Saleh is known as a culture coach and a motivator. He will fire up the locker room before games, and yell after bad games. Additionally, he will make sure to address what areas the team needs to improve in, and where the team is playing well.

If Saleh gives speeches at halftime of a game as well, it will definitely encourage the team to perform better in the 2nd half of a game, especially when losing.  As an example, Giants’ first-year coach Joe Judge motivated the team after giving weekly speeches at halftime of each game. It led to a few second-half comebacks.

Saleh: Enthusiasm of the Team on the Sidelines

Another way of improving team culture is to be cheering along with players while on the sideline. This is something neither AdamGase or Todd Bowles would do while head coach. For instance, after a long pass, run, or defensive stop, coaches should either high-five players or cheer them on.

Last season, while with the 49ers as defensive coordinator, Saleh was seen “pumped up” on the sideline after a huge defensive stop on fourth and goal against the Rams. If he can do this when a positive play happens in future circumstances, it should give the player or the team a massive boost in confidence.

Saleh: Player Recruitment

Across social media, players voice concerns, frustration, or even excitement regarding their teams. Sometimes, players even suggest that another player should leave a team and join a particular one.

Earlier this week, 49ers veteran cornerback Richard Sherman stated his praise for coach Saleh by tweeting “The Jets got a great one”, meaning he thought it was a great hire. Sherman has played under Saleh for the past three seasons. In addition, Sherman tweeted that a preferred landing spot for Texans disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson would be the Jets. All of this is due to Sherman’s high level of respect for Saleh.

Final Thoughts

When the Jets hired Adam Gase two years ago, many fans were skeptical of the hire. They deserved to be, as he was one of the worst coaches in the team’s history.

The hiring of Robert Saleh is the start of something special in New Jersey. Not only are players stoked, but fans are too. Saleh should change the culture of this team to A winning, and well-run organization.


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