There was nothing out of the ordinary about Jets head coach Robert Saleh’s post game press conference. There he stood, fielding one question after another from a Jets beat that peppered him with questions about his team’s latest loss. This time a 22-17 heartbreaker to the New England Patriots.
Most of questions Saleh fielded were in regards to the poor play of quarterback Zach Wilson. The presser followed it’s usual pace; question…answer, question…answer, question…pause…longer pause…longer pause…coachspeak answer. The question that had Saleh have to stop and gather his thoughts before speaking spoke volumes?
Having said earlier in the presser that he believed Zach Wilson would eventually “figure it out”, Connor Hughes of SNY followed up by asking Saleh at the 6:45 mark; “What you guys have shown over the last five or six weeks is that you have a team that’s pretty good and is capable of winning in the NFL now. So how do you balance waiting for Zach to be ready versus the pieces that are around him that are showing they’re ready now”? It was the most important question Saleh faced, because if Wilson makes wasting outstanding efforts from the team’s defense a habit, Saleh could lose the locker room.
Saleh realized he had to tread lightly. He couldn’t say the other 52 guys on the roster will just have to wait on Zach. That would be too much to ask of the roster publicly and would make Wilson’s scrutiny by the media and fans that much stronger. He couldn’t tell a fan base that has witnessed the NFL’s longest playoff drought that they may have to sit through a wasted season for the benefit of a quarterback who looks to have regressed from late last season.
So all Saleh do was put the heat anywhere but on Wilson. After five to six seconds of only a blank stare, Saleh replied, “We just gotta’ rally around him. You know, coaches, we gotta’ find a way to make it, not necessarily simpler (translation, make it simpler) but just help him continue to progress and evolve”. So as one might expect in today’s NFL, and this is no fault of Saleh’s, no real answer to the question was offered. It was a great question from Hughes and one that had to be asked. And all Jets fans can do is that hope that in the coming weeks won’t have to be answered in reality vs a press conference hypothetical.