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Jets fans rejoice.
You got your man.
Robert Saleh is everything you wanted for your latest head coach.
Even when you were skeptical and certain the Jets got it wrong when they let him leave New Jersey without a contract on Wednesday following his two-day visit, the Jets delivered, gave you your man.
You reviled Adam Gase since the moment he was hired two years ago. You wondered why Jets CEO Christopher Johnson did everything but drive Gase up to Florham Park himself five minutes after he was fired for being too mediocre in Miami.
You poked fun on social media at Gase’s wandering eyes during his introductory press conference. You hated how he coached quarterback Sam Darnold, who never developed into the franchise quarterback he was drafted to be when Gase was hired to do exactly that, the supposed “quarterback whisperer’’ he was sold as when he arrived.
Before Gase, Todd Bowles never excited you, either. Whether it was his on-field coaching or his bland personality displayed in those press conferences he treated like dental appointments, he never seemed like the right man for the job here.
Bowles never presented himself as a leader of men, and the team’s poor results reflected his locker-room enabling, allowed some of the inmates to run the asylum (see Muhammad Wilkerson as Exhibit A).
Saleh seems different than the last two Jets head coaches. He’s a 41-year-old bundle of energy and intensity, a coach whose sideline demeanor screams out that his players will run through brick walls for him.
Saleh, a Vin Diesel doppelganger, has a perfectly blue-collar NFL history, having grinded his way from the bottom of the league’s coaching barrel, from low-level quality control coach making a few shekels more than minimum wage to position coach to decorated defensive coordinator for the 49ers the past four seasons.
And now to Jets head coach, 16 years into his NFL coaching journey. Deserving for paying his dues and qualified for his accomplishments.
Saleh is everything Jets fans want, the perfect coach to excite a disillusioned fan base that’s been waiting a decade since seeing its last playoff team.
Saleh is everything the Jets locker room is going to want, a head coach who’ll energize it after a miserable 2-14 season.
Saleh, too, may be everything that Darnold wants, since his hiring likely makes a better case for Darnold to remain with the team than had one of the offensive coordinator candidates been hired.
On Monday, after Doug Pederson was fired by the Eagles, I firmly endorsed Pederson as the surest thing for the Jets next hire, because he’s only three seasons removed from winning a Super Bowl for Philadelphia and is an accomplished head coach.
That column elicited a largely negative response from Jets fans via email and Twitter, because they didn’t want a “retread’’ head coach with baggage. It was clear they wanted a fresh face, new blood, hopefully the next successful young head coach.
I stand by my belief that Pederson will be a winning head coach again, despite his issues with Carson Wentz’s regression and his ill-advised tanking job in that fiasco of a season finale against Washington.
But the Jets fans spoke. They want their own young first-time head coach who becomes a star with their team. They want what Sean McVay has brought to the Rams, what Matt LaFleur has brought to the Packers, what Mike Vrabel has brought to the Titans, what Sean McDermott has brought to the Bills, what Kevin Stefaski has brought to the Browns.
Jets ownership and management delivered that man on Thursday night.
Hopefully, they got it right.
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