When you regret like the Jets, every coach has to be Ted Lasso.
A revolving cast of happy, confused faces have given Gang Green’s underdog fan base a sarcastic rally cry:
Robert Saleh infamously used the phrase about receiver Denzel Mims before he was stapled on the bench in September. (Saleh relishes a bit about Mims, saying he “stacked a third consecutive week of great deliberate practice” before delivering ten snaps against the Titans.)
His predecessor, Adam Gase, said so often that he had to defend his practices against criticism from a seasoned team that had been traded to a winning team. “We had some slow practices,” security Bradley MacDougald said last September. “It’s related to the game.”
For Guess, he replied that “I felt like we had a really good pace to practice on.” The Jets team started 0–13, with Gass defending how great his players were during the week following each defeat.
Todd Bowles also liked the phrase. Even after an eight-turnover loss to the Chiefs in 2016 (including six Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions), Bowles called himself a “sh-y game plan.” Sh-y execution. Sh-wai around,” he made sure to clarify:
“Great week of practice,” though.
Even self-styled straight shooter Rex Ryan would say the same thing. The earliest example of the phrase I found on the Daily News website was the last year the Jets made the playoffs, the 2010 season. Ryan regretted his team’s “great week of practice” after losing 45-3 to the Patriots. (Years later, he’d call it “the best exercise week we’ve ever had.”)
So Saleh gave his 2-7 team the kiss of death ahead of Sunday’s matchup against the 3-7 Dolphins. Asked on Friday how the practice has been after Joe Flacco’s surprise promotion to starting QB, he said he has been excellent.
“I think their heads are in a good place,” he said. “They’re speaking the right language and the energy in the building has been really good.
“Our group, they’re resilient. These players, knock on wood, I’ve been lucky to be around some really good teams and this group, they’re made of the right stuff. They could show up after a loss on Wednesday. and can shake it,” he said of the most important feature for the jet.
He also praised Flaco, who was a surprising (and unvaccinated) starter. Saleh said, “Who’s locked in, he’s a professional, he’s been there. He’s done it, and I think I can speak for him, he’s really excited to get out there and show it.” ”
A Tribute to Drew Gibbs, an Update on Zach Wilson and AJ Brown’s Love for Elijah Moore
Saleh wore a Ramapo High School T-shirt to a press conference commemorating the accidental death of Drew Gibbs, the football coach who led the Bergen County powerhouse for the past two decades. “Our condolences to his family, the players, the school,” Saleh said on Friday. “He’s been a staple in Jersey football for a very long time and it’s a sad moment in coaching and it puts a lot of things into perspective.”
Gibbs, 59, collapsed during practice earlier in the week and died Tuesday after complications from heart surgery, according to Bergen County records.
Four players were listed in Friday’s injury report: Zach Wilson (suspicious-knee), defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd (suspicious-knee) and guard Aliza Vera-Tucker (suspicious-toe), as well as defensive end Shaq. Lawson, who did not practice “relaxation.”
Saleh said Wilson was “getting better” and the team was “just trying to keep an eye on him and make sure he gets back to health and confidence.”
Receiver Denzel Mims, still out of COVID, tested negative once and Saleh said his availability for Sunday was “still in doubt ….. hopefully we can get him back next week.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native, cut the jets off for some cheap heat on Thursday. “I was at the Bills-Jets game last week,” she said, by city and state, “I know the Jets know a lot about infrastructure, because they’re in the middle of a 50-year rebuilding project.”
In an emotional press conference on Thursday, Titans receiver AJ Brown said he contemplated suicide last year and was stopped by Jets receiver Elijah Moore. “God gave him all the right things to say to me that night,” Moore wrote last week about a friend who saved her life. On Thursday, he said the friend was Moore, his teammate at Ole Miss. “I love him like he’s my brother,” Brown said. “He’s a special person. I appreciate him every day.”
Moore is a rookie and was two years behind Brown at Ole Miss. Saleh praised Moore on Friday, saying, “Eliza is just an old soul, she’s definitely a friend.”