Robert Saleh not settling for Jets ‘pity party’ after season with major what-if

The Jets entered the 2023 season thinking it would be the one when they turned things around.

All of that changed four plays into the season when Aaron Rodgers was lost for the year.

The Jets ended up going 7-10, the same record as 2022, leaving plenty of disappointment around the team Monday as the players went through exit interviews and the team prepared for the offseason.

“There’s a lot of frustration,” Saleh said. “We felt good about taking that next step this year.”

Instead, the Jets are left wondering what might have been if Rodgers had stayed healthy and already looking ahead to next season when they hope to have Rodgers leading the team again.

Saleh did take some positives away from the season, including beating three playoff teams — the Bills, Texans and Eagles — and ending the losing streak against the Patriots.

“We exorcised a lot of demons this year,” Saleh said. “There’s still a lot of demons we have to exorcise, with playoffs and winning the division and all that good stuff, but our locker room stayed together when it would’ve been very easy for the offense and defense to get segregated.”

Robert Saleh said there's "a lot of frustration" after their disappointing season.
Robert Saleh said there’s “a lot of frustration” after their disappointing season. Bill Kostroun for the NY Post

It will be interesting to see how much fanfare the Jets have going into the 2024 season.

The hype around the team entering the 2023 season was nonstop from “Hard Knocks” to people predicting Super Bowls.

Pro Bowl cornerback Sauce Gardner admitted the outside noise was a distraction.

“We really lost track of some things,” Gardner said.

The players and coaches feel they are not that far away from being a contender.

If they can add a few pieces in the offseason and stay healthy next year, they feel they can snap the 13-season playoff drought.

“I do think we’re a lot closer than people think,” tight end Tyler Conklin said. “I have a ton of faith in the front office, Joe [Douglas] and Saleh to do what they’ve got to do in the offseason to make this team and locker room better.”

Saleh comes back for his fourth season as Jets coach with an 18-33 record and three losing seasons on his résumé.

Forget about a hot seat, his seat will be on fire in 2024.

Saleh was asked if he feels that next season is playoffs or else for him.

Robert Saleh and the Jets managed to defeat three playoff teams in 2023.
Robert Saleh and the Jets managed to defeat three playoff teams in 2023. Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

“I always feel that way,” Saleh said. “I always feel like we need to win. This profession is results oriented. No one really cares about process or progress. It’s about winning. So, for me personally, I always expect to win.”

Saleh said he expects no significant changes to his coaching staff and that all three coordinators will return in 2024.

He admitted that this season has been difficult but believes the team will be stronger for having gone through it.

“It’s been one the more trying seasons in my career,” Saleh said. “I’m not looking for a pity party. One thing I will say is that I do feel stronger about our locker room than I ever did.”

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