Criticism abounds in New York following the Jets' 24-9 defeat to the Ravens on Sunday, but Robert Saleh doesn't want to hear it.
The Jets head coach on Monday expressed his frustrations with those doubting his team after Week 1, and is putting his best foot forward to prove them wrong. He's also taking notes on who those doubters are.
"You're just going to feel it, and in a way it does just click, stacking up day after day after day, and it's really, really cool when it does happen because it just absolutely pops off the tape," Saleh told reporters over Zoom on Monday. "And I know it's gonna happen, and we're all taking receipts on all the people who continually mock and say that we ain't gonna do anything.
"I'm taking receipts, and I'm gonna be more than happy to share them with all of y'all when it's all said and done."
Saleh's dissatisfaction with the naysayers comes after recognizing the positives he saw when reviewing the tape. The second-year coach was satisfied with his team's speed and aggression, particularly on the defensive side, and he believes the team will get better going forward by learning from the mistakes they made in the season opener.
"In my opinion, we did not get beat," he said. "We lost. They are two totally different things."
The Jets struggled out of the gate against Baltimore, failing to get any offensive rhythm due to several miscues, penalties and poor offensive line play. The dreary offensive effort spoiled the great defensive play the Jets had against the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens. The defense kept the Jets within a touchdown entering the second half, but the offensive woes continued into a third quarter where New York gained just 13 yards on two possessions, which allowed Jackson and the Ravens to exploit a Jets defense running on fumes. There was no escaping the 24-3 deficit as the final frame approached.
Joe Flacco threw for 307 yards (one touchdown, one interception) in the loss. However, it took 59 pass attempts to get there and most of his stat line was gained against a prevent defense in the fourth quarter, where the Jets finally reached the end zone with one minute to play.
With chants of Mike White being heard at MetLife Stadium amid those struggles, Saleh was forced to address the Jets' QB situation on Monday.
"As of now, Joe's our starting quarterback," Saleh said. "It's more than likely going to be Joe, but the door's open on every position, every week."
Of course, the Jets have had to navigate adversity in the build-up to the 2022 season with quarterback Zach Wilson, offensive tackle Mekhi Becton and his would-be replacement, Duane Brown, suffering substantial injuries ahead of Week 1. Losing such key players would make problems for any coach.
At the end of the day, however, Sunday's result amounted to the fourth straight season-opening loss for the Jets, which is a trend that's surely fueling the lack of faith. Eleven seasons removed from the franchise's last playoff appearance, Saleh also recognized how the continued failures are irritating for the city. He's just asking for a little faith.
"It's exhausting. It's exhausting for coaches, it's exhausting for ownership, it's exhausting for you guys to continue writing about losers, it's exhausting for fans, it's exhausting for everybody," Saleh said. "Nobody wants to lose, and it's on us as coaches to see how quickly we can accelerate this, and it's on us as an organization to see how we can facilitate all this knowledge to get these guys where they need to be so they can do right longer and play the way they need to. So we're always trying to accelerate the process and win immediately. We'd love to. So we are frustrated with it. We're not playing the long game and selling it. We want to win, we want to win now.
"There's nothing worse than being sold a bill of goods on the future. Everyone wants things now. It's the instant coffee age. But at the same time, we're grinding, and I know these guys are gonna get better for it."