Gates’ hard-talking off-season became a cultural construct in the season. Bolstered by bench Zach Wilson

In early August, on the day the New York Jets lost first-round offense Mickey Picton to injury for another season, head coach Robert Salih began grappling with the potential impact on Zach Wilson. General Manager Joe Douglas had retreated to his office and was lining up potential free agent options to correct the offensive line, while Salih leaned against the wall of the training facility and contemplated what this meant for the franchise’s presumed quarterback.

I asked him if this would change his account for Wilson’s sake. After all, losing an anchor tackle wasn’t easy.

Saleh rejected the proposal.

“It’s frustrating,” he said, “but let’s call it what it is—nobody cares.” “If you’re going to preach to men about the ‘next man’ mentality, then you have to be willing to live up to that. You have to lead. End of story. It’s the same expectation for everybody out there. It’s the same expectation for Zack. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us, so we better not feel sorry for the ourselves.”

Pause for a sign and then emphasize the final outcome that will determine the next season.

“We have to find a way to make it work,” Saleh said.

At the time, it didn’t seem like a revelatory moment. Coaches are notorious for speaking in these kinds of cliches — next guy, get the job done, nobody feels sorry for us, etc. Especially at training camp, when talk is cheap and the losses haven’t been piling up yet. But there was something very believable no BS The tone is in how Saleh conveyed the message on this particular day. The Jets were coming off a very disappointing 4-13 season as Wilson’s development and Toothless defense – who was supposed to be Saleh’s wheelhouse – were seismic issues in 2022.

Looking back at Saleh’s reaction to “no excuses” for Picton’s loss, something else that day also stands out: When asked to put a training binocular on Wilson and come up with the most important focus point, Saleh answered within a nanosecond.

Robert Salih and Zack Wilson at Gates may be a good sign, a sign that the organization can no longer accept poor performance.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Robert Salih and Zack Wilson at Gates may be a good sign, a sign that the organization can no longer accept poor performance. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

“For me, it’s the intangibles,” he said. “How does he carry himself? How does he lead? He has all the physical tools. We know that. But it’s the intangibles that really distinguish players at centre-back.”

Again with those boot camp cliches – but Salih is not wrong. A recurring maxim about quarterbacks can turn to dust in the NFL every year and it still holds true. And in this case with airplanes, that has proven to be true. Almost four months have passed after that, and the intangibles of Zack Wilson are still a question for the organization. And last week he gave a remarkably deaf answer to whether or not he felt he had let the defense down (Without hesitation, Wilson said, “No.”), it is probably fair to ask if his leadership has some distance to go as well.

It’s fair to assume that’s how Wilson was benched by the Jets Wednesday. By crossing a red light question and destroying in the middle of the intersection where driving avenues meet and “No Excuses”. And to make matters worse, do it in a season when it is else A case from last year, Saleh’s defence, caught nothing but green lights.

When considering Saleh in August and then pressed against Wilson’s recent performance and behavior, it’s no wonder he sat back. Perhaps not permanent, Saleh suggested on Wednesday. But it’s certainly necessary when so many other parts of the roster and coaching staff are embroiled in major trouble.

In a way, you could argue that what’s happening right now is a good thing for the planes. Because it suggests the franchise has become more a product of culture-building in season than hard talk. The team is 6-4 years old, stacking the building blocks of youth and making progress worth fighting for. Especially after six straight years of averaging fewer than five wins a season and feeling hopeless almost anywhere I looked in the depth chart.

Having standards is a good thing. live with them is amazing something. Especially when it applies to a franchise quarterback who was named second overall and given ample opportunities to display some kind of growth. Wilson has had some moments, but they’re not enough to justify believing he’s on the right track. Now, it isn’t. This means that something must change. This means that the planes had to show everyone and themselves that there is a willingness to make a difficult choice – even if some do not agree with it.

This does not mean that Wilson is finished in New York. It just means that the program has changed and it is aware of it. As Saleh said of Picton’s injury in August, this can be frustrating – but nobody cares. Find a way to make it work. Understand expectations and act accordingly.

This mentality is exactly what shapes the Jets now. And Wednesday is proof that it now applies to everyone in the organization.

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