In case you were wondering, Robert Saleh uses a five-blade razor (brand to be left anonymous) and regular shaving cream to shave his head “every couple days or so,” but always on game days.
Yes, that was one of the myriad questions the new Jets head coach got in his maiden call-in to WFAN’s Boomer & Gio Show on Friday, courtesy of course of fellow clean scalp Al Dukes.
In lieu of our usual story, though, we’re going to inaugurate the Robert Saleh quotebook – 10 burning questions that Boomer & Gio asked the new Jets boss, and how he answered them…plus one fun bonus!
Saleh on the “MetLife turf monster” from Week 2: “The players may say something, but I can’t speak for that. I don’t think it’s an issue to be honest. That was probably one of the more somber locker rooms we’ve been in after that game. Players put in so much effort to prepare for those moments, and then for their seasons to end…it’s not even about me or the team, at that point it’s about the individuals you hurt so much for. I think the entire team felt that.”
Saleh on whether or not he did a better job in 2020 than 2019, given injuries: “I know that’s what people say, but it goes back to the players. Every player knows they’re capable of starting. When a player goes down, you can’t go into that meeting room and tell the second-stringer, “I know we’re going to have a drop off in production, so hey good luck.” Every player is capable of starting, it’s a matter of giving them the tools they need to be their best. Credit the confidence of the guys who stepped up in those situations, the preparation of our assistants getting them ready, and the players putting in the work to execute. There’s a lot of moving parts to all of it. Players are all capable of producing in this league, it’s a matter of opportunity and putting them in position to do it.”
Saleh on bringing “The Shanahan System” to New York: “Ten of my years in the league have been in a building where that system was run; with Gary Kubiak in Houston, bringing it from Denver, and then Kyle in San Francisco. It’s an SOB to deal with on a day in and day out basis; with the movement and the motions, there is no offense that puts so much strain on a defense. But it also makes it so easy for the quarterback, and makes players better. It is a simple system for people to learn, it’s a repetitive deal when it comes to techniques and formations. It’s the crème de la crème of offensive football, in my opinion. To bring it here and have (offensive coordinator) Mike (LaFleur), who has been with Kyle everywhere and rebuilt it three times…I think he’s ready and excited to do it. It’s meant to make the job of the quarterback easier – get people open, make clean pockets, create easy decisions. It gets the best out of everybody because it’s so clear and defined. We know what it’s supposed to look like, how to coach it, and what kind of players we need to make it work.”
Saleh on what his defense will look like: “We’re not exotic; we’re going to play good, sound, fundamental football on first and second down, and do what we can to pressure the quarterback. On third down is where we’ll see more creativity, so our players have opportunity to dominate one-on-one. It’s a scheme built on technique and sound fundamentals first, where everyone understands their job so they can unlock all their athleticism. Having Jeff (Ulbrich, defensive coordinator), who has some familiarity with it from Atlanta, here for that foundation, and connecting him to what we evolved to in San Francisco, it’s a really good match.”
Saleh on why players seem to love him: “I’m not good at talking about myself, I just have always taken the approach that we’re in this together. It’s about doing things together and investing in one another, giving everything you have as a coach to a player. Players know when it is sincere and that you know what you’re talking about, and trust you’re putting them in position to make plays.”
Saleh on toning down his emotion as a head coach: “There will still be emption, but I do have the ability to tone it down some, because I have other things to worry about. As a defensive coordinator, when you make a third down stop, your job is done for a bit when the defense comes off. But there’s so much more that goes into being a head coach. I can get pumped up, but I’ll be able to quickly transfer back to my job, because there’s a lot more to be done.”
Saleh on Sam Darnold as a potential “reclamation project” in 2021: “It’s about going through the process, and it comes down to everyone getting their eyes on him, the discussions with Joe and his staff, making sure we check all our boxes and confirming everything we’ve seen and believe before we say let’s roll. Everything we’ve heard is that he’s unbelievable, so it’s making sure he checks the boxes. QB is the most important position in football, period, and when you look at the history with this system – Brian Hoyer’s best year came in Cleveland, you’ve seen success from Matt Ryan, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Aaron Rodgers…and Ryan Tannehill, people had him in the running for league MVP early this year.”
Saleh on meeting Woody Johnson: “I’m not concerned about meeting Woody. Anyone with the business acumen of the Johnson family…when he does walk in the building and sees how we’re working together and pursuing a winning culture, it will be appreciated. He’ll know, and he can see when things are right; that’s how he got to where he is. I’m looking forward to meeting Woody and talking with him and building a relationship.”
Saleh on social media: “I’m not on social media, and to be frank, I’m not a fan of it, but my family sends me everything anyway. I won’t have a policy about it; players have the right to their individuality and to express themselves, but as long as the team is at the forefront and they protect the team at all costs, go ahead, show who you are.”
Saleh on winning his press conference: “I felt good. I felt like we were able to accomplish what we wanted to, and today’s a new day. Sure, you hear the big, bad New York media (laughs), but it was good. (Jets PR head) Eric Gelfand did a great job prepping us for the process.”
BONUS: Saleh on QB coach Rob Calabrese, who broke all of Boomer’s records at East Islip HS: “He made that known! But so many people called on his behalf that I said we had to talk to this kid, and we’re excited he’s here. He’s going to be a coordinator one day, he’s a good one.”
Listen to Saleh’s entire conversation with Boomer & Gio below!