Give Douglas credit for showing conviction on Saleh

So much for due diligence. So much for leaving no stone unturned.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas fell in love with this coaching candidate, and he did whatever it took to get his guy signed, sealed and delivered.

It’s not who Jets fans thought. It’s not who Jets fans expect.

Doug Pederson will not be the Jets head coach. Instead, Douglas hired San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to be their 20th head coach in franchise history on Thursday night.

It could have been easy for the Jets general manager to go with the safe choice in Pederson. After all, they worked together as members of the Philadelphia Eagles. The former Eagles head coach boasts a Super Bowl ring along with several playoff appearances.

Instead, Douglas went with his gut and hired a guy that can grow to be an elite head coach one day. He showed intuition in going with a guy he felt could have the pulse of the team.

Owners and general managers can overthink it when it comes to selecting head coaches. Some of them use firms to pick a head coach. Some go by consultants and such. Some make it difficult by doing too many interviews.

Douglas targeted what he wanted, and he got it in Saleh.

No one knows how he will do as a head coach, but he offers attributes that can make it work. He is young, energetic and smart. He coordinates defense well, which made him a highly sought candidate. He gives the Jets an identity by being aggressive from his work with his linebackers. Most importantly, he can get the players attention.

So many San Francisco 49ers players such as Richard Sherman, Joe Staley and Fred Warner gush about Saleh as a head coach and as a man. He fits what Douglas looked for, which was finding a head coach who would be a leader of men.

The Jets lacked that coach for a long time. They haven’t had a coach who would galvanize the team to fight for the common good of winning since Herman Edwards. If anyone watches a YouTube highlight of Saleh coaching, he or she would be impressed and drawn to Saleh’s coaching style.

Jets fans approved the hire from reading social media and listening on sports radio. It’s telling since a fair amount of Jets fans would have complained about the selection if it was anybody else. It’s what they do. Saleh being highly regarded helped his cause right there.

Saleh knows how to develops young players. He developed players such as Warner, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Dee Brown, Paul Posluszny, Telvin Smith, K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner and Super Bowl XLVIII Malcolm Smith from his stops as an assistant coach.

Saleh’s strength with linebackers comes in handy since the Jets haven’t had much impact out of their linebackers in a long time. Their defense struggled to make plays as a result of the lack of development from the linebackers, so this hire changes everything.

Hiring Mike LaFleur (Packers head coach Matt LaFleur’s brother) as the Jets offensive coordinator eases concerns about the Jets not hiring a head coach who would put a premium on offense. LaFleur worked with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan from their days in Cleveland, Atlanta and San Francisco, so this gives more points to Saleh’s hiring.

I can’t come up with a negative on this hire. He comes out as a natural-born leader that knows what he is doing. Think Islanders head coach Barry Trotz when you think of him. When Jets players are excited about the hire without even meeting him, this tells you the gravitas he has already.

This hire is not only a sexy hire, but it’s a substance hire. He paid his dues to be in the position he is today from being an intern to linebackers coach to defensive coordinator. He’s more than ready.

The Jets needed to get a head coach that will get fans’ attention. They turned apathetic toward this team in recent years. Now, they are going to be curious to see what Saleh does from his credentials and personality.

It also speaks well of Douglas that Saleh wanted to work with him by taking the Jets job. He could have taken a better situation such as coaching the Los Angeles Chargers that has a great quarterback in the making in Justin Herbert.

This coaching hire certainly has everyone’s attention. That’s a start right there.

For Douglas to like him so much that he acted fast to hire him right away, he made an impression.

That’s a mark of a head coach that sure knows what he’s doing.



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