Robert Saleh rejects Zach Wilson ‘selfish’ critique: ‘Nowhere close to that’


On the day after the Jets’ 28-24 loss to the Buccaneers, there was still a postmortem going on about the Jets’ decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 with 2:17 left in the game and how the play unfolded. 

Jets coach Robert Saleh took the blame on Monday for what he called a “miscommunication” with the coaching staff not telling rookie quarterback Zach Wilson to hand the ball to Braxton Berrios instead of running the sneak, which is what Wilson’s read on the play called for him to do. 

Saleh disagreed with the opinion expressed by some that Wilson was selfish and called his own number to be the hero. 

“I don’t know about that one,” Saleh said. “He’s a rookie, his head’s barely above water with regards to the scheme, he’s still in a pleasing motive of his career, in terms of just doing things the way it’s drawn up. If you’re talking Year 3, Year 4 and he does something like that, then I guess you can start, maybe. 

“But as a rookie who’s still trying to figure this league out and trying to figure what he can and can’t get away with and how to take control over things and all that. He’s nowhere close to that in terms of a selfish player. He wants to get better. He’ll learn from this.” 

Saleh said as Wilson gets more experienced, he will be able to change the play. 

“I think he executed the playbook exactly the way it was designed to,” Saleh said. “In future years, he’s just going to look to the sideline and just flip the bird to Mike [LaFleur] and say like, ‘Hey, we’re doing this buddy,’ and he’s going to make it work because he’s going to know. I don’t think he’s anywhere near close to being able to even make a decision from a selfish standpoint because his neck’s barely over water with regards to schemes.” 

Robert Saleh rejected the idea that Zach Wilson is ‘selfish.’
Bill Kostroun, Charles Wenzelberg

Jets rookie CB Brandin Echols drew some attention when the Fox cameras caught him postgame asking Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady to autograph the football that he intercepted from Brady in the first half. His coach had no issue with the move. 

“It’s a little ballsy by the rookie to do it, but I think it speaks volumes about Tom Brady and his character,” Saleh said. “Major competitor, for him to sign the ball, I think it speaks volumes to him because I don’t care what anyone says, he picked off Tom, like that’s a childhood dream. That’s one of the greatest of all time and for Tom to humor him with the autograph and to do that for him, I think is pretty cool on his part. 

“And again, I have no problem with it, not at all, because I know what those guys go through and trust me, Echols cares that we lost and he cares that Tom had a hell of a game. But to be able to pick off a guy like Tom Brady, how many guys can say that, right?” 

Saleh said WR Denzel Mims played no snaps because of the way the game played out and the opportunity for him to play did not “present itself.” 

LT George Fant is getting a second opinion on his knee and the Jets will know more Wednesday. Saleh said Fant does not have a torn ACL. … RB Michael Carter has a concussion but the Jets are hopeful he can return for Sunday’s finale. … TE Dan Brown (hip) is likely out for Sunday. The Jets will know more about the availability of WR Elijah Moore (quad), WR Jamison Crowder (calf) and DE Bryce Huff (ankle) on Wednesday. … DE Kyle Phillips was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list. 

The Jets claimed OT Greg Senat off of waivers from the Colts. Senat is from Elmont and went to Wagner. 

The time for Sunday’s game against the Bills has been changed to 4:25 p.m.

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