The New York Jets have found their guy. The team announced on Thursday evening that they have hired San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to be their next head coach. It’s interesting to note Saleh is the third Arab-American head coach in NFL history (ex-Bears coach Abe Gibron and ex-Jets coach Rich Kotite) and is the first ever Muslim head coach.
Saleh joins the Jets after spending four seasons as the 49ers defensive coordinator. Prior to that he was linebackers coach in Jacksonville for three years, defensive quality control coach in Seattle for three years, assistant linebackers coach in Houston for two years, and defensive quality control coach in Houston for three years.
The 49ers defense ranked 26th and 24th in efficiency his first two seasons as defensive coordinator. The past two years the defense ranked second and sixth. The sixth ranking i 2020 is arguably the most impressive because of the volume of injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The team lost emerging pass rush star Nick Bosa to a season-ending torn ACL, did not have fellow pass rusher Dee Ford most of the season due to a back injury, were without cornerback Richard Sherman for extended stretches, and dealt with a whole host of other injuries. And let’s not forget they traded All Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner in the offseason.
Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams was particularly excited about the hiring: