National Football League
Jets coach Robert Saleh's offensive line rant highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'
National Football League

Jets coach Robert Saleh's offensive line rant highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'

Published Aug. 16, 2023 12:23 p.m. ET

Robert Saleh is very aware of the narratives that surround the New York Jets, especially the offensive struggles that have plagued the franchise for years. Their performance in a recent joint practice with the Carolina Panthers didn't do much to change that. 

In the second episode of this season's "Hard Knocks," the Jets head coach tore into the team's offense, specifically the offensive line following a poor outing during the joint practice. 

"Defense, our style was all over this b---- yesterday and it was awesome to see because that's our standard. That's who we are," Saleh began in a film session. "Offense, guys, it was our first f---ing opportunity to change the stink that's been in this organization for a very long time on the offensive side of the ball. You can have a Hall of Fame quarterback, two $10 million-plus receivers, a reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, all kinds of skill in the running back room and none of it f---ing matters until the big boys up front change who the f--- we are. 

"We as coaches and as an organization can't want it more than you. And I'm watching that tape all night last night trying to find something to show that we're f---ing changing, and it didn't show."


According to several reports, the Jets offensive line struggled for much of the Aug. 9 joint practice with the Panthers. Starting offensive tackles Billy Turner and Max Mitchell constantly allowed pressures and "sacks" during team drills, with Aaron Rodgers reportedly showing some frustration with Mitchell at one point after he let up what would've been a sack in a game. 

New York's offensive line wasn't statistically among the worst last season, allowing 42 sacks, which was the 14th-most in the league. But after the unit finished 25th in total offense and 29th in scoring, it's clear the bar has been raised with the trade for Rodgers and the acquisitions of a few other notable skill position players, including four-time Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook

[Related: With Dalvin Cook, Jets are a dream team. Can they manage the expectations?]

"I would love to say, ‘We've got another practice,'" Saleh continued in the film session, directing his frustration toward the offensive line. "But you know what? It's like Sunday. You don't go on Monday morning and get a redo. It's getting your mind right to represent who the f--- you are every single f---ing time you're on the football field. We'll fix the footwork. We'll fix all of that s---. But you can't fix s--- until we know you're giving everything all you've got. Making it f---ing hurt, straining and fighting for everything you've f---ing got, because we will go as far as you go. 

"We proved last year that we're a 7-10 football team with a really f---ing good defense and a mediocre offense. That's about what we proved. Flip that f---ing s---. We don't get any more second chances."

On the flip side, the Jets defense reportedly showed out in the joint practice with the Panthers. Quinnen Williams had a particularly strong day, reportedly finding his way into the backfield on a constant basis. 

Williams bragged about his performance on "Hard Knocks."

"I probably got 10 sacks by myself today, bro," Williams told Rodgers while he was mic'd up. "Someone's got to watch this s--- bro. … I probably got 10 today by myself."

"Eleven sacks," Rodgers later added after Williams was shown breaking through the Panthers' offensive line again. 

In another lighthearted moment of the second episode, the team welcomed mentalist Oz Pearlman as part of a team bonding session. Pearlman began by giving Rodgers a deck of cards and asking the QB to "think red, black, hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades."

"See that reaction? That flinch?" Pearlman said after Rodgers picked a card. "I know which way you’re throwing the ball. It’s a diamond, am I right?"

Rodgers nodded. 

Then, Pearlman reached into Rodgers' hands to find the card he picked. After Rodgers said he picked a three of diamonds, Perlaman unveiled a three of diamonds, drawing a surprised reaction from the rest of the team in the auditorium. 

Pearlman then asked safeties coach Marquand Manuel to think of an animal. After Manuel replied goldfish, Rodgers opened his hands and was holding a container holding a goldfish. 

In addition to the tricks he pulled on Rodgers and Manuel, Pearlman also correctly guessed that running back Michael Carter was thinking of changing his jersey number to 10. Later, he had Mecole Hardman find the right piece to complete a puzzle of the Jets logo. Pearlman asked Hardman who the Jets would beat in the Super Bowl that year and what the final score would be.

After Hardman said the Jets would beat the 49ers 31-21, Pearlman turned the puzzle board around to show a Jets logo with "31" under it and a 49ers logo with "21" beneath it. 

The episode also showed the performance the Jets rookies put on between their joint practice and preseason game with the Panthers at the team hotel. The performance was met with boos from the veteran players, with linebacker C.J. Mosley later saying, "This s--- was trash. All of you rookies, some of y'all tried to do good. Next week, everybody running that s--- back."

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