Robert Saleh talks restructuring Jets O-line without Mekhi Becton, scheming for Bill Belichick with rookie QB

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Robert Saleh speaking at podium at 2021 Jets training camp, talking with hands
Robert Saleh speaking at podium at 2021 Jets training camp, talking with hands

Nothing is getting easier for the Jets this week - after losing Mekhi Becton to a knee injury, they now have to start gearing up to face arguably the best coach in NFL history.

On Sunday the Jets will play host to the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick, who is 25-6 against rookie quarterbacks in his NFL head coaching career.

The Jets, along with their rookie QB in Zach Wilson, will try to make it two consecutive losses against rookies for him, though (The Pats fell in Week 15 last year to the Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa).

And first year head coach Robert Saleh knows it's going to be a challenge.

“He’s just, through his knowledge, to take a piece from him, his understanding of offensive protection systems and all that stuff, he understands it like an offensive coordinator would," Saleh told reporters on Monday. "So because of his understanding of protections, he’s able to attack protections better than most – better than all defensive coordinators for that matter. It’s something that he is always doing schematically. He is always attacking protections. He’s always putting you at a disadvantage with regards to your whole protection system, and the looks behind it, because of the way he’s manipulating protections, it’s very hard for the quarterback.

"There’s a lot of film study, there’s a lot of trust that has to happen, there’s a lot of communication that needs to happen, but understand that every single down, first, second, third down, doesn’t matter, he is finding ways to manipulate your protection and get you in a position where the quarterback is at a disadvantage. Respect the heck out of it, it’s hard to go against, and it’s gonna be a great challenge this week to prepare against it.”

Saleh praised Wilson on Monday for his toughness, and admired his ability to make defenders miss, but there's still things the rookie has to clean up.

"In camp, he was straying and staying in the pocket and going through it, I was like ‘man, what’s it gonna look like when he gets his first hit? Is he gonna have a feel for the pocket? Is he gonna be able to slide and move with the pocket and do things that he needs to do to avoid hits and buy time and gain the extra hitch?' and all that stuff. And what was encouraging was he had free runners he made miss, he showed elusiveness. Now it’s just a matter of knowing exactly where he needs to go with the ball once he’s made that first guy miss. You’re probably not going to make the second guy miss. Thought he was really good in the pocket. He stood in there strong. He did take his lumps. He can learn from it and learning how to do the right things to avoid hits [himself]," he said.

It's going to be even more difficult without Becton, who dislocated his kneecap in Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers - the second-year left tackle is expected to be out four to six weeks.

However, despite Becton being a "heck of a talent," Saleh is confident in how they'll patch up his absence by putting George Fant on the left side and Morgan Moses on the right.

“You feel very fortunate. We’ve got three legitimate starting tackles, so getting George over there on the left and Morgan over there on the right, obviously Mekhi is a heck of a player and heck of a talent, but to have two veterans who know how to play this game, getting them in there so they can get into a groove is beneficial.”

Belichick is 33-11 against the Jets since joining New England, and he has won 10 straight against Gang Green.