Sports

‘Don’t ever compare this guy to me’


A former New York Jets head coach roasted the current head coach over something both are thought to be experts in.

Rex Ryan, who coached the Jets from 2009-14, went on ESPN Radio and blasted the performance of Robert Saleh and the Jets after their 45-17 loss Sunday to the Buffalo Bills.

“This is a horrendous defense,” Ryan said on the DiPietro and Rothenberg show. “This guy is supposed to be a defensive guru. I heard everything, and I take it personal on this one. Everything I heard was about ‘Well, this guy is a lot like myself but without the bad part.’ Yeah? Well, some of the bad part you need because this team doesn’t play with any damn heart. That’s the thing that’s disappointing to me. Don’t ever compare this guy to me, this Robert Saleh to me.”

In particular, the last four games have been dismal for New York.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh's team is off a 2-7 start.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh’s team is off a 2-7 start.

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The team has allowed opponents to gain 1,890 yards over that span. According to ESPN, that’s the most ever allowed in franchise history over a four-game stretch. The Jets have allowed 175 points over that stretch, second most by any team since the 1970 merger. They’re the first team since the 1966 Giants to allow 45 points or more in three of four games.

The Jets have faced a rash of injuries, losing edge rusher Carl Lawson (Achilles) and starting safeties Marcus Maye (Achilles) and Lamarcus Joyner (triceps) to season-ending injuries, but a roster that lacks star talent is another reason for the defensive struggles.

“Now they’re going to use it ‘Well, we never had our safety,’ ” Ryan said of New York’s injuries. “So what? Everybody else has a million injuries, let alone an above-average safety you’re missing. I remember playing without five corners. It never looked like this.”

Saleh, who was the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers before being hired as the Jets head coach this offseason, has faced numerous questions about the team’s struggles.

“Clearly, it’s not good enough,” Saleh said Sunday after the loss. “Ever since that bye week, we haven’t been nearly as good as we have wanted to be. We have eight games left and from coaches to players, we have to find a way to get better every day. Otherwise, you’re selling yourself short.”

The Jets (2-7) are tied for the third-worst record in the NFL and look to be on their way to a last-place finish in the AFC East. Ryan, whose Jets finished last in the division in 2014 — he was fired after the season — also criticized Saleh’s previous 49ers teams for their performance in the NFC West standings. Saleh’s teams finished last twice in his four seasons in San Francisco.

“He’s going to be dead-last again, so he’s used to that,” Ryan said. “To me, I’m a little pissed off when I hear this guys’ background is a lot like (mine). No it isn’t. No it isn’t.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jets ex-coach Rex Ryan rips Robert Saleh’s ‘horrendous defense’



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