Jets candidate Saleh deserves a lot of credit for this Dan Leberfeld

NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo both reported (it was a photo finish for the scoop) that 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is flying to New Jersey for a second interview for the Jets’ head coaching job.

Saleh has the been the 49ers’ defensive coordinator since 2017. In 2002, even though it was a down year for the 49ers, it was one of his most impressive performances as San Francisco’s defensive chief.

They were absolutely ravaged by injuries on defense, including losing DE Nick Bosa against the Jets in Week Two, but Saleh never made excuses, and his unit continued to perform at a pretty high level in most games with tremendous tenacity. Next man up.

Like in Week 16, with a lot of backups playing against an Arizona team that needed the game for their playoff chances, the 49ers held the Cardinals to 12 points in a 20-12 victory.

There is no doubt Saleh built a strong defensive culture in San Francisco, a band of brothers.

It’s well-documented the Jets need to improve their football culture.

Maybe Saleh is a guy who can do that. He did it with a defense; can he do it with an entire team? Who knows?

But one thing we do know – man did the 49ers’ defense play hard this year, and never backed down after losing myriad players to injuries.


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