Aaron Rodgers: Robert Saleh is more involved in the offense

After reportedly trying to find someone to oversee the offense in a spot above coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, the Jets apparently realized they had someone hiding right under their noses, whose job duties already include that — in theory.

The head coach.

The many sound bites created this week by a firehose of interesting quotes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers included an explanation that Robert Saleh has been more involved in the Jets’ offense.

“As a defensive coach, he’s been in that room a lot, but he’s been kind of sitting over to the left of me a good amount of the offseason so far,” Rodgers said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “So we appreciate his influence. He’s brought some really good ideas to the table.”

It’s more than just the principal sitting in the back of the classroom. Saleh is affirmatively contributing to the offense.

“He’s added a lot of interesting stuff that you’ll see throughout the OTAs and training camp, which I think would be pretty cool for us,” Rodgers said.

It would be easy to play the “nothing to see here” card or otherwise downplay the situation, but it marks a break from the traditional approach to running a team. The head coach focuses on the side of the ball that got him there, and he delegates the other side to his coordinator.

Saleh, who is among the many employees of the Jets who won’t be after 2024 if a playoff drought dating back to 2010 doesn’t end, is doing what he must to improve the team. The coordinator hand-picked by Rodgers hasn’t gotten it done, primarily because Hackett failed to sufficiently change the offense to suit Zach Wilson after Rodgers suffered a Week One, Drive One torn Achilles tendon.

It’s easy to blame Hackett for not doing what good coaches do — adapt the playbook to suit the skills and abilities of the players. The fact, however, that Rodgers continued to hover over the team under the vague notion that he’d return might have prompted the Jets to continue with the Rodgers offense so that the other 10 players would be fully schooled in it, if/when Rodgers rode in on a white horse at the first light of the fifteenth game.

Whether it’s characterized as desperation or necessity, for the Jets it’s reality. They must improve offensively. They also must be ready to pivot to Tyrod Taylor or Jordan Travis if/when Rodgers gets injured again. Given his age and recent history, it’s more foolish to assume he’ll play all 17 regular-season games than it is to prepare for another premature conclusion to what will be his 20th NFL season.

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