Jets’ Saleh: ‘We have a tremendous young core’

After defeating the Buffalo Bills in Week 9, the New York Jets were 6-3 and playing their best football of the season heading into the bye week.

Eight weeks later, the Jets(7-9), who lost six of their last seven, including five straight, were officially eliminated from the playoffs after falling on the road to the Seahawks 23-6.

“It’s disappointing,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said after the loss. “Because I know the five-game losing streak, and I know we battled in a bunch of games. This one is — this one, we could have been a lot better, especially these last two games, just I feel like we’re a better football team than this. Obviously starts with me, but yeah.”

Jets quarterback Mike White, who missed the last two games with a rib injury, struggled in his return. White was 23/46 for 240 yards and two interceptions.

Missing the playoffs is tough for White.

“It stings, it’s tough, it’s gut-wrenching, and it’s all of the above; it’s whatever adjective you can use to describe it,” he said. “By no means are there moral victories. In the grand scheme of things, we are playing meaningful football late in the season, but also, I think we are at the point where we don’t care about moral victories.”

Saleh added: “I promise you no one is hurting more than the people in the locker room, especially me. But at the same time, I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there’s still a lot of really cool things to look at from this season. But right now, it stings big time right now.”

New York has a lot of questions surrounding the quarterback position. Zach Wilson has not played well this season, but the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, is still only 23 years old and could get better, and while White had some success this season, it doesn’t appear he is the long-term answer for the Jets.

According to Saleh, the Jets have progressed in the two seasons he has been with the team.

“I do; we have a tremendous young core, I do believe that,” he said. “I look at the first half of our season, and we’re fully healthy going into the bye week, we’re 6-3, and everything was looking up. You know, one thing leads to another, and you lose a couple of really tight games, and these last two games, there just hasn’t been anywhere near playoff-caliber football for us. You know you lose to a Minnesota team in the last second, you lose to a Buffalo team in the last second, you lose to the Lions in the last second, and so I know we’re close. I know it stings right now. It stings. But I know we’ve made a lot of headway over the last two years, and we’ll continue to do so.”

The 2022 season was a success for the Jets, and vying for a playoff spot in Week 17 is a win for this team. They still have some questions to answer, but the franchise should be happy about where they stand as they prepare for the offseason.

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