New Jets Coach Robert Saleh: Sam Darnold ‘An Unbelievable Talent’

Robert Saleh has been the New York Jets’ head coach for only about two weeks, and already, everyone wants to know about Sam Darnold.

Saleh has already been asked about the status of Darnold as the team’s quarterback and whether Darnold will be the future of the franchise. Saleh answered the question — sort of.

“We just got here. We’re just starting to watch all this tape, watch the personnel that’s here, quarterback, receiver, O-line, D-line, linebackers, DBs. So you’re going through that entire process,” Saleh said, via the Jets website. “What I can tell you about Sam is that he is an unbelievable talent. There’s a reason why he was the third overall pick (in 2017). It’s very clear. Just watch the tape. Production aside, just watch the player.”

Saleh offered plenty of reasons to like Darnold and said nothing of Darnold’s inconsistency. But as Saleh mentioned, it’s not fair to judge a guy after only three seasons when there has been very little with which to work.

“He’s got tremendous mobility. He’s got arm talent. He’s fearless. He’s smart. He’s a good, precise decision-maker,” Saleh said. “He’s loved in the locker room. People adore him around this building. There’s a reason why he’s [a] third overall pick, and, let’s be real, he’s 23 years old so he hasn’t even scratched the surface of life yet.” 

Saleh, 41, arrives after spending the previous four seasons as defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. This marks his first stint as a head coach at any level. It’s quite a first gig as the main man, with the Jets coming off a disastrous 2-14 season.

On the bright side, the Jets own the No. 2 overall pick. Whom they take will say a lot about whether Saleh truly believes in Darnold, or if the new coach is just blowing smoke.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

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