“Such a f**king mess!” Jets HC Robert Saleh’s fear-driven decisions and OC Nathaniel Hackett’s inability to adjust gets exposed

The New York Jets went from having Super Bowl aspirations at the beginning of the season to ending the year with a 7-10 record.


“Such a f**king mess!” Jets HC Robert Saleh’s fear-driven decisions and OC Nathaniel Hackett’s inability to adjust gets exposed

Robert Saleh and Nathaniel Hackett (via NBC/AP)

The New York Jets began the 2023-24 NFL season as one of the most hyped teams around the league. For Jets’ fans, hope remained high as they believed their Super Bowl drought would end. After all, the team traded for Aaron Rodgers. The multiple-time MVP, along with a young talented offense and arguably one of the best defenses in the NFL led by Robert Saleh, has the makings of a champion. The Jets did not just offer Rodgers money to woo him. Owner Woody Johnson knew it would take a lot more for Rodgers to agree to leave the Green Bay Packers.

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The encouraging factor was a voice that Rodgers trusted. It was something that the Packers had taken away from him in recent years. The New York Jets listened to Aaron Rodgers and added Randall Cobb. They brought on Nathaniel Hackett as the team’s offensive coordinator. This was just a season after Hackett was at the forefront of a disastrous season. He led the Denver Broncos to a 5-12 season with a revamped roster filled with stars such as Russell Wilson. After his performance this season, it is clear that Sean Payton was not lying when he dissed Hackett publicly.

Despite their best efforts in the offseason, the New York Jets saw their hopes and aspirations come crashing down. It happened within just 5 minutes of the commencement of the team’s first game against the Buffalo Bills. Aaron Rodgers went down and shrieked in pain. It was evident that he had sustained a severe injury and as expected, it was his Achilles. The Jets went from being Super Bowl favorites to a team that now prayed to somehow sneak into the playoffs.

Nathaniel Hackett’s incompetence was on full display as the New York Jets offense struggled this season

The team managed to win seven games, and the entire dysfunction within the organization was exposed. The team’s non-existent offensive line to the coaching decisions and shaky team culture proved one thing. This season made it clear that Aaron Rodgers cannot be the lone savior of the New York Jets.

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Sure, the offense gets the offense back on track and would perform much better than what Zach Wilson did this season. However, Rodgers might not fare a lot better if he plays behind the same offensive line. In the worst-case scenario, he gets injured again due to his age. The bigger issue than that is the lack of faith in their own coaching staff within the organization.

Robert Saleh Jets
Robert Saleh (Via SI)

The Athletic spoke to multiple sources, including an assistant coach who revealed how disastrous the situation was. This is what the assistant said:

It's just such a fu**ing mess. Something has to change. 
New York Jets assistant via The Athletic

And he is absolutely right. After all, the team’s worst nightmare came to fruition in the first game of the season. Moving forward, Nathaniel Hackett and Robert Saleh decided to keep the team’s game plan the same for the rest of the season. Both of them made no adjustments, and it virtually exposed their inability to adapt to situations.

Robert Saleh is a competent coach, but the 2023/24 season made it clear that he allowed the external noises to get to him. At times, his decision-making process was shaky. Towards the end of the season, he decided to bench Zach Wilson for Tim Boyle to see if it would help the Jets’ offense get better. He knew that the season was over for the team the moment Rodgers went down. On the other hand, Nathaniel Hackett has shown over the last two seasons that Aaron Rodgers carried him and that his abilities as an OC remain average at best.

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Nathaniel Hackett and Aaron Rodgers
Nathaniel Hackett owes his success to Aaron Rodgers. (Via Sportsnet/NBC Sports)

Hackett failed the Jets’ offense this season. If Zach Wilson received criticism for the team’s lackluster offense, then the OC deserves the same level of criticism. The numbers speak for themselves. The Jets lost five games by nearly 20 points or more. This is a ridiculous feat because they could not put points up the board, and the defense bore the brunt of the playtime.

While the fans of the Jets’ remain optimistic that Aaron Rodgers will return next season, they should prepare themselves for disappointment yet again. The reason is one man cannot always save a football team. However, the team deserves to get the benefit of the doubt as they will likely make key changes required before the commencement of the 2024-25 season. Otherwise, it will be the same old scenario for the team, only time will tell.

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