Year 2 has to be better than Year 1.
Ignore a difficult schedule, especially at the beginning of the season. The 2022 Jets should show progress in head coach Robert Saleh’s second season, and it will be surprising if they don’t consider the team’s new pieces — especially ones that (on paper) look like highly productive formats.
Among the key returning players, starting with second-year quarterback Zack Wilson outperforming, his consistency in coordinators may have been the team’s best path to more success than four wins last season.
That continuity begins with Saleh and expands to his coordinators, Mike LaFleur on offense and Jeff Ulbricht on defense.
The remaining players on the 2021 team should now have knowledge of the relevant systems and know the standard of what Lafleur and Ulbricht expect of them.
It will be the mainstay of the Jets’ success this season.
“Consistency is always so important,” Saleh said on Monday after the team’s first training camp practice across the pad. “Longest staffers, usually the deeper you are in your tenure, the better you are as a football coach because you know all the snakes in the grass you are trying to coach .
“Players are familiar with what you’re trying to say, so being familiar is so important because you can coach with so much precision.”
Saleh pointed to a play in Monday’s practice as a small example of how coaching consistency has manifested itself in a tangible, positive way.
“In that first competition period, Mike [LaFleur] Being comfortable as a playmaker, trying to move the offense to third position, is not a deterrent, and you saw the defense trying to get it back,'” Saleh said. “It’s really nice to see their personalities take shape on both sides and what they’re trying to achieve. Every day that they’re here they’re only getting better.”
Lafleur and Ulbricht were hand-picked by Saleh. They both have a history with him. Both of these are expected to be expanded to head coaches.
Make no mistake: Both men, in first-time NFL coordinator roles, went through their share of growing pains — as did their younger players — in 2021.
While it certainly wasn’t all his fault, Ulbricht’s head was spinning when his defense was allowing 54, 31, 45 and 45 points in the opening four games of the season.
LaFleur certainly wasn’t feeling his best when Wilson was throwing four INTs to the Patriots in Week 2 followed by two more in Denver the following week and looked like he’d ever lead the offense for a touchdown. does not make.
Those times are, in theory, behind both Lafleur and Ulbricht. At least for the most part.
“Anytime you can enter a Year 2 – because nothing is obviously guaranteed in this league – you mainly have a lot of guys,” Lafleur said. “You haven’t been teaching from ground zero. These guys came to OTAs and they had a pretty good idea of what this offense was supposed to be about. I thought we had a great OTA, both in the classroom and on the field. And then When they came back, how comfortable they were with this crime. From the point of view of execution we have a long way to go, but the knowledge of this is huge.”
Ulbrich called it “huge” to have a second year with many of these players in the same system.
“More years, years in a row, you can be in any system, defensively, people stop thinking about alignment, people stop thinking about technology,” Ulbricht said. “It becomes unconscious ability, and they just play out faster. The more years we can get into a system, the better.”
One of the players returning to the back end of Ulbricht’s defense is Michael Carter, who plays a lot as Nickelback. “Expectations are set, standards are set, so it’s our job to maintain those standards,” he talked about having a year in Ulbricht’s system on Monday, he said.
“He can give us all the drama and all the talk in the meeting room, but when we go out on the field it’s just us, there’s 11 of us, and we have to be able to keep that up. It’s a great feeling when you go out there and know that everyone is on the same page.”
Players on the Jets’ defense and offense have a better chance of being on the same page this season as they are familiar with Ulbricht and LaFleur.
Because consistency matters.