Robert Saleh fires back at Rex Ryan over criticism
The current coach of the New York Jets is returning fire at a former one.
Rex Ryan, who coached the Jets from 2009 to 2014, appeared this week on ESPN’s “DiPietro and Rothenberg” and made some critical comments about Robert Saleh, who currently coaches the team.
“This guy’s supposed to be a defensive guru,” said Ryan. “I heard everything. And I take it personal on this one. Everything I heard about was, ‘Well this guy’s a lot like myself but without the bad part.’ Yeah? Well some of the bad part you need. This team doesn’t play with any damn heart. That’s the thing that’s disappointing to me.
“Don’t ever compare this guy to me, this Robert Saleh to me,” Ryan added. “Statistically, one time, they were, like, a top defense. Here’s one thing they are gonna be familiar with. Four out of five years, the [San Francisco] 49ers were dead last in their division. So he’s gonna be dead last again. So he’s used to that. So to me, I’m a little pissed off about it when I hear, ‘This guy, his background is a lot like yours.’ No, it isn’t. No, it isn’t.”
Unsurprisingly, Saleh was not pleased to hear what Ryan had to say.
“Obviously, if it’s that personal for him, he knows where to find me,” said Saleh on “The Michael Kay Show,” per ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
“I’m not surprised by him,” Saleh added. “He’s always got something to say.”
Saleh also said that does not know Ryan and has never met him.
The Jets are now 2-7 in Saleh’s first season as coach after a blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Their defense has been especially awful as well. Saleh was known as a defensive guru during his previous stops at Seattle, Jacksonville, and, most recently, San Francisco.
As for Ryan, he was also a former defensive coordinator known for his chops on that side of the ball. Ryan presided over elite defenses during his first few seasons in New York. But many will argue that then-Jets DC Mike Pettine deserved the credit, as Ryan did not actually call the defensive plays.
Since Ryan last coached in 2016, he has been more than happy to trash today’s head coaches. But Saleh is one who will not take it sitting down.
Photo: Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh during Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports