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Saleh already impressing Rookies, Media

Syndication: The Record Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

You know it’s a good draft class when you’re excited to see just a glimpse of the rookie mini-camp. For all intents and purposes, it’s a glorified meet and greets. They come in and have a chat, they go through a few drills, they do some stretching and some running, and then they head off.

However, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one glued to the screen yesterday as Wilson threw his first passes as a Jet, connecting with both Michael Carter and Elijah Moore. Being in an NFL environment was completely new for most, and even the head coach had to remind himself that he’s leading the pack this time:

“The horn blew for practice to be over and I started to take my normal spot behind the huddle to listen to the head coach speak and I was like, ‘Oh, shoot, that’s me,’ ” Saleh related with a smile and a laugh when addressing the media

In many ways it was our first chance to see Saleh in action, even if it was severely limited action. We all saw his energy in San Francisco and that’s what excited us about the former 49’ers defensive coordinator, but now we get to see it up close. He’s known as a players coach, and that’s the vibe that was given by the rookies when they spoke to the media afterwords:

“I rock with him already,” said running back Michael Carter. “I can’t wait to play for him. He’s a great coach already. He wants to win. He wants to have fun doing it. He wants to have high energy and that’s me. So, I’m excited to play for him.”

“It’s in everything,” Vera-Tucker, the Jets first-round pick said. “I met him in person last week and he had a lot of energy. You see it on the field when he was back in San Francisco coaching up the defense always bringing that energy and in team meetings as well. He always has, I guess, a chip on his shoulder. He always wants us to work our butts off, which we will.”

He may have forgotten his role at the start, but he didn’t waste any time in falling into head coaching duties:

“It’s no different,” Saleh said of being the head coach at practice. “From a coordinator’s standpoint, you walk from position to position and you’re just making sure that everybody’s on their Ps and Qs and things are being recited the way you wanted and taught the way you wanted. You want to see players responding the way they need to respond. Instead of just hanging around the defense, going to the offense and special teams, but observing practice and making sure everybody is doing what they need to be doing to get better. It’s just a bigger scope.”

Only an hour of practice was open to the media, although that was more than the 30 minutes originally promised. After all this isn’t about the media, this isn’t really about the fans. This is about a group of young men coming in, introducing themselves and getting to know each other and the coaching staff. It’s about starting the long installation process for the offensive and defensive systems, and it’s also about having a bit of fun:

“For them to really start to introduce who they are and what we can expect day in and day out and not to leave gray area in the identity they want to portray. That’s the biggest message,” Saleh said. “That’s the biggest goal of this entire weekend is just a good, clean introduction on both sides and to really learn what it’s like to be a Jet.”

“To be able to get out there and get on the grass with the guys and start teaching your techniques and fundamentals and scheme and seeing the coaches coach and the players play. That’s always the best part about this whole job.”