The Mets and Jets are in similar, but different spots right now. Both franchises have dealt with changes to the front office and coaching staff within the last couple of years. They also have both set out to change the culture and trajectory of their respective organizations.
That process has gone great for Mets manager Buck Showalter in his first year with the club. New York currently owns an 89-54 record and is on the verge of returning to the postseason for the first time since 2016. As for Jets head coach Robert Saleh, his squad’s Week 1 performance led to him answering questions he probably didn’t want to be asked.
The biggest difference among the things just mentioned? Showalter has managed more than 3,000 regular season games across two-plus decades in the big leagues. After four years as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator, Saleh is entering his second season in charge of the Jets. There are times when previous experience is great (especially when dealing with the New York media), and other times when it’s not a huge deal.
Both Showalter and Saleh displayed different approaches to the media on Monday. Saleh should give the Mets’ skipper a call with hopes that some of Buck’s wisdom and experience pours through the phone and into his ear.
Following the Jets’ flop against the Ravens, the critics have been laying into Saleh and his club hard. Apparently, all of these negative comments are being used as bulletin board material, and the head coach will show “receipts” when the haters are proven wrong.
Robert Saleh and the Jets are keeping receipts on those that "mock" the team:
"I'm going to be more than happy to share them when it's all said and done" pic.twitter.com/608akdkz9H
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) September 12, 2022
Later that day, Showalter sat down for his pre-game press conference prior to the Mets facing the Cubs. New York once had a 10.5-game lead in the National League East. However, the Braves have erased that and it’ll likely be a heavyweight fight all the way until the last out of Game 162 to decide the division title.
The veteran skipper was asked whether he checks to see what Atlanta does and how big or small the Mets’ lead is in the standings. Here’s what he said:
"I don't ever check my phone unless it rings" ?
Buck Showalter doesn't keep up with the NL East standings:
"What's it gonna change?" pic.twitter.com/fm2FQ03qPt
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 12, 2022
Talk about two different responses, right? One of them led to more negative headlines and criticism, while the other essentially flew under the radar without much fanfare. A call with Showalter would be helpful, but Saleh could honestly get plenty of wisdom from watching these two clips side by side.
Is there anything wrong with collecting opinions from the haters and using them as bulletin board material? Of course not. After a rough start to the season, coaches need to find a way to pull everyone together to continue rowing in the same direction before things get out of control. This is the kind of stuff that needs to stay in the locker room, though.
Why? Well, because in addition to having to answer questions about the Jets’ poor performance, Saleh saying this gives his critics just another opportunity to bash him. Those same critics are also wondering why the head coach is even paying attention to what other people are saying about his team. At least, they’re wondering why he’s openly admitting that he’s paying attention to it.
Showalter’s comments toward the end of the above clip are interesting because he mentioned his ability to ignore the outside noise is something he’s had to work on. He mentioned that it’s “why we get up in the morning” but also asked the rhetorical question: what is it going to change?
Scoreboard watching and listening to critics are two things no professional team needs to focus on. There should already be plenty of motivation to succeed without hearing what naysayers are spouting off left and right. And, at the end of the day, nothing matters if you do your job and start collecting victories.
The Mets are having a problem doing that thus far in September with the Braves hot on their tail. But still, Showalter is setting the example of not paying attention to it because if New York doesn’t go out and win baseball games, nothing else matters.
This same premise applies to Saleh and the Jets. Nobody likes having critics. It’s not fun to hear or know that people are saying not-so-nice things about you and/or your job performance. However, the only thing that will cure it all is putting some tallies in the win column. Instead of “taking receipts” on the doubters, just focus on the Browns — along with the rest of the Jets’ remaining 2022 schedule — and trust the process.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.