Jets head coach Robert Saleh has been collecting receipts on doubters all year. After beating the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, he can probably start to reveal them now. Instead of doing that on Monday, he had a clear message for his players, who are heading into a bye week:
Don’t throw away a chance at making the playoffs by not taking care of yourself.
This kind of message especially rings more true after hearing safety Xavier McKinney needs to miss a few weeks because of an ATV accident during the Giants’ Week 9 bye. Either way, it’s a valid message to share with his players as New York owns a 6-3 record that pretty much nobody predicted.
Here’s a bit of what he said (quotes via NJ.com):
Don’t just go home or go to the beach and sit back and have a cocktail and relax for a week. There’s a workout regimen that we’ve got to achieve, we’ve got to be able to attack this week, you’ve got to be able to attack your regen, and make sure we’re walking, we’re moving, we’re taking care of our bodies, still putting all the good stuff in there, and treating this like this is not a week off, it’s a breather.
The message is to continue to take care of your body. I’ve seen players, we talked about this [Monday], that went into a bye week and absolutely destroyed their entire season because they went to a beach and drank beer and ate nachos for an entire week and came back 10 pounds heavier and destroyed their entire back half of the season. So [the message was] just to challenge everybody to attack this bye week, keep the main thing the main thing, which is their bodies, to keep paying attention to it, don’t waste days, and come back ready to roll on Monday.
Saleh had probably already decided this was going to be his message before the news about McKinney’s injury broke. However, that situation likely made it land a little easier.
There’s a lot at stake here for the Jets. For the first time in forever, they still have plenty to play for coming out of the bye week. And it’s not just to finally get revenge by beating the New England Patriots. If the season ended today, New York would be in the playoffs.
The Jets haven’t played football in January since 2010. That’s the NFL’s longest postseason drought. There’s finally a legitimate chance to break that unfortunate streak. New York will need to remain focused because its remaining schedule is no cakewalk, either. As it currently stands, their remaining opponents have a cumulative winning percentage of .551. That’s the 10th-highest in football heading into Week 10, according to Tankathon.