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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports


Jets coach Robert Saleh shares what makes 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan so unique

Jul 20, 2021 at 8:33 AM--


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When it came time for the New York Jets head coach to speak to his team following an early offseason practice, Robert Saleh stood there behind his players, waiting to hear what would be said. Then he remembered ...

"Oh shoot, that's me," Saleh said to himself.

The story is similar to San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan nearly forgetting to name team captains before his first preseason game.

"Honestly, if someone hadn't asked me, I probably would have been sitting there looking out at the coin toss and wondering why no one was out there," Shanahan said on KNBR in 2017.

Saleh is entering his first season as the New York Jets head coach after four years as Shanahan's defensive coordinator. He's learned a lot from his former boss in Santa Clara and understands that being a head coach is not just about the Xs and Os of the game. You have to set a standard inside the building.

While Shanahan is seen as an offensive genius, Saleh has proven himself to be a good coach and inspiring leader on the defensive side of the ball. The Jets coach shared what he learned from Shanahan during his tenure with San Francisco.

"Everyone wants to have the next offensive guru," Saleh told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. "I think what people lose with all these guys is their leadership skills. There's a difference between being able to call plays and actually lead a football team, period. And that's with any coach. And I think where Kyle separates himself from all of them, is his ability to lead and establish a style of play and a standard."

Shanahan and Saleh's 49ers won just six games last season. Although, injuries played a significant role in the disappointing campaign. Still, the players fought hard for their coaches despite the struggles.

"When you watch that team, watch the Niners, even last year, when you turn on the tape, there are common denominators that you see over and over again," Saleh continued, "you see the work, the effort, the attention to detail, the energy. It explodes off the tape, and it starts at the top with Kyle."

Saleh hopes he can establish the same foundation with his new team.



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