Jets coach Robert Saleh using ‘finish’ mantra to motivate players during offseason

On the final day of Jets availability, all the players had a new t-shirt in their lockers before they departed for the winter.

Black shirts with the word “Finish” were made right after the Jets 11-6 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday to end their season.

After the Jets’ six-game losing streak to end the year, it’s not hard to figure out what Jets coach Robert Saleh’s message behind the shirts was.

“Last year, we were out of playoff contention and we simulated December football,” Saleh said. “It was a video about the Pittsburgh Steelers and December football and what it means. We created a makeshift scenario that if we won three of four, we controlled our own destiny.

“This year, we were in the real thing. We were sitting there with four games left, we controlled our own destiny if we win three of four, it was the exact same scenario. I look back at it, obviously, we didn’t win any of those games, but we lived those games and we played those last six games that we lost, five of them went to the playoffs and one of them finished 9-8.

“The finish is we are going to be in this situation, one simulated, one experience and now let’s finish. Finishing doesn’t mean let’s start in December, it means let’s start the day with everything we do is about finishing our workout, finishing whatever it is that we are doing to make sure we have the mindset to finish because come December, we are going to finish.”

The Jets had an opportunity to finish strong and make the playoffs for the first time since 2010, as they were 7-4 at the beginning of December. But Gang Green lost six consecutive games to end the season.

In their last three games, the Jets offense couldn’t muster a single touchdown as they scored a combined 15 points in losses against Jacksonville, Seattle and Miami. Part of the reason for the offensive struggles was the quarterback carousel, as the Jets had three different quarterbacks start in their final three games.

Zach Wilson, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft and the starter for most of the season before being benched in November, was under center in the losses to the Lions and the Jaguars after Mike White fractured his ribs. Then after Wilson was benched against the Jaguars for practice squad player Chris Streveler, the Jets turned back to White after he was cleared to play against the Seahawks. But White broke his ribs again and the Jets had to start veteran Joe Flacco in the season-finale at Miami.

With their inability to throw the ball effectively during the last month of the season, opposing teams stacked the box against the Jets and committed to stopping their rushing attack. During Saleh’s availability on Monday, he said Wilson would have a chance to compete for the starting job. However, he didn’t commit to Wilson as the Jets starting quarterback next year.

Either way, something has to change regarding the Jets offense in 2023. Gang Green finished 29th in points per game (17.4) and 25th in total offense (318.2).

“There’s no excuse for that,” Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson said. “Being on offense and being in that receiver room, that’s not the result we want.

“I really don’t have an excuse for it and there’s no good excuse for it. They had an idea of what we were trying to do, so they did a good job of stopping us. Got the film at the end of the year and it got real hard for us on offense and that’s what it was.

“It can’t happen again, that’s for sure. It can’t happen again.”