New York Jets Hire Robert Saleh as Head Coach

The 49ers (now former) Defensive Coordinator is headed east as the new Head Coach of the New York Jets! On Thursday evening, Josina Anderson reported the Jets locked up Robert Saleh, who they had interviewed twice already.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter later reported it is a 5-year deal for Saleh, which will hopefully lead the Jets out of the turbulence they had been enduring for the past few seasons. The 49ers finished 2019 as the 2nd-ranked defense by Pro Football Focus and 2020 as the 8th, which is quite astonishing given all of the injuries and dealing with COVID-19. Saleh also reportedly will be taking 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur with him as his offensive coordinator.

LaFleur got his start in the NFL as an intern under Kyle Shanahan when he was the Offensive Coordinator of the Cleveland Browns in 2014. He then followed Shanahan to Atlanta and San Francisco where he started as the wide receivers coach before working his way up to passing game coordinator for the last three years. He has been a hot name for teams looking for a bright, young play-caller from under the Shanahan coaching tree. It will be interesting to see if the Jets decide to keep Sam Darnold and have LaFleur try to work his magic, or draft a rookie QB for him to start fresh with.

In 2019, Shanahan made headlines by blocking LaFleur for interviewing with his brother Matt’s Green Bay Packers as an Offensive Coordinator.

“I was never tempted,” Shanahan said. “It was very easy, and I looked forward to saying ‘no’ very quickly. As quick as I can.”

Kyle Shanahan on blocking Mike LaFleur from interviewing with the Green Bay Packers in 2019.

The 49ers will acquire two third-round picks due to the NFL’s new rules (one in 2021 and the other in 2022). This rule is designed to encourage more minority coaches to be hired as head coaches (and/or general managers). The 49ers now have 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the 49ers will be promoting LBs coach DeMeco Ryans to DC. Ryans is well-regarded throughout the NFL & it had been speculated for a while now that he would be Saleh’s replacement. The former 2006 second-round pick of the Houston Texans, spent six seasons in Houston prior to being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012. The former defensive rookie of the year will now manage one of the league’s best defenses over the last few years.

Praise of Saleh’s hire poured in almost immediately across social media.

Matt Llewellyn & Zach Hernandez discussed Saleh’s likely move & Ryans as his replacement in a previous episode of Niners News. Give it a watch!

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