Jets' Robert Saleh says coaching staff, not Zach Wilson, to blame for botched quarterback sneak

Saleh explained the breakdown in communication

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The New York Jets came close to defeating former AFC East rival Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but a botched play in the final minutes of Sunday’s game essentially handed the win over to the Bucs. 

Jets coach Robert Saleh directed the fault of Zach Wilson’s failed quarterback sneak toward the end of the game at the coaching staff, saving the rookie from blame in a game that he otherwise performed well in.

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"In that situation, we wanted the ball handed off to [Braxton] Berrios, but we did a very poor job as a coaching staff communicating that in the huddle," Saleh told reporters after the game, via ESPN. "Zach executed the play the way it was designed. Unfortunately, if you look at the TV [replay], Braxton probably has a first down and the game is over."

Braxton Berrios #10 of the New York Jets leaps into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 2, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 

Braxton Berrios #10 of the New York Jets leaps into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 2, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Wilson attempted a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-2 at the 7-yard line but was stuffed by the Bucs defense, turning the ball over with 2:12 left – a dangerous amount of time for Brady. 

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Cyril Grayson #15 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers completes a 33-yard catch over Elijah Riley #33 of the New York Jets for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 2, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 

Cyril Grayson #15 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers completes a 33-yard catch over Elijah Riley #33 of the New York Jets for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 2, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

But Saleh defended the play, despite not agreeing with the execution.

"We're a yard away from keeping the ball out of the greatest player in the history of football's hands," he said. "I'll take that yard every time."

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Saleh went on to explain the breakdown in communication, seemingly pointing the finger at offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) drops back to pass during the fourth quarter of a game between the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jan. 2, 2022 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) drops back to pass during the fourth quarter of a game between the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jan. 2, 2022 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

"It's Mike to Zach," he said. "It's simple: He calls a play and says, 'Hand this ball off no matter what.' That's all the communication that needs to be said. It never got across. Zach executed the playbook as designed."