Robert Saleh prepared Jets’ Sauce Gardner for rookie-year adversity

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Sous Gardner incredibly didn’t allow a touchdown pass in three years of college play, earning him the honor of being the fourth overall pick by the Jets in the 2022 NFL Draft.

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The rookie cornerback was officially beaten by Cleveland’s Amari Cooper to a score in the Jets’ comeback win over the Browns last week, but head coach Robert Saleh knows it won’t be the last time, even if Gardner remains as that star. appeared in what he had anticipated. Happen.

“We talked like this in the OTAs,” Saleh said before practice at Florham Park on Friday, saying he’s going to drop his first touchdown, so fix your mind because you’re not going to drop just one. ” “There’s going to be a lot and you could argue that he still hasn’t dropped one, but the teams will keep trying that way.


“People are competitive in this league. They’re going to try him and they’re going to try him until he proves he can take the ball away and do different things, but yeah, I won’t even pay attention to that . He probably didn’t even know he was credited for that touchdown, to be honest with you. …he’s going to drop a lot more, and hopefully it’s not too much, but that’s the way the league works.”

Sous Gardner surrendered his first touchdown of the season against the Browns.
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Robert Saleh
Robert Saleh drafted Sous Gardner in the off-season when he dropped his first touchdown.
Bill Costroun/New York Post

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Saleh, a longtime defensive coach and former 49ers defensive coordinator, believes Gardner’s position as a rookie is the most difficult to step up to and thrive immediately.

“Corners are really tough in this league to master as a rookie,” Saleh said. “It is not easy to defend some of those people. Those receivers are avatars, aliens, if you wish. Some positions are easier to transition than others, but it is still very difficult. It’s just a different game.”

And it won’t be easy this week against the 0-2 Bengals, who boast one of the most formidable receiver trios in the league, with J’Mar Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd in close proximity to Joe Burrows. Gardner, a former University of Cincinnati star, told The Post on Wednesday that he would be “a huge challenge” to face.

As far as the challenges of starting out as just a rookie are concerned, 22-year-old Gardner reacted scathingly.

“I hold myself accountable for everything. I don’t depend on a coach taking pity on me as a rookie,” Gardner said. “I tell other rookies we’ve got to help change the culture, change the organization, so we can’t come with the typical rookie mindset. We have to hold ourselves accountable and be able to scout ourselves .

“If we make a mistake we have to learn from it. We can’t keep our heads down, we’ve got a bounce back.”

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