Robert Saleh: Sauce Gardner has to earn right to play football

USA TODAY Sports

The Jets defense was the worst in the league during the 2021 season and that helped them earn the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft.

They used that selection on cornerback Sauce Gardner, which addressed one of the biggest shortcomings on last year’s squad. The need to upgrade at corner and Gardner’s draft position suggested a clear path to the first team for the rookie, but head coach Robert Saleh said that Gardner still has to show he’s the better choice for the job than holdovers like Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols.

“I do want to be clear, and I know, like you just said, fourth overall and I’m not trying to stir up headlines, it probably will, he still has to go earn it,” Saleh said at a press conference. “Bryce has started, he’s taking the one reps and it’s not for show. You have to earn your right to play football. Just because you were drafted in a certain spot it doesn’t mean anything.”

Saleh’s comments suggest free agent pickup D.J. Reed will be starting at one corner spot and it would be a major surprise if Gardner isn’t on the field with him come the first defensive snap against the Ravens in September.

4 responses to “Robert Saleh: Sauce Gardner has to earn right to play football

  1. I am interested in seeing how he does covering Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle twice a year as a rookie. It will definitely be a trial by fire.

  2. That’s what a good coach is supposed to do. Keep his players grounded. Some of you would be falling all over yourselves if Belicheat said the same things.

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