The Jets have completed a second interview with the 49ers’ DC Robert Saleh. After speaking with Saleh virtually on Jan. 8, the Green & White hosted him in on a visit at One Jets Drive.
Saleh, 41, has coached in the NFL for 16 seasons and has been the 49ers’ DC since 2017. Despite injuries to key players, such as DL Nick Bosa and CB Richard Sherman in the 2020 season, his defense ranked in the top five in the NFL in yards per game (314.3), passing yards per game (207.9) and third-down (35.5%). His unit also ranked in the top 10 in rushing yards per game (106.4) and red zone TDs (57.8%).
In 2019, Saleh was named Coordinator of the Year by The Sporting News after leading the NFL’s No. 2 defense in total yards (281.8), the fewest by the team since 1997. San Francisco also led the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (169.2), the fewest in the league since the Jets in 2009 (153.7). Saleh helped develop rookie DL Nick Bosa, who won the _Associated Press _Defensive Rookie of the Year award. The 49ers were the only team in the NFL to have at least four players with at least 6.5 sacks in 2019 (Bosa, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Dee Ford).
Saleh, who is from Dearborn, MI, and went to college at Northern Michigan University, began his coaching career at Michigan State in 2002 as a defensive assistant. He served in the same role with Central Michigan in 2004 and Georgia in 2005 before he got his first job in the NFL as a defensive intern with the Texans in 2005. He worked in Houston as a defensive quality-control coach (2006-8) and assistant linebackers coach (2009-10). Saleh then took a job with the Seahawks in 2011 as a defensive quality-control coach and won a Super Bowl there. In 2014, he took the linebackers coach job for the Jaguars before he was named 49ers DC in ’17.
The Jets have completed interviews with eight other candidates: Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, Bengals’ former head coach Marvin Lewis, Panthers’ OC Joe Brady, Bills’ OC Brian Daboll, Colts’ DC Matt Eberflus, Rams’ DC Brandon Staley, Titans’ OC Arthur Smith and Saints’ secondary coach Aaron Glenn.
Saleh is the first candidate to complete a second interview.