Robert Saleh vows ‘better’ clock management after Jets’ first-half blunder

The Jets’ mismanagement of the clock at the end of the first half did not look any better a day later.

Coach Robert Saleh spoke about what went wrong when the Jets let the clock expire without getting any points at the end of the second quarter Sunday in Denver.

With 15 seconds left, no timeouts and the ball at the Broncos’ 13, quarterback Zach Wilson threw a 5-yard pass to tight end C.J. Uzomah in bounds. Uzomah was tackled at the 8-yard line with about 10 seconds left and the Jets failed to get on the ball quick enough to spike it and stop the clock.

Saleh said the Jets call that an Ozone situation.

“The ball’s got to go in the end zone or out of bounds or ditch it at his feet but it can’t be completed inbounds,” Saleh said. “If it does, the amount of urgency and strain to get to the line to clock it is paramount. We just weren’t clean in that situation, obviously. I’ll put it on me to make sure our messaging is correct in that situation. Definitely something we’ve got to be better in.”

Jets head coach Robert Saleh
Jets head coach Robert Saleh
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The Jets had two surprising inactive players Sunday. DE Carl Lawson and WR Mecole Hardman were both healthy scratches.

Saleh explained each one Monday. He said Lawson was inactive because they could not have all 10 defensive linemen active and rookie Will McDonald got the nod over Lawson because of his special teams ability.

“From a D-line standpoint, somebody’s got to be down, especially when you’re missing a couple of corners,” Saleh said. “We needed more special teams help with [Brandin] Echols being out. You can’t dress 10 D-linemen every week. Somebody had to sit. We wanted Will up because he, while providing ability on defense with regards to pass rush, he is also a vital part of our special teams unit.”

This is the second time Lawson has been inactive. He missed a good chunk of training camp with a back injury and it is fair to wonder if he is fully recovered.

As for Hardman, he has had virtually no role with the team after signing a one-year, $4 million contract this offseason. Saleh said they needed to have WR Irv Charles active over Hardman because of his special teams contributions. Charles caused a muffed punt from Denver in the first quarter Sunday.

“Irv made this team initially because of his special teams ability,” Saleh said. “It’s just a matter of trying to get him up, especially as a gunner. When we lost Echols, we really, really needed a gunner opposite [Justin] Hardee. Irv showed it on that first punt, forcing that fumble. … He’s an animal on teams and a tremendous asset to this team.”

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