Robert Saleh broadcasts the Gates meetings with basketball competitions

One of the fiercest competitions at Gates’ training camp this week didn’t happen on a football field.

It came in the team hall on Tuesday, near the end of the team meeting, and it included basketball, not football.

Rookies Max Mitchell and Michelle Clemons set out for a free throw competition with Mitchell, a tackle representing the offense, and Clemons, a defensive end, representing the defense, trying to outpace each other.

Shortly after his appointment last year, coach Robert Saleh brought an organizational sized basketball hoop into the hall where the Jets hold their team meetings, for shooting competitions just like the ones on Tuesday. It’s an idea he borrowed from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who had a hoop around his teams dating back to 1994 when he was a Jets coach and had one by the fields at Hofstra.

“You have to loosen things up and have a little fun,” Saleh told The Post this week. “It’s something I learned from Pete a long time ago. They have to come to team meetings. It can’t be a hindrance. It can’t be, ‘Oh, here we are again.'” She tries to keep it light but at the same time makes sure we hold each other accountable. To the highest standards. You can achieve both and I think Pete has proven that.”

Robert Saleh installed a basketball hoop inside the Gates conference room.
Courtesy of the New York Jets

Basketball shooting competition is used as a way to break ties from the previous day’s practice. For example, the Jets had a competition period on Monday, where the offense got the ball at the 40-yard line and then tried to put together a drive to score. There were four series. The attack scored on two and the defense stopped them on two.

That tie had to be broken, and coaches chose Mitchell and Clemons to break it. During boot camp, beginners shoot. Veterans will participate during the regular season. Each shooter is allowed to choose his own creator.

“Display the decision when choosing your own product,” Saleh said. “He must get the ball to you quickly. He must be athletic.”

Each shooter gets 30 seconds to make as many shots as possible. The countdown clock is displayed on the giant video screen at the front of the room and there is a countdown when it reaches 10 seconds. As the players shoot, their teammates are cheering and laughing.

“Loud,” said Mitchell. “Guys are yelling at you. It’s all fun and games. But you also shoot the offense. You try to win for them.”

Clemons went on the start on Tuesday and made three shots. Mitchell made a major decision by choosing teammate George Fant as his striker. Fant played college basketball for Western Kentucky before becoming a soccer player and is widely considered the best player on the team. Mitchell outmaneuvered Clemons by firing a fourth shot as time expired to give the attack a win, leading to a celebration around Mitchell.

Max Mitchell participates in training at Gates training camp.
Max Mitchell participates in training at Gates training camp.
Bill Costron/New York Post
Michael Clemons
Jets rookie Michael Clemons was a fourth-round pick.
Bill Costron/New York Post

Jets players appreciate Saleh’s efforts to bring some fun into what the football season could be.

“I think it’s just a way to break the monotony of a regular team meeting where you know what to expect,” said Sheldon Rankins. “You expect to watch these clips or skip or over that. It’s a way to take in the same competitive element that you have [on the field] And getting him there in a way that isn’t physical but there are still guys cheering and yelling and yelling. It’s a way of cultivating that same competitive element and cultivating that camaraderie on each side of the ball that always forces players to compete and improve.”

Has Mitchell, who played for Louisiana, seen something like this at a team meeting before?

Robert Saleh
Robert Saleh tried to keep Gates’ boot camp loose in the second year.
Noah K. Murray New York Post

“Heck no. Mitchell said. Even walking around and seeing the basketball goal when I first got here, I thought, ‘Okay, that’s interesting in the team conference room. ”

Now, he sees the benefit.

“It relieves stress,” he said. “Nice.”

The basketball hoop at One Jets Drive speaks of Saleh’s approach as head coach. He is not a missionary and wants to make fun of football. He and general manager Joe Douglas also want rivals on the football field and on the rotten streak.

“I think the one thing he was kind of playing on even before I signed up and talked to these guys was that they wanted competition,” Rankins said. “They want players who want to compete in football, as well as chess, checkers, badminton. It doesn’t matter what it is. This is a way to sort of accentuate that. At the same time, you keep bringing your guys together. Guys root for each other and find ways to bring you closer together. the team “.