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From the same mold

Posted Feb 10, 2014

New Jaguars LB coach Robert Saleh: “We’re all kind of in the same mold. We’re positive, we’re energetic and we’re excited to be a Jaguar.”

JACKSONVILLE – Robert Saleh won’t say there are no differences.

Saleh, the Jaguars’ new linebackers coach, said he will approach his new position and the accompanying opportunity his way, but at the same time, he did spend three years working with Head Coach Gus Bradley.

So, to say there might be a few similarities in style, approach, philosophy. . .

Yes, Saleh said, you can say that.

“I’m coming in with a lot of excitement,” Saleh said Monday shortly after being officially named the Jaguars’ linebackers coach. “All of the coaches on the staff, we’re all kind of in the same mold. We’re positive, we’re energetic and we’re excited to be a Jaguar. That’s what he (Bradley) is looking for and that’s what Jaguar Nation can expect from me.

“Gus is unbelievable in his approach and his philosophy and his message that he’s always trying to deliver to the players. It resonates with who I am and what I strive to be.

“From that standpoint, I’m excited.”

Saleh, 35, on Monday was hired with assistant linebackers coach Scott Hazelton to work a position coached the last eight years by Mark Duffner, who left late last month to join the Miami Dolphins’ staff.

Saleh, a nine-year NFL veteran, spent 2005-2010 as a defensive assistant with Houston, then spent the last three seasons as the defensive quality control coach with Seattle, which won the Super Bowl this past season.

Bradley spent 2009-2012 as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator, with Jaguars defensive line coach Todd Wash working as the Seahawks’ defensive line coach in 2011-2012. Saleh in Seattle was responsible for assisting the defensive staff with day-to-day duties, with linebackers his primary position of focus.

“Every scheme has its differences,” Saleh said. “Understanding what Gus and Coach (Defensive Coordinator Bob) Babich are looking for, it does make it easier – to speak the same language and understand exactly what they’re looking for.

“Also, bringing the added knowledge and the things that I’ve learned from Seattle, and adding to that mixture—it should be great. Everything should work out perfectly.”

Saleh said he is a believer in Bradley’s coaching style, which focuses on being positive with players and improving every day. The philosophy is one largely shared by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, and Saleh said it’s one to which professional players respond.

“That’s what players want,” he said. “They want to be treated like men, and they want to be treated with respect. That style resonates with players. You’re dealing with men who are fathers. They are intelligent and they have their own lives. They want to be treated accordingly. They want to be treated with positivity. They want you to teach them something and help them perform on Sundays and help them maximize their abilities as individuals.

“That’s what we’re here for. It’s not about manipulating the player to get what you want. It’s about helping the player achieve what you’re trying to achieve as professional football players. They all have goals. They all have an idea what they’re trying to achieve.

“We’re all there to make sure we help the player maximize their potential. That’s our job as leaders.”

Saleh will work with a position that featured the Jaguars’ lone Pro Bowl selection last season, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, as well as outside linebackers Geno Hayes and Russell Allen. That trio started 42 of 48 combined games last season, with rookies LaRoy Reynolds and John Lotulelei and first-year veteran Nate Stupar also playing extensively late in the season.

“I’ve taken a peek at all of them,” Saleh said. “They all have tremendous strengths. I want to share my knowledge with them and help them achieve what they’re trying to achieve as a professional football player. I’m looking forward to sitting down with each and every single one of them and gathering their thoughts and seeing what’s on their mind and what they’re trying to achieve. As a coach, I’ll do everything I can to help them stay connected to that.”

Saleh said he has spoken with Posluszny and Hayes, and will try to reach all for introductory conversations in the coming days. Coaches and players can’t talk about football-related matters until the official beginning of the offseason program April 21.

“They’re both excited, and hopefully they share the excitement I do to be able to work with them,” Saleh said. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about those two guys and really the whole linebacking corps. They just want to be great and they’re eager to learn. Hopefully, I’m able to help them achieve what they want.”

Saleh, who worked his final two seasons in Houston – 2009-2010 – as an assistant linebackers coach, was the quality control coach there the previous three seasons. He also spent four seasons coaching collegiately – at Michigan State (2002), Central Michigan (2004) and Georgia (2005).

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “It’s been an unbelievable experience so far, and I’m just thankful Gus and the staff are giving me an opportunity. It’s been a dream come true. It’s been great. You have no idea how excited I am. It’s fantastic, especially coming off the experiences I had in Seattle. I want to give as much of myself as I can to the people I’m working with and help everyone achieve what they’re trying to achieve.”

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