Giants first-year head coach Brian Daboll won over his locker room and the team’s frustrated fan base on Sunday when he boldly went for a two-point conversion in the final seconds, seizing the jugular of the Titans and victory for his new team.
Even had that conversion failed, Daboll — perhaps unwittingly — produced a powerful, galvanizing moment inside his locker room.
Only time will tell, but it’s possible that Jets head coach Robert Saleh produced a galvanizing moment of his own on Monday when he passionately backed his players the day after their 24-9 season-opener loss to the Ravens, saying, he was “taking receipts” from the team’s critics who believe these are the dreaded same old Jets.
Saleh’s players listened and they loved every sentence.
In Wednesday morning’s team meeting, the first day the players and coaches had gathered together since Saleh’s public passion play, the Jets coach addressed his “taking receipts” comments, several players told The Post.
It would be a gross understatement to say that Saleh’s words and where they came (the heart) were well-received by his players.
“It motivated the s–t out of us,” Jets safety Will Parks told The Post after practice Wednesday. “I felt like it was necessary. Wake guys up. Either you’re going to perform or you’re not.”
Parks said he was unaware of Saleh’s comments until the head coach addressed it in the team meeting Wednesday.
“We were all in there laughing and saying we’d say the same thing,” Parks said. “For a coach to talk about taking those receipts, it was like a player. I take receipts, too. It was spot on. Everybody understands exactly what he meant. We want respect. Obviously, we know we’ve got to win to get that. But we’re a group that’s going to get it done, that’s going to change the whole organization.”
Running back Michael Carter, who’s become a heartbeat of the locker room, told The Post that Saleh’s comments “meant a lot coming from the head man, it really did. From a players’ perspective, we want to do everything we can to have his back like he has ours.”
That sentiment was a common theme among the players.
Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, who came to the Jets from a successful organization in New Orleans and knows what winning is supposed to look like, loved what he heard from Saleh and said it should drive players to back him the way he backs his players.
“He’s protective of us,” Rankins said. “When you have a leader of men like him where you can truly see he cares — not only about winning but about the men in this locker room as much as he does — it makes you want to go that extra mile for him, that extra step.
“It always starts at the top, so when your leader has that type of passion and that type of determination and fire, it definitely bleeds down to the rest of the team.”
Saleh joked that reporters “caught me in a passionate moment defending the locker room” on Monday.
Then he doubled down on Wednesday.
“This is not the same old Jets, but until we win, until we prove it — which is on us as coaches and on us as players — the shots will keep on coming,” he said.
“Look, everybody to a man understands the reputation that the Jets have,” Rankins said. “This place has lost for a while. Once we get rolling and once we get some wins under our belt, it’ll ease some minds and thoughts. We’ll get this thing turned around. I’m extremely confident that we can do this.
“I come from a place, New Orleans, where from the moment I walked in there was talent everywhere. I’ve seen what the accumulation of talent combined with great coaching and a great leader can do, and I see that here. We’ve seen glimpses of it. We’re well on our way to doing it. I know everyone is impatient.
Impatience is understood on the part of a Jets fan base that hasn’t basked in a playoff run in 11 long years.
Saleh understands that and on Wednesday did what he could to issue an addendum to the comments he made on Monday.
“It doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the passion and the history of this organization in terms of what’s happened, especially over the last 11 years,” Saleh said. “Everybody in this organization acknowledges and respects the past. But this group is responsible for the future. And while we do feel the past of the organization, we know that it’s our job to heal those wounds as well.”
There, of course, is much healing to do. Maybe those passionate words from Saleh accelerate that healing process.