New York Jets Wide Receiver Allen Lazard Benched Amidst Struggles: Coach Saleh Addresses Performance and Future Plans

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Allen Lazard
Allen Lazard (Credits: Reddit)

New York Jets wide receiver Allen Lazard, who has struggled this season despite signing a lucrative four-year, $44 million free agent contract in March, was notably absent from the lineup on Friday when they faced the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium.

Expressing concern about Lazard’s performance, coach Robert Saleh admitted, “I’ll speak for him: He hasn’t been playing up to his standard. Everyone is pressing on that side of the ball to make something happen. There are parts of his game that need to get better.” Saleh emphasized that the team still has future plans for Lazard, but there seemed to be a slip in his remarks when he mentioned that Lazard would be around for “the next year-and-a-half,” potentially overlooking the contract’s duration until 2026.

Saleh clarified that he might have been referring to the guaranteed portion of the deal, amounting to $22 million over the first two years, the highest guarantee for any free agent wide receiver in the 2023 offseason. Beyond that period, the team can release him with minimal cap repercussions.

Allen Lazard
Allen Lazard (Credits: NFL)

Despite starting the first 10 games, Lazard’s performance has been below expectations, with only 20 receptions for 290 yards and a touchdown, along with three dropped passes, as reported by ESPN Stats & Information.

Addressing Lazard’s benching, Saleh framed it as a challenge for him to rediscover his edge and showcase the player they have faith in. Saleh expressed confidence in Lazard’s abilities, assuring that he would return to action sooner rather than later. However, he admitted that the term “edge” might have been poorly chosen.

Saleh also revealed that Lazard, 27, was inactive partly because he wanted to provide playing opportunities for younger talents, in addition to Garrett Wilson, the Jets fielded rookies Xavier Gipson, Jason Brownlee, and Irv Charles, who collectively managed only four receptions for 35 yards.

Notably, veteran Randall Cobb, who, along with Lazard, left the Green Bay Packers to reunite with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, saw limited action. Despite being active, Cobb played only seven snaps with no receptions. The absence of Rodgers, who suffered an Achilles injury early in the season, has significantly impacted the Jets’ offensive performance, resulting in just 10 touchdowns in 11 games.

Facing multiple challenges, including the absence of six starters and injuries to key players like left tackle Mekhi Becton, the Jets are hopeful for Becton’s return in the next game. Additionally, left tackle Duane Brown, activated from injured reserve, was in uniform but did not play on offense, marking the first time in his 17-year career that he served as a backup rather than starting. Saleh explained this decision by stating they wanted to give Brown an extra week to prepare mentally, considering his recent return from injury. The team aims to reintegrate him into the starting lineup in the upcoming week.


By Richard

All in one crazy for sports, especially baseball.

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