Jets' Robert Saleh Expresses Concern Players Are Using Helmets More with Guardian Cap

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 30, 2022

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - JUNE 15: Head coach Robert Saleh of the New York Jets talks with reporters before New York Jets mandatory minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on June 15, 2022 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Despite recognizing its positives, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh has some concerns about the use of the Guardian Cap on helmets during training camp.

According to ESPN's Rich Cimini, Saleh suggested that he believes players have been more inclined to lead with their helmets because of the added protection provided by the Guardian Cap:

"I think the spirit of it all is really good. It's got great benefits ... but I do think there's a balance in everything, right? Too much of anything is a bad thing.

"I do think because of the soft blow, it's kind of lending the players to use their heads a little bit more. I do think the first time when they take it off -- anybody who has played football knows the first time you take your helmet off or you hit with the helmet or you have a collision, there's a shock. I do think that if you're waiting until the first game for that shock to happen ... I don't know, time will tell. It's just interesting with those Guardian Caps and what exactly are we trying to accomplish."

Saleh also mentioned the "acclimation period" that comes with getting hit while wearing a helmet and pads and openly wondered if the use of Guardian Caps during training camp will make it tougher for players to adjust to getting hit without Guardian Caps during preseason games.

The Guardian Cap is a soft outer shell placed over the helmet to soften blows to the head and lessen the frequency of concussions.

Per Cimini, offensive linemen, defensive linemen, tight ends and linebackers are required to wear the Guardian Cap in practice until the start of the third week of the preseason schedule.

Saleh is preparing to enter his second season as head coach of the Jets after spending the previous four campaigns as the San Francisco 49ers' defensive coordinator.

His first season in New York didn't yield the best of results, as the Jets went just 4-13 and missed the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season.

While the Jets aren't expected to end that drought in 2022, they are a trendy pick to improve significantly due to some of the highly regarded moves they made in free agency and the draft.

Saleh will look to get his team's preparation off to a good start Aug. 12 when the Jets face the Philadelphia Eagles in their first preseason game, but he will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on how his players react to shedding the Guardian Cap.