Why new Jets Sheldon Rankins, Vinny Curry wanted to play for Robert Saleh

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The idea of playing in Robert Saleh’s defense was enough to draw two defensive linemen to sign with the Jets.

“I love the way they’re always attacking,” new defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said on a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday. “I feel like one of the things that makes me the player I am is my explosion, my get-off, being able to be disruptive. Seeing the way he deployed those guys when they were in San Fran and the type of havoc they caused, I mean truly winning games with their front four, that got me excited. With me feeling healthy again and feeling back to myself, I feel like I can slide right in and do nothing but dominate in that front.”

Rankins signed a two-year deal with the Jets last month after spending his entire career with the Saints. Rankins has dealt with Achilles tendon injuries in recent years, but said he is fully healthy and ready to go.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” Rankins said. “I feel like I’m able to do all the things I was able to do before and more, which is a blessing. At one point through the entire rehabilitation process for both legs there was time when I began to doubt that I would be able to do all of those things again. I can stand here and honestly say I’m good to go, and I feel like I can do any and everything on the field to be successful.”

Rankins will be joined by defensive end Vinny Curry, who signed a one-year deal with the Jets days after Rankins. Curry was in Philadelphia when the Eagles turned the corner, and he won a Super Bowl there in the 2017 season. He is familiar with Jets general manager Joe Douglas from their time together in Philadelphia, and said he expects Douglas and Saleh to turn the Jets around.

Curry said that is why he did not have any reservations about joining a team that has not been to the playoffs in 10 years.

“Just to see where they’re trying to take this ship, I just wanted to be aboard,” Curry said. “I just wanted to get on the ship because I’ve seen this ship before when coach [Doug] Pederson took over in Philadelphia. I’ve seen this ship before, and I just wanted to be a part of it. No hesitation at all.”

Curry praised the job Saleh did with San Francisco last year — when the 49ers’ defensive line had numerous injuries, including to star Nick Bosa, but still played well.

“What he did was amazing,” Curry said.

Rankins and Curry will now be a part of a defensive line that should be a strength of the 2021 team, with Quinnen Williams and Carl Lawson also playing starring roles.

Rankins, who won a lot of games in New Orleans, said he believes the Jets are about to get things headed in the right direction.

“We’ll be able to turn this thing around,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take some time. I saw an opportunity to do something special here and that’s what I intend to do.”

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