Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: The New York Jets have a quarterback controversy on their hands.
After Zach Wilson‘s abysmal performance in a Week 11 loss to the New England Patriots, Jets head coach Robert Saleh refused to name him the Week 12 starter. Saleh said the team will be “keeping everything on the table for the next couple of days” as he and the rest of his staff continue to evaluate his performance.
This is a stark difference from Saleh’s tone after the game Sunday when he said the idea of benching Wilson for backup Mike White was the “furthest thing” from his mind. I guess he changed his mind after watching the tape Monday.
The Jets managed just 103 total yards of offense against the Patriots, something receiver Garrett Wilson called “not OK.” The Jets were worse in the second half and tallied just 2.88 inches per play. Yes, INCHES. Saleh called the team’s second-half offense “dog****.” Wilson himself completed just nine passes for 77 yards and only 4-of-9 on targets with more than three yards of separation, per NextGen Stats. His day would have looked even worse had the Patriots not dropped a few near-interceptions.
After the game, Wilson showed almost no accountability for his performance. He swiftly denied he “let down” the Jets’ defense which held the Patriots to only three points. Players were reportedly perturbed by and defensive end Quinnen Williams said , either. Defensive stars Sauce Gardner and John Franklin-Myers bothtwo tweets critical of Zach Wilson.
Saleh will have arguably the toughest decision of his coaching career this week. The only other times he didn’t play Wilson were due to injury, so this would the first true “benching” for the second-year quarterback. The Jets are also teetering on their first playoff berth since 2010, the longest active drought in the NFL.
The Jets saw some success this year and this past year without Wilson at the helm. White shocked the Cincinnati Bengals ]a 34-31 win in Week 8 in 2021 after Wilson injured his knee the week prior while Josh Johnson put up 317 passing yards and three touchdowns in a Week 9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Joe Flacco, who started the first three games of the season for New York while Wilson recovered from a preseason knee injury, averaged 300.3 yards per game and also threw five touchdowns. Wilson, meanwhile, has thrown just four touchdowns and averaged 182.7 yards per game in seven starts this season.
Whatever Saleh chooses to do will likely decide both Wilson’s fate in New York as well as the team’s playoff aspirations.