The New York Jets have seen enough of quarterback Zach Wilson. Head coach Robert Saleh confirmed that after a poor offensive performance against the New England Patriots on Sunday, the Jets sent Wilson to the bench ahead of the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears.
The Jets players were reportedly briefed on the decision at a team meeting on Wednesday.
With Wilson on the bench, the team will start Mike White against Chicago. White, 27, appeared in four games last year, throwing five touchdowns against eight interceptions.
37-year-old NFL veteran Joe Flacco serve as white’s backup at week 12. He started three games for the team earlier this season while Wilson recovered from injury. Flacco completed 58.7 percent of his passes and threw 5 touchdowns to 3 interceptions in those games.
After the start of the team’s last seven games, Wilson would be inactive against the Bears. Wilson was reportedly disappointed upon hearing the news.
“It’s never fun,” Wilson said. via Mike Giardy of NFL Network. “But the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘I need to find a job. I have to get better.” … I wouldn’t say necessarily surprised because I didn’t do my job.”
Zach Wilson under fire after losing performance against Patriots
Wilson didn’t perform well in 2022, and his struggle with the Patriots appears to have been the last straw for the Jets. Wilson went 9 of 22 against New England, throwing for just 77 yards. The team failed to achieve anything offensively, scoring just three points in a 10-3 loss.
After the game, Wilson was criticized for not taking responsibility for the team’s offensive struggle.
His teammates and head coach thought otherwise. Receiver Garrett Wilson was blunt when asked about the offense, saying, “This shit is not okay.” Head coach Robert Saleh called misconduct “dogs***.”
Two Jets defensemen, Ahmad Gardner and John Franklin-Myers, came under fire after liking tweets critical of Wilson. Both players stated that they liked these tweets by accident.
Even if that’s true, it’s clear that the Jets felt they had seen enough of Wilson. Saleh declined to answer a question about the starting quarterback when asked on Monday, which was the first sign that change was coming.
Wilson said he apologized to his teammates for those comments.
“I had a bad feeling in my stomach,” he said, “ via ESPN.
“It was the only thing I could think about in the last couple of days,” Wilson said. “I wanted to be able to talk to these guys and really do it from the bottom of my heart.”
Zach Wilson’s career is now in limbo
The move discourages Wilson’s future in the NFL. Wilson hasn’t performed well, but most quarterbacks have more time to shine in the NFL. Wilson started in just 20 games. In those games, he has 13 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. Wilson completed 55.6 percent of his passes.
It’s possible Wilson can still contribute to the Jets’ future plans, but that’s unlikely. Judging by the bench, the Jets are unhappy with Wilson’s lack of progress in his second season. If they were still happy with his ability, the Jets might have stayed with Wilson and let him work out his problems on the field. By putting him on the bench, the Jets are showing they don’t trust him this season.
“Is this a small step back? Absolutely,” said Saleh. via ESPN. “But do I think it will be a big leap forward when he gets a chance to reboot himself? Absolutely. So it doesn’t mean hammering a nail in his coffin. Believe me, in the end, it will be a rejuvenated, renewed young man. Understandably, Wilson was not happy with the decision, with Saleh describing his reaction as “Why me? Why now? I want to play”.
Saleh sent another message Wednesday, saying Wilson needed a “reset” but his career with the Jets wasn’t over yet.
Wilson has physical tools. There’s a reason he was chosen second overall in the draft. Because of that, there’s always the possibility that Wilson will fix the ship in the offseason and become the player Jets fans were hoping for when the team drafted him.
But the track record of young quarterbacks who fell into disgrace with his teams, this is not quickly reassuring. If Wilson can’t clean up the mess – both on the field and in his press conferences – his next start could be in another franchise.