It was a rollercoaster for 72 hours for Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.
After the Jets’ 10-3 loss to the Patriots on Sunday, Wilson failed take responsibility for the team’s lack of offensive performance at the post-match press conference. The next day, Jets coach Robert Saleh said he was considering a switch to the starting quarterback position.
When the Jets entered the facility on Wednesday morning, Saleh has made the move official as the team kicks off Mike White’s match against the Bears on Sunday. Not only will Wilson not start against the Bears, he won’t even be active as Joe Flacco, who has started three games this season, will be White’s backup.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m surprised because I wasn’t doing my job,” Wilson told reporters. “Of course I wouldn’t like to agree with the decision and everything else, but it comes down to me having to play better.
“You know what, it’s deserved. The way I handled the situation was not right. I need to be a better player and a better leader for these guys.
“I have the opportunity to turn the page here as a player and leader to take a step forward and be here 100 per cent for my guys and be able to handle situations properly.”
While Saleh said Wilson didn’t lose his job due to lack of accountability after the loss to the Patriots, it certainly didn’t help. After the game, Wilson was asked if he felt like he let down defense at all, and his answer was “no, no” after completing 9 of 22 passes for 77 yards and zero touchdowns.
While his teammates publicly expressed support for Wilson, on Twitter, defenseman John Franklin-Myers and defenseman Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner liked tweets that were critical of the sophomore quarterback’s comment. Both Franklin-Myers and Gardner said they accidentally liked the tweets.
Then there were Garrett Wilson’s comments after the Patriots game when he said “sh*t’s not right” and “this sh*t won’t fly” when talking about the offense. Saleh himself was also critical when he said the Jets’ offensive performance in which they only gained 103 yards and two yard-offs was “sh*t”.
Wilson addressed the team about his comments on Wednesday, but did not specify what was said.
“I didn’t realize what I said,” said Wilson. “I let my emotions take over me.
“It almost took a while as we were getting ready and leaving and my dad called me and said, ‘Brother, what are you doing? I didn’t realize it. I can’t let my emotions take over me.”
The Jets selected Wilson with the number two overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, as he was considered the franchise’s point guard for many years. But inconsistent play and injuries continued throughout Wilson’s tenure with the Jets.
Last season, Wilson suffered an MCL injury which caused him to miss four games. Then that year, during the preseason opener against the Eagles, Wilson injured his meniscus and suffered a bone bruise after trying to play. He missed seven weeks and the first three games of the regular season.
When Wilson played, he struggled with mechanics and accuracy, throwing for 3,613 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions in 20 games. Despite the Jets’ 5–2 record in the games Wilson started, he threw for 1,279 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.
“Of course he’s going to be frustrated,” Saleh said of Wilson. “I’m not going to get up and lie and say, ‘Hey, that was a party.’ He just has the right mindset.
“You talk to him every day and you see how important it is, and sometimes he wears it on his sleeve, but at the same time, the guy works hard. He works as hard as everyone else. I know we have a great plan for him in terms of training and what we’re trying to achieve, and I know he’s going to att*ck him.
With Wilson now the Jets’ third quarterback for at least this week, he will be working as the scouting team’s quarterback. This means he will try to imitate Bears quarterback Justin Fields as the team prepares to play.
The third-row quarterback usually doesn’t do as many reps as the first and second row because these are the two players who will be in uniform each week. The team didn’t completely drop Wilson just because he is no longer a starter and is not a current substitute.
We hope Wilson will return as the team’s starter at some point this season. They treat this analysis as a kind of “temporary reset” for Wilson, as they want him to improve various aspects of his game before becoming a starter again.
“I really believe he’s interested in me and the team,” Wilson said of Saleh and the Jets organization. “He’s doing an amazing job doing it.
“I’m looking forward to the future and this event, how I can grow as a person, as a leader, as a teammate, to be there for my guys and to cope in the right way. It will be a good opportunity, a humbling opportunity to keep your head down and work harder and just be here for this team.
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