Zach Wilson is still ‘our quarterback’ after Jets loss to Pats
FLORHAM PARK, NJ — The New York Jets they don’t plan to change quarterbacks, not this week, not for the rest of the season.
Zach Wilson received a strong vote of confidence Monday from coach Robert Saleh, who said he has “full faith” in the second-year quarterback despite three “crap” interceptions in Sunday’s game. Loss 22-17 to the New England Patriots.
Saleh said he plans to ride Wilson throughout, barring injury. “Right,” Saleh said. “He’s our quarterback.”
Wilson, selected second overall in 2021, has never been benched despite many tough performances in 18 career starts. He is 24th out of 31 pass rushers in Total QBR (41.8). After going three games without a loss, he imploded against the Patriots, which ended the Jets’ four-game winning streak.
Saleh tried to be positive, saying Wilson is one of the reasons the Jets are a surprising 5-3.
“Nobody had five wins on us at this point to start the season, and Zach is a big part of that,” he said.
“He has improved a lot,” Saleh added. “We hope he continues to get better. I hope everything is clean? No, every quarterback has his days, but he’s our quarterback because we think he’s going to get better and continue to show why he was the No. 2 pick.”
Wilson has a maddening tendency to make mistakes when under duress, trying to create something out of nothing. All three interceptions came on plays where he was under pressure from a pass rusher. He admitted after the game: “Sometimes you sit there and ask yourself, ‘Why did I do that?'”
Invoking a theme from last season, Saleh said Wilson needs to understand that “boring” can be good, meaning making a check or throwing the ball out of bounds.
“There’s a simple reminder: It’s okay to be bored, and just remember you’ve got a bunch of guys in the locker room who are also pretty good at football and they’ve picked you up,” he said.
Saleh said Wilson is “hustling” but quickly retracted that word.
“I want to make sure I say it right: he’s a young man who wants to prove himself,” the coach said. “To be honest with you, you can only prove your worth by executing and doing your job to the best of your ability.”
Wilson has completed just 54.9% of his passes, with three touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s averaging just 210 yards per game, which was a boost from his career-high 355 yards against the Patriots. In three of the four wins, he was essentially a game manager, relying on the running game and defense.
Saleh may have inadvertently stirred up potential controversy by elevating himself Mike White in 2nd place before Sunday’s game, relegated Joe Flacco at No. 3. The move is permanent, Saleh said, explaining that “we have to know what we have in Mike.”
White will have more training repetitions as the second strand, which means an opportunity to develop his game. He’s also a fan favorite, meaning the home crowd could be singing for him if Wilson fights the Buffalo Bills.
“Yeah, that’s right, those (interceptions) can’t happen,” tight end CJ Uzomah said “He knows that, we know that as a team. At the same time, he made good decisions. He had really good balls. He did the right things. We, as an offense, didn’t guard properly, we did.” He doesn’t run the right tracks well. It always comes back to the quarterback and he has to carry that burden, but our job is to make sure he knows he’s not a one-man team.”
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