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If Saleh Really Believes Wilson Gives Jets “Best Chance To Win”, It’s Time To Find A New QB Before Season Spirals
“He gives us the best chance to win.”
That’s standard coach-speak, nothing out of the ordinary from Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh following his club’s ugly 15-10 loss at home to division “rival” New England on Sunday, the Patriots 15th consecutive win in the series.
However, if Saleh somehow truly believes that his guy Zach Wilson is the quarterback on his roster who gives the Jets their best chance to win games going forward, General Manager Joe Douglas needs to get on the phone ASAP and get a new guy. New York, which had put all its chips on Aaron Rodgers only to see the Hall of Fame bound QB rupture his Achilles on the fourth snap of the season, is now 1-2 and, considering all the public outbursts from players who expected to this to be a competitive season, is in danger of spiraling.
Enough already. What more does Wilson need to put on tape? Until New England backed off the line and played a little too soft when up by two scores in the fourth quarter, the Jets offense produced a grand total of 61 yards, including 28 net passing yards.
That’s awfully hard to do in the modern NFL.
Sure, Wilson took advantage of New England’s largesse—and a fortunate pass interference call in the end zone when Jets receiver Randall Cobb may have embellished a push by cornerback Myles Bryant—to help get New York within 13-10, but the subsequent opportunities to get over the top say everything you need to know about why it’s time to move on from their No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Jets got the ball back three times in the final 2:44, and Wilson proceeded to take a sack for a safety and go 2-for-7 for 30 yards, 29 of which came on a hookup with wide receiver Garrett Wilson in the middle of the field in the final seconds—Zach Wilson was lucky to get back to the line to spike the ball with one second remaining to give himself a Hail Mary shot which might have had a better chance if the elderly Cobb made it into the end zone instead of needing to dive into payturf as the ball slipped off his fingertips.
Nothing epitomized Wilson’s overall lack of understanding of the game than his decision to throw a one-yard pass to lumbering tight end Tyler Conklin on 4th-and-10 from his own 45-yard line with 1:26 remaining. After the game, Wilson made a feeble attempt to explain the pass after the game by saying that Conklin needed to make one guy miss to get the first down.
You could argue with the play call, among the many in-game strategies from Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, that had Conklin running a route so short of the sticks on such a crucial fourth down, but the ball was ultimately in Wilson’s hands.
For anyone looking to excuse such a disgraceful performance due to the inclement weather from Tropical Storm Ophelia, well, the Patriots played under the same conditions and managed to make a few plays to extend drives, taking advantage of a busted Jets coverage to finish off one with a 58-yard touchdown to tight end Pharoah Brown. Furthermore, New England’s defense was banged up, starting the game minus three cornerbacks and then losing two linemen during the contest. Safety Tony Adams was New York’s sole missing defensive starter.
The bottom line is that the Jets’ staff, from Saleh to Hackett, simply do not trust Wilson enough to win games no matter who they play against. That’s why every game starts off with the same conservative orthodoxy that goes nowhere—the Vikings and Bengals (who play on Monday night) are the only other teams that have yet to score this season in the first quarter. In the first three quarters, the Jets handed off ten times—mostly into loaded boxes (I could have sworn New England was playing with 14 men on the field given how many unblocked bodies crowded the line)--on their 12 1st-and-10s; they gained 19 yards. On the second snap of the game, Wilson CHECKED INTO a Breece Hall run that lost six yards.
Maybe such backwards game plans were for good reason. On the few instances where Wilson was given an early-down pass call, he looked unsure of himself. Though New England’s coverage was outstanding for most of the day, the CBS broadcasters noted several opportunities that Wilson either missed or was late to throw. All three of his sacks taken, including the safety where Patriots edge rusher Matthew Judon bulled tackle Mekhi Becton into Wilson, were avoidable.
Wilson may have been able to play turnover-free and others (coaching, o-line, receivers, etc.) share culpability, but he was most responsible for the anemic offensive output nonetheless.
Wilson is in Year 3, the same as Jones, who was selected 13 slots after him in the 2021 Draft. I’d argue that Wilson gets to play this season with more talent, certainly superior to either of his other two supporting casts. Yet all the stats, mainstream and advanced, point in Jones’ favor—heavily--and it’s not like New England is going anywhere with him either.
The fan base can’t take this anymore. Every time the cameras showed Wilson running out onto the field in the second half, my blood pressure started to boil. I actually wondered how much worse QB2 Tim Boyle could have been, and I’m well aware that he stinks too.
According to Saleh, Wilson will get all the starter’s reps this coming week in preparation for defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City on Sunday night. If you thought the MetLife Stadium crowd was surly on Sunday, wait until they have a whole day of tailgating before a possible rout.
Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer reported that unemployed QBs Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan both contacted the Jets following Rodgers’ injury, but the club wasn’t interested. The folks at One Jets Drive ought to rethink that, or at least find someone else who can give the team a better chance to win.
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