The New York Jets find themselves entangled in an unexpected quarterback dilemma, diverging from the norm. The focal point of this predicament is Zach Wilson and his contemplation of reclaiming his former starting position.
With Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans looming, Coach Robert Saleh refrained from designating a starting quarterback among Wilson, Tim Boyle, and Trevor Siemian. None of them has demonstrated stellar performance following Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles tendon injury.
The situation was further complicated by a report from The Athletic suggesting a leaning towards Wilson, coupled with his purported reluctance due to perceived injury risks. Saleh vehemently denied this claim, asserting that Wilson approached him on Monday, expressing a keen desire to start. Whether Wilson’s initiative was prompted by the report remains uncertain.
Saleh emphasized, “If he were reluctant to play, guys, he wouldn’t be here.” He acknowledged Wilson’s eagerness to play, asserting that the young quarterback believes he is the best for the team. However, Saleh remains indecisive about the starting lineup.
This twist in the narrative is unusual for a team that has grappled with quarterback instability for years. The season initially revolved around Rodgers, but Wilson took the reins after Rodgers’ Week 1 injury. Wilson was later benched after nine starts in favor of Boyle, who was subsequently replaced by Siemian in the latest loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
With a five-game losing streak and a mere 45 points scored during this slump, the Jets are in dire straits. Saleh is likely to return to Wilson, but the delay in the decision raises eyebrows. Saleh might be gauging the locker room sentiment before promoting a player perceived as hesitant about the role.
In a radio interview, Saleh acknowledged the possibility of Wilson making a comment about reluctance, which could have been leaked. He emphasized making judgments based on direct conversations with players.
Wilson was drafted second in 2021, has faced three benchings in his career, and is likely to be released after the season. Although he is guaranteed money in 2024, a significant injury could impact his market value. Saleh acknowledges concerns about Wilson’s mental state after facing repeated benchings but believes Wilson is determined to be on the field.
Publicly, Wilson accepted his demotion without complaint, but Saleh revealed he has been “very upset” about not playing. The Jets have cycled through four quarterbacks for the second consecutive year under Saleh. If Siemian starts, it will mark the first time since 1989 that the Jets have started four quarterbacks in a season.
Rodgers, despite not ruling out a return, is a long shot to play, especially with the Jets nearing mathematical elimination from the playoffs. In injury news, tight end C.J. Uzomah is heading to injured reserve with a knee injury and is expected to miss the remaining five games.