NOVEMBER 12: Before signing with the Rams earlier this week, Wentz again reached back out to the Jets to see if they were interested in his services, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. New York obviously turned him down, which led him to LA and which further underscores Gang Green’s faith in Wilson. Nonetheless, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggests that, if Wilson should underperform in the Jets’ Week 10 matchup with the Raiders, he could lose his starting job.
NOVEMBER 11: Confirming the optimism shown in Wilson by Saleh’s remarks, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports the Jets have no intention of benching the former No. 2 pick “barring a disaster” (subscription required). The team believes Wilson still carries the most upside for the struggling offense amongst their other QB options, so they will move forward in the hopes of progress in the passing game while keeping the door open to a Rodgers comeback.
NOVEMBER 9: Although the prospect of an Aaron Rodgers return late this season continues to be a topic of conversation — largely because of Rodgers’ comments — Zach Wilson remains the Jets’ starter. After a bit of an October uptick, Wilson has reverted to form. But the Jets are not prepared to bench the struggling quarterback.
Robert Saleh has again stood behind the embattled former No. 2 overall pick and said he has not received pressure from Jets management or ownership to stay the course with Wilson. Then again, the third-year HC would be unlikely to admit anything to the contrary.
“No, we’re on the same page with that,” Saleh said, via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini, regarding the organizational approach at quarterback. “So any conspiracy theory that might be out there, we’re on the same page. The knee-jerk reaction to this is to always hit the panic button. … There are a lot of things [Wilson] can do better. He’s doing the best that he can. But, again, he still needs to get better.”
Wilson completed 47% of his passes in an ugly Week 8 win over the Giants, and the Chargers handily dispatched the Jets on Monday night. While the team is 4-4, the Saleh-run defense is once again keeping the team afloat. This is quite familiar territory for the Jets, who twice benched Wilson last season. They operated aggressively this offseason, meeting with Derek Carr and putting a full-court press on an effort to acquire Rodgers. The team succeeded, but the future Hall of Famer’s Week 1 Achilles tear continues to define the season — as should be expected.
The Jets passed on Carson Wentz, who has since signed with the Rams, and were not believed to be interested in Kirk Cousins. Not that an interest in the Vikings passer, who has also since suffered an Achilles tear, would have mattered; Cousins was not expected to waive his no-trade clause. The team also passed on a trade for Josh Dobbs, who has now replaced Cousins in Minnesota. No rumblings of a Jacoby Brissett push emerged, either. Ownership was believed to have shaped the Jets’ effort to bring in a high-profile emergency option, due to the money the organization had already sunk into Rodgers, helping lead the team to its present place.
The Jets’ only outside addition this year has been Trevor Siemian, their brief Sam Darnold backup who has resided as the team’s third-stringer this season. Tim Boyle sits as Wilson’s backup; the ex-Packers, Lions and Bears reserve has not played this season. Saleh benched Wilson when the Jets stood 6-4 last season. He closed last season with a 38.5 QBR figure; that number presently sits at 32.3, ahead of only Bryce Young. The Jets have scored only eight touchdowns this season. Only the 2-14 2020 squad, Cimini adds, and the 1976 team Lou Holtz eventually bailed on were worse through eight games.
Saleh’s lack of options behind Wilson, after the team let Mike White walk in free agency and did not re-sign Joe Flacco, has led to this extended leash for the BYU alum. But more of the same could finally exhaust the head coach’s patience.