The Jets need to start Zack Wilson the rest of the season to make a final decision

Warning: This wouldn’t be common, and it’s not what you want for Christmas under your tree or in your stocking.

Jets should start Zach Wilson at quarterback for the last two games of the season — even if Mike White is medically cleared to play with cracked ribs.

A moribund 19-3 loss at home to the Jaguars on Thursday night essentially eliminated the Jets from the playoffs. Even if they are not mathematically eliminated this weekend, their playoff chances are “far off,” head coach Robert Saleh said Friday.

In that case, what do the Jets have to play other than use the last two games to help shape a future decision on Wilson?

Finding out more about Wilson and whether the 2021 No. 2 overall draft pick is really the quarterback for the franchise was, after all, one of the tasks this season for the Jets. His rookie season was uneven, to be polite, and the Jets had to see how far he was going in his sophomore season.

Although no one on the Jets wants to admit it, the truth is that Wilson hasn’t shown tangible signs of advancing from year one to year two, and none was more evident than watching Thursday just how far Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence has come. that. same time period.

New York Jets quarterback Zack Wilson (2) warms up before a game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets on Oct. 24, 2021, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
The Jets’ Zack Wilson should get more reps before the Jets season is over.
Farid Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Saleh is in an impossible situation because he wants – needs – to win matches. He watched a 7-4 start evaporate to a 7-8 thanks to a free-falling 0-4. And to prove that the argument that Wilson gives the Jets a better chance of winning than White is folly.

This leaves Saleh in the difficult and sore spot of deciding whether it is important to win matches in the next two weeks or try to learn more about Wilson… unless Saleh and the Jets think they know enough and have seen enough.

And this is very possible.

Saleh, whether inadvertently or calculatedly, dropped breadcrumbs on Friday hinting that Wilson — whose confidence has been damaged, even by his own admission — might be shut down for the season.

The coach went from vowing after the game Thursday night, “We haven’t seen the last of it,” to saying Friday that “there are also downsides” to playing someone like Wilson when his confidence drops.

“You have to think about the player, where they are and whether you’re doing more damage or you’re helping them,” Saleh said. “You just want to make sure you’re making the best decisions for the team and not just say, ‘Hey, let’s just get reps on this guy, just to get reps on this guy. ‘” “”

This seemed like a strong hint that Wilson is finished – at least for 2022.

But I think Saleh should start Wilson against the Seahawks a week later on Sunday in Seattle — unless the organization is already convinced they’ve seen enough of him.

I don’t know I would have the same situation if the next game was at home, because Jets fans are so finished with Wilson, it got to the point that he was booed during pregame warmups. But the Jets are on their way to the last two games, which will make life much easier for him psychologically.

New York Post illustration

Asked Friday if he still thinks Wilson is the “quarterback of the future,” Saleh danced around the question.

He said, “I have confidence in all of our men.” “I just feel like every year there’s a kid who’s just struggling, everyone wants to quit, and this may not be their year, but that doesn’t mean next year can’t be their year.”

Another serious hint that Wilson is finished for the season.

Asked by Jets offensive coordinator Mike Lafleur on Friday what he knows more about Wilson during the 16 weeks of this season than he did before the season, he said, “He’s flexible.”

“He’s grown a lot in the last couple of years,” insisted Lafleur. “He’s faced more adversity than he has probably faced in his entire life, and he keeps showing up to work looking for ways to get better. I think he’s a better quarterback. I know he doesn’t show up.”

Asked whether Wilson’s biggest problem was physical or psychological, Saleh said, “I think it’s self-confidence. For Zach, and it won’t take long to flip it. He just needs a good streak of consecutive games, quarters, plays, and putting together a good football.” And once you get into a groove, everything starts clicking and moving faster.”

The only way Saleh and the Jets will find that is by playing Wilson in their last two matches. In a strange way, they know more about White, who has started only six games in the past two years, than they do about Wilson, who has started 22 games.

Wilson is the player they need to make the most accurate decision about. So, play the last two games with him. What more do the planes have to lose?

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