From bench to backup: Jets’ Wilson is now QB2

FLOURHAM PARK, NJ — Quarterback Zach Wilson will be in uniform on Sunday for the first time in four weeks — as a backup to the New York Jets.

Wilson, on November 23 in favor of Mike White, will replace Joe Flacco as the #2 starting quarterback in Sunday’s pivotal game against the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium.

Coach Robert Saleh’s decision, announced Wednesday, is significant because White is dealing with a rib injury. Saleh said he was expected to start the match, although he had limited training time on Wednesday. The Jets did not disclose the exact nature of the injury.

White’s injury, coupled with Flacco’s ineffective relief outing on Sunday in a 20-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills, appeared to have opened the door for Wilson’s elevation, though Saleh called it a “coincidence.”

Wilson, who drafted No. 2 in 2021, has spent the past three weeks as the scout’s quarterback during the week and is inactive on Sundays. Gates described the bench as a “reset,” saying they wanted him to hone his basics without the stress of having to prepare for an opponent.

“Zach was doing a great job,” Saleh said. “He’s been deliberate in his approach over the past three weeks. He’s been holding himself accountable in terms of how he’s wanted to attack training, how operational he’s been, and offense our defense, which I think is a very good defense against him. He’s been working on all the different things we’ve been asking him to achieve.”

Saleh has confirmed in recent weeks that he would like to play Wilson again before the end of the season, but the window is closing. In all likelihood, the Jets (7-6) will continue with White unless they fall out of contention. Saleh said he takes it week after week. White is only 1-2 as a starter, but the offense averages 420 yards and 22 points per game with him at quarterback. She averaged just 287 yards and 21 points with Wilson, who won five out of seven starts.

“He’s a very talented young man — a very talented young man,” Salih said of Wilson. “We’re developing guys, and I’ve said it before: This is Mike White’s opportunity, and he attacks the heck of it. He’s doing a great job with it.

“But at the same time, we have to make sure that we do everything we can to develop Zack into a place that we know he can get to.”

White was mauled by the Bills’ pass rush, forcing him out of the game on two occasions. Flacco came off the bench for a total of seven shots, and it wasn’t pretty. he fumbled a tape sack and completed only one of three passes for 1 yard.

White, after a medical evaluation that included x-rays, ended the game. After that, he was taken by ambulance to a hospital in the Buffalo area for precautionary check-ups. He told reporters on Monday that he felt good enough to start facing the Lions.

“We are still working as if he is playing this week,” Saleh said Wednesday.

For Flacco, 37, a former Super Bowl MVP with the Baltimore Ravens, this is the second time this season he’s been demoted to the third string. It also happened in October, when the Jets decided to make White QB2 behind Wilson.

It was a strange year for Flacco, who started the first three games (1-2) while Wilson recovered from preseason knee surgery.

Wilson was benched after a 77-yard passing performance in a 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots, a game in which he completed only nine of 22 passes.

He created a firestorm in his post-game press conference, refusing to take responsibility for the poor performance due to the offense. The sources said that this angered some of the players and may have taken into account Saleh’s decision to sit with him. A few days later, Wilson apologized for his post-game comments.

In other injury developments, Saleh said, the Jets may be without stellar defensive tackle Quinn Williams (calf), who has not trained and is still considered 50-50 to play. Wide receiver Corey Davis (concussion) hasn’t practiced either, Saleh said, but he’s “on goal” to play Sunday.

#bench #backup #Jets #Wilson #QB2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *