Could Zach Wilson be benched?
One day after a dismal offensive performance, New York Jets coach Robert Saleh told the media Monday afternoon that he’s not committed to the team’s second-year quarterback starting in next week’s game against the Chicago Bears.
“We all have to be able to sit back and just look at what’s best for the organization and this team,” Saleh said, according to SNY.tv. “It’s not all about the quarterback, there’s a lot of things we can do better as coaches, the O-line, receivers, running backs, tight ends, play-caller, defense, special teams, everybody.
“I get it where everyone looks at the quarterback and just wants to throw everything on him. It’s not always about the quarterback. But there’s also an evaluation process to make sure that we’re doing what’s best for the organization and that’s every position; offense, defense, and special teams.”
Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft out of BYU, completed just 9 of 22 passes for 77 yards in a 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, a game in which the winning points — an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown — came with five seconds remaining.
He finished the game with a QB rating of 50.8.
In the second half, the Jets had just two yards of offense and punted the ball seven times.
“Everything needs to be evaluated. When you put up 100 yards of offense, I don’t care how good New England is, and they are good, it’s unacceptable. That’s not NFL football. Everything is being talked about,” Saleh said.
It’s the second poor performance for Wilson in three weeks against the Patriots — he threw three costly interceptions in a 22-17 loss to New England in Week 8.
Wilson’s lack of accountability for his struggles has come into question — that’s a point that Saleh acknowledged on Monday. After the game, that speculation was fueled after Wilson responded with a simple “No” in the postgame press conference when asked if he felt he let the Jets’ defense down.
“One of the major responsibilities that comes with the franchise quarterback position is taking every bullet there is to take for a loss — even sometimes when it is not your fault. It’s called accountability. Teammates recognize real,” the New York Post’s Steve Serby wrote after the game.
This all comes with the Jets in the middle of a playoff race — New York is 6-4 and tied for last in the AFC East, though just a game out of first and squarely in position to either contend for a wild card spot or the division crown.
In seven starts this season, Wilson has completed 55.6% of his passes for 1,279 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.
He currently ranks 23rd in ESPN’s QBR ratings, at 45.3.
“So to recap: Saleh puts Wilson on notice by not committing to him as the starter. At the very least, he’s sending a message to Wilson that he needs to get it together. The kid gloves are off,” ESPN’s Rich Cimini wrote.
Mike White has backed up Wilson in recent weeks, while veteran Joe Flacco started the first three games when Wilson was out with a knee injury.
“When you play the position that gets the most attention and by far the most money, and is the de facto leader of the roster, it comes with certain responsibilities. First and foremost: accountability,” Yahoo Sports’ Shalise Manza Young wrote about Wilson, prior to Saleh’s press conference Monday.
“Wilson showed none Sunday. Not just to fans, but more importantly to the very men he’s supposed to be leading. And it wasn’t like he was stellar and the receivers let him down. Wilson was bad; he’s been bad. You could make the argument he’s the worst starting QB in the league this season.”