After days of speculation, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh has named Zach Wilson as the starting quarterback for their Week 14 matchup against the Houston Texans. This comes just a few weeks after Saleh had benched the struggling second-year player.
Saleh Made the Announcement on Wednesday
On Wednesday afternoon, Saleh told reporters that Wilson would be back under center on Sunday. The coach said the young quarterback had been asking for the ball earlier in the week and seemed “fired up” about getting another shot after his brief demotion.
“If he was reluctant to play, guys, he wouldn’t be here,” Saleh responded when questioned about rumors that Wilson was hesitant about returning as the starter.
In explaining the decision, Saleh said he and his staff feel Wilson presents the best opportunity for the team to win games at this point.
Wilson Wasn’t Meant to Start This Season
The Jets have struggled to find stability at the quarterback position since veteran Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending injury on just the fourth play of the year. Wilson ended up being pushed into the starting role earlier than the team wanted because they had no better options.
The results have been underwhelming for both Wilson and the Jets. The young quarterback is being asked to fill a role beyond his current capabilities while trying to adjust to the NFL. His confidence seems to drain away more and more each week, not unlike a health meter in a video game.
Struggles Led to QB Carousel Spinning Out of Control
The team’s quarterback drama escalated during an ugly 32-6 loss to the division rival Buffalo Bills in Week 12. Saleh pulled Wilson in the third quarter of the blowout and put backup Tim Boyle under center. In the next two weeks, Boyle struggled mightily as the starter. However, Saleh stuck with him until benching the journeyman in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to Atlanta in favor of third-stringer Trevor Siemian.
By Tuesday, the Jets had moved on from Boyle entirely, signing veteran backup Brett Rypien as their new QB2 option. But Saleh refused to name a starter for Sunday’s game against Houston, furthering the chaos under center.
Jets Have Struggled to Find an Answer at QB
With Rodgers out for the year, the Jets’ quarterback situation has essentially been a spinning carousel of mediocrity in 2022. They entered the season hoping Wilson could develop in a backup role before taking over the reins in 2023 or 2024. Instead, he was forced into starting duties for which he wasn’t adequately prepared.
In 10 starts, Wilson has completed just 55% of his passes with 4 touchdowns compared to 5 interceptions. He’s looked overwhelmed for long stretches and made too many poor decisions for a quarterback expected to be a franchise savior after getting selected 2nd overall in 2021.
The likes of Joe Flacco, Mike White, Chris Streveler, and now Boyle and Siemian have all taken snaps without providing any real answers either. It’s been a merry-go-round of disappointment that has left Jets fans feeling dizzy and ready to pack up and go home.
Wilson Gets Another Chance to Prove Himself
By naming Wilson the starter again, Saleh is giving the young quarterback an opportunity to show growth in his development. Jets fans are surely hoping their team’s cycle of quarterback futility may finally be ready to stop spinning out of control.
But if Wilson continues struggling and New York keeps losing games, Saleh may have no choice but to turn the reins over to someone else. That likely won’t sit well with Jets ownership or the fanbase that was promised Wilson would be a franchise-changing talent after being drafted so highly.
For better or worse, Zach Wilson will be behind center when the Jets take on the Texans at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. The team’s future is in his hands. After all the drama of New York’s QB carousel this season, Wilson must play well enough to convince Saleh and the Jets he can handle the ride.