New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh made the obvious call on Wednesday to bench struggling quarterback Zach Wilson ahead of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. The 2021 No. 2 overall draft pick has also been deactivated, and you have to wonder what his future in New York is.
“The young man needs a reset,” said Saleh. “There’s some basic fundamental things that have gotten really out of whack for him.”
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) November 23, 2022
Why Did Jets Bench Quarterback Zach Wilson?
The benching comes on the heels of last week’s poor performance by the Jets offense, where Wilson refused to accept responsibility for the unit’s results.
Wilson had one of the worst games of any quarterback this season. He completed only 5 of 16 passes (31 percent) when he wasn’t pressured — the league’s lowest percentage, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Breaking: During a team meeting minutes ago, Jets players were informed that Zach Wilson is not starting Sunday's game vs. the Chicago Bears, sources tell ESPN.
Wilson — who had a 5-2 record as a starting QB this season, with both losses coming vs. the Pats — is being benched. pic.twitter.com/fdl3mBmIHq
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 23, 2022
The Jets are 6-4 and ranked 13th in overall DVOA. But that’s strictly on the back of their defense, sixth in defensive DVOA. The offense is 20th in DVOA and Wilson is 23rd in DYAR, DVOA and 28th in EYds among quarterbacks.
Saleh said the team isn’t giving up on Wilson, but it is clear that he and the coaching staff are not pleased with the young signal caller’s performance.
Despite taking Wilson second overall in 2021, the team’s defense is championship-caliber, and in the NFL you can’t punt seasons away for the sake of quarterback development. The Jets have a winnable game against the Bears and can improve to 7-4.
They could’ve been looking at 9-3 had they won last week against the Patriots, a game where the Jets defense didn’t allow an offensive touchdown.
“Let’s call it like it is: We have to be better in the passing game if we want to be where we want to be at,” wide receiver Garrett Wilson said after the Patriots loss. “And we know we can be there, that’s the most frustrating part. We don’t have to be in games like this. They didn’t even score on offense, and we lost the game. Me, personally, I think we have to take it for what it is. We got our ass beat on offense, and the results showed.”
Who Will Start For New York Jets In Place Of Zach Wilson?
Mike White will be the starter on Sunday and veteran Joe Flacco will serve as the backup. Saleh and the Jets will likely keep things simple. The Bears are ranked 30th in DVOA, 30th defending the pass and 25th defending the run. This shouldn’t be too complicated.
Unfortunately for Wilson, his off-field exploits have garnered more positive attention than his play on the field. His ex-college wide receiver and ex-girlfriend started dating, and he was rumored to be hooking up with his mother’s friends. It’s all a mess.
Playing NFL quarterback isn’t easy. Playing NFL quarterback in New York is extremely difficult. Looks like, as Saleh said, this young man needs to reset and get back to basics. The team saw talent in him, which is why he was drafted second overall.
He needs to prioritize things and make football and playing quarterback his main thing. It will be interesting to see how he engages with his teammates on the sideline this Sunday while inactive. That will tell a lot as to how he will approach being a professional going forward.