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New York Jets’ Zach Wilson Benched Late; Robert Saleh Noncommittal On QB


Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets suffered an Achilles injury against the Buffalo Bills in week 1. The Jets experienced a different kind of quarterback disaster in the rematch on Sunday.

With 2:17 left in the third quarter of the Jets’ 32-6 loss at Highmark Stadium, a woefully ineffective Zach Wilson was benched, paving the way for a potential quarterback switch for their game on Friday against the visiting Miami Dolphins.

After watching the tape of New York’s third straight loss, coach Robert Saleh remained ambiguous about Wilson—a first for this season—stating he would make a decision on Monday. Tim Boyle, a journeyman, could be Saleh’s option after Wilson was replaced with the Jets down 29–6. Or he could call up practice squad veteran Trevor Siemian for a promotion.

The Jets (4-6) have gone from a ruptured tendon to a broken offense in the course of two months.

Saleh stated that he benched Wilson in the hopes that Boyle would ignite things due to the lopsided score. Wilson did, however, complete just 7 of 15 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown with an interception, so this wasn’t an isolated performance. Ever since taking Rodgers’ place in the season opener, the former No. 2 overall draft pick has failed to deliver.

“Like I told Zach on the sideline, it’s not just him,” Saleh said. “It’s easy to point the finger at the quarterback, but it’s pretty easy to see. You’ve got missed protections, you’ve got dropped balls, you’ve got missed routes. Now, obviously, he has to get better. There are things he could’ve done a lot better, but it’s everyone right now.”

The organization plans to replace Rodgers with Wilson in a year or two, so Wilson’s situation could have significant ramifications. Normally, the fate of a No. 2 quarterback isn’t big news.

Wilson’s time in New York may come to an end if the Jets demote him once more. Wilson was the starting quarterback and was benched twice last season.

“Frustrated, but I get it,” Wilson said of Sunday’s benching. “[You] have to score, have to be in games. When it’s consecutive games of just doing nothing on offense, you know you can sit here and say last week we moved the ball, but we’re not scoring. It essentially comes down to you have to score. So when things aren’t getting done, change has to be made, and I understand that.”

Wilson claimed not to know his employment status. He took the blame this season as opposed to the previous one, when he tried to deflect blame in a postgame news conference, which led to his benching.

“We need to take accountability, and that starts with me — and I’m not getting it done,” said Wilson, who didn’t complete a single pass to a wide receiver on Sunday.

Saleh’s choice might change as a result of the shortened week. Boyle or Siemian wouldn’t have the customary amount of practice reps to get ready if he benched Wilson. When asked about Wilson’s performance versus the Bills, Saleh paused briefly.

“I don’t think anyone did anything — the players, coaches, schemes,” the coach said. “It was obviously not good enough. None of it was good.”

The Jets’ offense produced just 155 yards overall, gave up six sacks, had three turnovers, and was 0 for 11 on third downs. At least they broke their touchdown drought after 40 straight drives and 12 quarters with a 9-yard pass to running back Breece Hall. Though it seemed hopeless, Thomas Morstead faked a punt and hit an 18-yard completion. The Jets might never have made it to the end zone if it weren’t for that.

The Jets (4-6) have played 10 games this season and scored nine offensive touchdowns.

In the pregame ritual, the Jets benched Michael Carter, the offense’s only player, and decided to shift O-coordinator Nathaniel Hackett from the field to the booth. It all failed to work.

One of their best players, wide receiver Garrett Wilson, also had a difficult game; he dropped a pass and lost his second fumble of the year. With two catches for nine yards, he finished.

Josh Allen threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, perhaps the worst performance of the season by the usually formidable defense.

It’s difficult to win when all three phases aren’t playing well together, according to Jets cornerback D.J. Reed.

Zach Wilson’s income came from his work. Currently ranked 30th out of 31 quarterbacks, he has thrown six touchdown passes and seven interceptions in his Total QBR (30.7). The offense has a dismal track record in a number of areas, including the red zone and third down.

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