As the Jets face a franchise QB decision, Zach Wilson may be getting his last chance
Perhaps the decision was rigged by the new york jets. Maybe it was just a remarkable coincidence of time and the quarterback’s health. mike whiteribs. Or maybe zach wilson He responded appropriately to his first NFL bench and had some of the best practices of his life in the past two weeks.
The reasons don’t really matter. Because the Jets’ decision on Friday… put Wilson back in the starting lineup – He got into this situation the moment he went to the bench. Head coach Robert Saleh telegraphed the move repeatedly because he knows what everyone else within the organization knows: A major decision must be made in the offseason at quarterback. And the only way to do that with confidence is for Wilson to get one more chance.
That may not be the popular move, but it’s the right one. Because as much as it seems like nothing has changed in the matrix surrounding Wilson, that’s not really true. This is the first time he’s been benched in the NFL. What he does with another opportunity will say a lot about his viability in the future.
No one should fool themselves that this is real by addressing Sunday’s match against Detroit Lions. A significant part of Wilson’s future is at stake now. Yes, he was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, but that line of credit is drying up fast. The team around him is improving rapidly and should be prepared to take a big step forward this offseason. The Jets need to know if Wilson can be a part of this or if it’s time to start making contingency plans.
Those designs will have a lot to do with how Wilson ends the season. And yes, it’s fair to suspect that he’ll likely start past the Detroit game, unless his return to the field is so monumentally bad that he risks a locker room riot. But if he is mediocre? He’ll likely start over, simply out of a need to get as much data as possible before the offseason.
That might not be the best decision for a playoff runBut there’s an overarching problem that has far bigger implications than how 2022 ends. The Jets’ talent and cohesion are growing and changing in ways that are poised to relegate Wilson to a much smaller part of the future or potentially eliminate him. completely. The upcoming offseason will have a lot to do with it.
But general manager Joe Douglas and the coaching staff first need to know how Wilson has responded in recent weeks. Not only the bench, but also the knowledge that the locker room rallied around White instantly. If Wilson didn’t realize his Jets career was on the line before he was benched, he certainly must understand now. Everything about how the offense has looked and how his offensive teammates have reacted should tell him everything he needed to know.
And let’s be honest, if Wilson can’t get at least some traction against a Lions defense that is opportunistic at best and often just plain bad, then he’s in major trouble. That’s why it’s so easy to believe conspiracy theories that maybe the Jets refused to punt White for this game because he represents Wilson’s last-best chance to establish himself. In fact, when Wilson was benched and you looked at the schedule, the most sensible place to insert him as a starter would be this week, when Detroit heads to MetLife Stadium.
There just won’t be an easier defense in a friendlier environment the rest of the way. And in some ways, that could help cement the mindset of the Jets’ front office, which undoubtedly knows that a critical miss by Wilson against the Lions is the first step in paving the quarterback hunt this offseason.
In a way, this is all shaping up to be a scenario we saw just a few years ago with the tennessee titans. That franchise began a lengthy turnaround after drafting No. 2 overall Marcus Mariota in 2015, but was constantly frustrated that Mariota couldn’t take another step in his development. He was always hurt or inconsistent or regressed into bad habits. Finally, after a 2018 that had shown them everything they needed to know, the Titans entered the offseason committed to acquiring a player who could take Mariota’s starting job and keep it. they finally changed to ryan tannehill and, just a few games into the 2019 season, the veteran did just that. He has been Tennessee’s starter ever since.
This is the decision facing the Jets. As much as they appreciate the job Mike White has done, the team will need to bring in someone who has demonstrated the ability to take a starting job permanently. Jimmy Garoppolo he’ll be the sensible connection, given his familiarity with the Jets’ coaching staff. But whether it’s Garoppolo or not, the Jets won’t give up on Wilson’s failure this second time around. They’ll look for another quarterback and give themselves someone capable of breaking into what should be a very good young core in 2023.
That is what is at stake right now. That’s what Sunday’s game against the Lions means for the organization. Either this is the second start for Wilson, or the first step toward the final for him in New York.