warning: This isn’t a popular take, and it’s not something you want to put under your tree or in your stocking for Christmas.
The Jets need Zach Wilson as quarterback for the final two games of the season.
A near-death home loss to the Jaguars 19-3 on Thursday night effectively ruled the Jets out of the playoffs. Even if they aren’t mathematically eliminated this weekend, their playoff chances are “tremendous,” head coach Robert Saleh admitted Friday.
So what do the Jets have to play for other than to help determine Wilson’s future in the final two games?
Finding out more about Wilson and finding out if the 2021 No. 2 overall draft pick is really a quarterback for the franchise was, after all, one of the Jets’ missions this season. His rookie season has been politely uneven, and the Jets needed to know how much he would progress in his second season.
No one at the Jets is willing to admit it, but the reality is that Wilson hasn’t shown any clear signs of progress from his first year to his second, and Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence said Thursday that he’s one of them. It was more obvious than just seeing how much progress was made…same period.
Saleh is in an impossible situation because he wants to win the game. He has seen a 7-4 start evaporate to his 7-8 thanks to a 0-4 freefall. And it would be foolish to make the argument that Wilson gives the Jets a better chance of winning than White.
That puts Saleh in the difficult and delicate position of deciding whether winning a match is important in the next two weeks or trying to find out more about Wilson.
And it’s very likely.
Saleh dropped breadcrumbs on Friday, whether it was unwitting or calculated, and Wilson’s confidence, also undermined by his own admission, that he could be shut down for the season. suggested.
The head coach swore after Thursday night’s game that he “didn’t see his last game” and said he “has some cons” on Friday when he lost a Wilson-like confidence.
“You have to think about the player and where he is and whether you’re doing more damage or helping him,” Saleh said. “It’s the best decision for the team.” We just want to make sure we’re getting down and not just saying, “Hey, let’s get this guy’s rep just to get this guy’s rep.”
That sounded like a strong hint that Wilson was over, at least in 2022.
But I do believe Surrey should start Wilson against the Seahawks starting Sunday in Seattle — unless they’re already convinced the organization has seen enough of him.
I’m not sure I would do the same if the next game was at home. Because Jets fans have run out on Wilson to the point where he gets booed during pregame warmups. But with the Jets gearing up for his two remaining games, his life will be much more manageable psychologically.
Asked Friday if he still believed Wilson was his “future quarterback,” Surrey danced around the question.
“I have confidence in everyone,” he said. It may not be the year, but that doesn’t mean next year won’t be their year.”
Another serious hint that Wilson is done with this season.
Jets offensive coordinator Mike Ruffler asked Friday what he knew more about Wilson through the 16 weeks of this season than he did before the season.
“He’s grown a lot in the last two years,” claimed LaFleur. “He’s faced more adversity than he’s probably ever had in his life, and he keeps showing up at work looking for ways to get better. I believe he’s a better quarterback.” I know it’s not shown.”
Asked if Wilson’s biggest problem was physical or mental, Saleh said: For Zach, it doesn’t take long to flip. All he needs is a series of consecutive games, quarters, plays, putting together good football. Once in the groove, everything clicks and starts moving fast. ”
The only way Sale and the Jets will find out is by facing Wilson in the final two games. Strangely, they know more about White, who has started just six games in the last two years, than Wilson, who has started 22.
Wilson is the player they need to make the most decisive decisions. So play him the last two games. What more do the Jets have to lose?
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