The New York Jets aren’t giving up on their No. 2 overall pick from a season ago, quarterback Zach Wilson, despite reports and rumors after a rocky sophomore season.
The Jets have already said that Mike White will be the starting quarterback in the Jets’ season finale on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. The Jets, 7-9 after five straight losses, are out of the playoffs.
Head coach Robert Saleh spoke to reporters Wednesday and said Wilson’s talent is not the problem.
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«Zach has all the talent in the world and we have all the confidence in the world in him,» Saleh said, via ESPN. «It’s just, like I said, a reset. We’re going to fight him. We will. Through hell or high water, we’re going to figure out how to get him to where we know he can be.»
Wilson still has two guaranteed years left on his $9.3 million rookie contract.
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And considering that general manager Joe Douglas selected Wilson out of BYU and built the entire roster around him, New York isn’t going to give up on Wilson that quickly.
Saleh wants Wilson to clear his head and restart.
«Go read a book, go do something. Get away from this game, just restart,» Saleh said. «I think the greatest gift you can give yourself as a human being is to discover what is important to you. What do you value and how can you stick to those values day in and day out?
«That is the greatest gift you can give yourself, is to discover yourself.»
Wilson’s season started off on the wrong foot. He suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss three games. As the team achieved success, going 6-4 in its first 10 games, Wilson was benched after a brutal performance against the New England Patriots in which he threw for 77 yards with a completion percentage of . 40.9.
After that game, when asked if he and the offense let the defense down after he allowed just three points, Wilson simply replied, «No.»
Reports surfaced that teammates didn’t like how Wilson answered that question. The Jets decided to start white in the next game. White passed for 315 yards with three touchdowns in torrential rain against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium, and the Jets continued with White behind center.
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White lost his next two games, though they were close games against playoff teams: the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills.
When White got hurt against the Bills, Wilson returned to the starting job, only to lose it again after losing to the Detroit Lions at home. Wilson passed for 317 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, though he completed just 51.4% of his passes.
While producing another stat sheet flop and scoring against the Jacksonville Jaguars in another must-win home game, Wilson was benched midway through the game by fourth member Chris Streveler, who moved the offense more than Wilson did in your limited time.
White made his final start against the Seattle Seahawks on the road on Sunday, and he had his worst day of the season. He passed for 240 yards with two interceptions, no touchdowns and a 47.4 quarterback rating.
White and veteran backup Joe Flacco are free agents this offseason, so many believe the Jets will look to the quarterback market to add someone who could inherit the young offense and make Douglas’ vision come to life.
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Ultimately, though, Wilson will be on the depth chart, and the Jets’ coaching staff will continue to function as if he’s the starter next season.
«[He needs to] keep working,» offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said. «He’s a New York Jet and that’s not going to change. That’s my mindset.»
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Through two seasons, Wilson is 8-14 (5-4 in 2022) with a 55.2 completion percentage and 15 touchdown passes to 18 interceptions in 22 games.