By Zack Rosenblatt, Dianna Russini and Jeff Howe
The New York Jets are gearing up for another quarterback change, but their top pick is hesitant to take on the role. According to multiple team sources on Monday, the Jets are leaning towards reinstating Zach Wilson as the starting quarterback, but Wilson is showing reluctance to step back into the position.
The Jets, who currently hold a 4-8 record, have not made a final decision on who will start at quarterback against the Houston Texans on Sunday. They are hoping that Wilson will reconsider. A source familiar with Wilson’s thinking mentioned that if the Jets were to directly ask Wilson to start, he would agree.
Wilson, the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, had returned to his starting role with the Jets after Aaron Rodgers, their offseason acquisition, suffered a torn Achilles tendon just four plays into the Week 1 game. However, Wilson and the Jets’ offense struggled, leading to Tim Boyle being named the starter for the Week 12 game against the Miami Dolphins.
Boyle threw for 327 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions while completing 65.1% of his passes over two games. He was then replaced by Trevor Siemian in the Week 13 game against the Atlanta Falcons, but neither quarterback managed to get the offense going. The Jets initially did not plan to play Wilson again this season, but changed their minds after a 13-8 loss to the Falcons.
Recently, the Jets have scored only four offensive touchdowns in their last 88 drives and rank 30th in scoring for the season. They’ve scored the fewest offensive touchdowns among all teams over the last 30 years through 12 games, and just once over the last two weeks since Wilson was benched.
Challenges have been exacerbated by the constant shuffling of the offensive line, which has negatively impacted the quarterbacks. The Jets’ offensive line has had nine different starting combinations this season, and Wilson currently has the second-highest pressure rate against him among all qualifying quarterbacks according to TruMedia.
When Jets coach Robert Saleh benched Wilson, he acknowledged Wilson’s progress and expressed the team’s desire to see improvement in their overall performance. Wilson’s original plan for the season was not to play, but with Rodgers’ injury, he was unexpectedly thrust into action, and the Jets initially managed to start 4-3 with surprise wins, but have since floundered amid a five-game losing streak.
Regarding Wilson’s future, Saleh mentioned at the time of the benching that they would address it in the offseason.
(Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images)