Zach Wilson was put on notice Monday.
For the first time since the Jets drafted Wilson with the No. 2-overall pick in 2021, his hold on the starting quarterback job is not a firm one. Coach Robert Saleh said the team is considering a change at quarterback entering this week’s game against the Bears.
Saleh said he is also considering changes at other positions on offense after a brutal 10-3 loss to the Patriots on Sunday when the Jets put up 103 total yards, wasting an outstanding performance by their defense.
“I’m going to get to the tape and just evaluate everything. I’ll leave it at that,” Saleh said.
“We’re keeping everything on the table over the next couple of days.”
Mike White is No. 2 on the depth chart behind Wilson and Joe Flacco is the No. 3 quarterback. This could be Saleh just sending a message to his young quarterback by even considering a change, something that has been shot down emphatically before now.
Saleh said they will know who the starting quarterback is by the time the players report back Wednesday after their day off. Wilson was atrocious Sunday, completing 9 of 22 passes for a career-low 77 yards. He only threw for 12 yards in the second half.
On top of that, his teammates looked openly frustrated with him with wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Denzel Mims barking at him on the field and then Garrett Wilson indirectly criticizing him after the game.
The second-year quarterback compounded the issue in his press conference when he showed little accountability and said he did not feel like he let down the defense, which only allowed three points. Those comments rubbed teammates, particularly on defense, the wrong way. Saleh acknowledged that Wilson could do a better job in front of the media but said he did not think Wilson was in jeopardy of losing the support of the locker room.
“I think players have empathy for one another,” Saleh said. “They know how hard this job is. They understand it all. I’ve said it before: he without sin cast the first stone. We all make mistakes. Is it a mistake? Sure. Is this something that he’ll get better from? Absolutely.”
Saleh also said he believes Wilson is a leader.
“I don’t think Zach lacks in leadership,” he said.
The Jets entered the season with high hopes for Wilson as he entered his second season. A knee injury in the preseason stalled the start to his season, but he took over in Week 4 and led a fourth-quarter comeback against the Steelers. The Jets are 5-2 with Wilson at quarterback, but they have been winning around him, not because of him, with a strong defense leading the way and a good running game.
Wilson has completed 55.6 percent of his passes, the same percent he completed as a rookie in 2021. He has four touchdown passes this season and five interceptions. Flacco remains the team leader in touchdown passes with five, despite not playing for the last two months.
Saleh has been defiant in saying that Wilson is the future of the organization until now. Even after the game on Sunday he said he was not considering a change. After watching the game again on the plane ride home, Saleh said he began to consider it.
“When you put up 100 yards of offense, I don’t care how good New England is and they are good, it’s unacceptable,” Saleh said. “That’s not NFL football.”
Saleh said quarterback is not the only place he is considering making changes, but he did say he won’t take play-calling away from offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
“It’s just trying to find a way to get our offense moving in the right direction,” Saleh said.
The Jets have put themselves in position to make a playoff push at 6-4, but it is hard to see them doing much with their offense scuffling so badly.
“We’ve got a great opportunity with these seven games left. We’re 6-4,” Saleh said. “There’s a lot of really cool things to look forward to and I just want to make sure from a coaching standpoint we’re covering every single base that we can and we’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re putting the best 53 players on the football field so we can win games.”