Zach Wilson would have benefited from sitting behind a veteran quarterback, Jets OC says
As has been the case for decades, the quarterback situation for the New York Jets is in limbo.
The Jets enter Week 18 of the 2022 NFL season eliminated from the playoffs after failing to score an offensive touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Mike White will be under center for the season's final game as New York enters an offseason of uncertainty at the quarterback position.
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After drafting Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, New York twice benched their franchise quarterback this season as Wilson struggled to get the offense moving.
Wilson was inactive against the Seahawks on Sunday as the Jets prepared to head into the offseason after missing the playoffs for the 12th straight year.
On Thursday, Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur spoke with reporters and preached patience for Wilson while also suggesting that Wilson would have benefited from sitting behind a veteran quarterback in his rookie season.
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“In hindsight, it probably would have benefited [Wilson] to sit back and learn a little bit,” LaFleur said. “And watch a veteran [quarterback] do it and kind of grow in this league. Kind of in the back seat, watching. And getting better in practice and getting better through scout team, and all of that.
“But again, that wasn't the course that we went. And from here, we gotta pick it up. We have to pick up the scraps, and we have to get back to work.”
Wilson was named the starter in Week 1 of his rookie campaign, starting 13 games in his first NFL season.
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He was injured during the preseason and missed the first three weeks of the 2022 season before taking over for veteran Joe Flacco.
Despite going 5-2 as the starter, Wilson was replaced by White following an atrocious performance against the New England Patriots in Week 11.
Wilson completed just 9 of 22 passes for 77 yards in a 10-3 loss before failing to take accountability for his play in the postgame press conference.
White was named the starter, going 1-2 before injuring his ribs against the Buffalo Bills in Week 14.
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Wilson returned for two games against the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars before being benched again in favor of White.
On Wednesday, head coach Robert Saleh backed Wilson’s future in New York, saying that the organization remains confident in the young quarterback.
“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 grind with him. We are. Through hell or high water, we're going to figure how to get him to where we know he can be.”
Wilson has two years and $9.3 million remaining on his rookie contract.