No one can deny the New York Jets have exceeded expectations this season through the first 11 weeks. At 6-4 and on the brink of a potential playoff berth, the Jets’ defense and rushing attack have provided relief for a fanbase that has had very little of it over the last decade.
Of course, even when it appears that the Jets have turned a corner in the way they handle crises, a new controversy comes that shows nothing has really changed in Florham Park.
On Monday evening, after arriving over an hour late to his regularly scheduled press conference, head coach Robert Saleh did not commit to former second-overall pick Zach Wilson to be his starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.
“Everything needs to be evaluated. When you put up 100 yards of offense, I don’t care how good New England is, and they are good, it’s unacceptable. That’s not NFL football. Everything is being talked about” Saleh told reporters.
There is definitely a level of understanding from the latest frustrations of the Jets coaching staff, after losing a 10-3 contest to the New England Patriots Sunday in which Wilson appeared to deflect blame away from himself, New York’s roster has begun to publicly speak out against the young quarterback.
No one can blame Saleh for coming to this conclusion, but it doesn’t magically change the implications of a move like this.
The Jets haven’t had a winning season since 2015 and have a rich history of highly touted quarterbacks failing for them. It also doesn’t help that the team has given up on said quarterbacks fairly quickly.
Mark Sanchez was shipped off after four seasons, Geno Smith had four seasons with only two as a starter, Sam Darnold was given three and even Chad Pennington was shipped off for Brett Favre.
New York has missed at the quarterback position several times over the last decade. Sunday appears to be the beginning of the end for Wilson’s tenure with gang green. If that ends up happening, and Wilson is benched, it looks like the Jets won’t even let him get through two full seasons before tossing him away.
The intentions may be smart and calculated, but the dysfunction that comes with a move like this also can cause major issues for the franchise. For yet another season New York appears ready to toss away a first-round pick before the end of their rookie deal. For another season, it appears the Jets prefer to continue in the carousel of controversy instead of being patient.
Results in the NFL do not happen overnight. Zach Wilson’s comments following the loss to the Patriots don’t help him either.
But there can be no denying that a quarterback controversy entering week 12 of a playoff race is a clear sign of an organization that is trying to maintain control of a pissed-off locker room, at the expense of another first-round selection.
Questions will follow New York for the next week. But after not committing to Wilson for Sunday’s game, it appears that the Jets are comfortable going back to Joe Flacco or Mike White.
They don’t really have a choice either. The Jets can’t be blamed for Wilson’s poor play or his comments following bad games, but turning away from a prospect after 20 games doesn’t breed confidence in a scouting department, general manager, or coaching staff.
Robert Saleh has shown tremendous improvements in his second season as the Jets head coach. His overall skillset as a leader will now be put to the test as he tries to move his team away from the dysfunction that was created by himself and his quarterback.