“Not before I’ve evaluated everything”

Zach Wilson’s status as the New York Jets’ starting quarterback is in jeopardy.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh announced Monday that he has not chosen Wilson as the team’s starting quarterback ahead of the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears.

“We’ll keep everything on the table in the next few days,” Saleh said at the start of his press conference on Monday.

Saleh was then asked if he would commit to Wilson, to which he replied, “No, not now. Not until I’m done evaluating everything.”

Saleh’s declaration that Wilson’s QB1 status is in limbo comes a day after a bitter 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots. When the Gang Green offensive went touchdown-free, Wilson was 9-of-22 passing for 77 yards with a 50.8 rating. To make matters worse, Wilson was asked after the loss if he felt the offense had let the defense down, to which the QB simply replied “no” as a sophomore.

Earlier on Monday, Jet’s defensive teammates, such as defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and defensive end Carl Lawson supported Wilson despite his comment.

“Football is obviously an emotional game,” Saleh said on Monday when asked for his opinion on Wilson’s disposition after the defeat. “I’m not going to shy away from the fact that I think he’s the ultimate competitor. He wants to win just as much as anyone else. He works as hard as anyone. It means him so much a little bit better in front of you when he’s up there on the podium in terms of the expectation that when you’re in front of the podium, our job is to pocket bullets and own it, especially when it’s on the time is to own it? Of course he can. But I don’t think it indicates how he feels about his team or his teammates, and I don’t think he’s naïve when it comes to the fact that our offense didn’t do its best during the defense is out there… I don’t think he wanted to convey that – I really didn’t. Obviously he can be a little bit better, but I think he’ll be better for that.

During a surprise 5-2 start to the season for the Jets, defense was lauded and Wilson certainly had talent around him at the skill positions. However, two ugly performances by Wilson against the Patriots, who were shy of a huge Week 9 win over the Buffalo Bills, put the spotlight on Wilson’s struggles. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Wilson hasn’t turned out the way many had hoped.

He’s gone 5-2 as a starter this year but completes only 55.6% of his passes and averages just 182.7 yards per game with a tiny four touchdown passes in seven games and five interceptions. Starting veterans Joe Flacco or Mike White could breathe some life into the 28th NFL offense.

While Saleh said everything is on the table, he stressed that offensive struggles are not all on Wilson’s shoulders and further reviews will be conducted until he makes a decision on the starting quarterback.

“I need to sit back, I think we all need to sit back and think about what’s best for this organization and this team,” Saleh said. “It’s not just about the quarterback. I want to be very clear. It’s not just about the quarterback. There’s a lot of things we can do better as coaches, there’s a lot of things the O-Line needs to do better. Receivers, running backs, tight ends, play callers, defense, everyone, special teams. Well, I get where everyone’s looking at the quarterback and wanting to throw everything at them. It’s not always just about the quarterback. But there’s one Evaluation process to ensure we are doing what is best for the organization and that applies to every position.”

Monday’s press conference started about 90 minutes late, which Saleh said was due to a personal matter within the staff. He added that while QB may see a change, Mike LaFleur will remain the Jets’ play-caller.

Whether Wilson remains QB1 for the Jets for Sunday’s game and beyond will be decided by Saleh in the coming days.


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