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Robert Saleh noncommittal on if Zach Wilson will start vs. Bears

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Zach Wilson of the New York Jets throws a pass against the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Zach Wilson (2) of the New York Jets throws a pass against the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images/TNS)

After Sunday’s shocking 10-3 loss to the Patriots on Sunday on a Marcus Jones 84-yard punt return touchdown with five seconds left, Jets quarterback Zach Wilson created quite a stir after he was asked did the offense let the team’s defense down.

“No, no,” Wilson said.

Now a day after his poor performance and comments, Jets coach Robert Saleh was noncommittal on if Wilson will start against the Bears on Sunday.

“I’m going to get to the tape and just evaluate everything,” Saleh said when asked if Wilson was still the Jets starting quarterback. “I will leave it at that as we are keeping everything on the table over the next couple of days.”

This is a swift pivot from Saleh’s comments on Sunday when he stated, “Zach’s our quarterback.”

Against the Patriots, Wilson completed 9-of-22 passes for 77 yards and threw zero touchdowns. Wilson also had a quarterback rating of 50.8 and a total quarterback rating of 24.5.

In two games against the Patriots, both losses, Wilson threw for 432 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. On Sunday, the Jets offense only accounted for two yards after halftime. For the entire game, the Green and White had 103 yards and was 3 for 14 on third down attempts while punting the ball 10 times.

“I gotta be able to sit back and I think we all have to sit back and look at what’s best for this organization and this team,” Saleh said. “It is not all about the quarterback, I want to be very, very clear, it is not all about the quarterback.

“It’s a lot of things that we can do better as coaches, it’s a lot of things the o-line needs to do better, receivers, running backs, tight ends, play-caller, there’s defense, everybody, special teams.

Tom Brady became the most sacked quarterback in NFL history during the Tampa Bay Bucs’ defeat to the Baltimore Ravens.

“I get it where everyone looks at the quarterback and wants to throw everything on him. It is not always about the quarterback. But there’s also an evaluation process to make sure we are doing what’s best for the organization and that’s every position, quarterback position, receiver, that’s all of them, offense, defense and special teams.”

Meanwhile, the defense didn’t allow a Patriots offensive touchdown and allowed 297 total yards and three points. The Jets allowed just one touchdown in two games against New England this season.

The Jets defense has been one of the top units in the NFL this season, a year after finishing last in total defense and points allowed per game. Gang Green is seventh in yards allowed (310.5) and ninth in points allowed (18.6).

Wilson has struggled this season despite having a 5-2 record in his seven starts since returning from a preseason meniscus injury that kept him sidelined for three games. He has thrown for 1,279 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.

Wilson has struggled so much that now third-string quarterback Joe Flacco has more touchdown passes (five) than Wilson and he hasn’t played since the Jets’ Week 3 loss against the Bengals.

Since the Jets selected Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, he has been inconsistent under center. In 20 games, Wilson has thrown for 3,613 yards, 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

Publicly the players and coaches might be saying the right things, but defensive end John Franklin-Myers and cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner liked tweets criticizing Wilson for not being accountable after Sunday’s loss.

Although Saleh didn’t say who could start against the Bears, Mike White would likely be under center for the team. Before the game against the Patriots, White was elevated to the second-string spot while Flacco was inactive as he is now the Jets third quarterback.

Flacco started the first three games of the season while Wilson recovered from a meniscus injury he suffered during the preseason. He passed for 901 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.

White hasn’t played in a regular season game since last year when he filled in for Wilson for three games due to injury. He passed for 953 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The Jets are 6-4 and if the postseason began today, they wouldn’t qualify for the playoffs.

“I do think we have a championship-quality defense,” Saleh said. “I do think we have really good players on offense. From a schematics standpoint, we are right there with everyone else.

“Just trying to evaluate to see how we can get this offense going a little bit. Whether making movement at receiver, maybe shuffling the o-line, it is not just the quarterback that’s being evaluated, everything is being evaluated.

“Just trying to do our best to put the best 11 and try to find a way to get the ball moving and possess the ball and keep the defense off and score some points and win some football games. Because we have a great opportunity with these seven games left, we are 6-4 and there are a lot of really cool things to look forward to. I just want to make sure from a coaching standpoint, we are covering every single basis that we can and we are putting the best 53 men on the field so we can win football games.”


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