Last week, Jets head coach Robert Saleh and his staff made the ultimate decision to bench Zach Wilson for Sunday’s home matchup with the Bears. The second-year quarterback was awful in the prior week’s 10-3 loss to the Patriots. Not only did he complete just 41% of his throws, but he also failed to take accountability for his struggles in the postgame press conference.
The Jets thus went with Mike White, who made Wilson’s road back to the starting lineup that much rockier. The primary backup threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-10 victory, and WFAN host (and famed Jets fan) Joe Benigno wants to see more.
“Mike White is so much better of a quarterback than Zach Wilson, it’s not even close,” Benigno said Monday during his weekly spot on WFAN’s “Tiki and Tierney” midday program. “And as far as I’m concerned, he’s the quarterback for the rest of the year. And how do I know he’s not the quarterback for the next 10 years?”
The Jets made the absolute correct decision benching Wilson for White. They would be making another correct decision starting White until he consistently struggles.
But what do you do with Wilson? He was inactive against the Bears as veteran Joe Flacco was the main backup for White. Do you keep him inactive?
Benigno thinks yes.
“Wilson sealed his fate with what happened in the Patriot game and then the comments after,” he said. “And the team has been against this guy for a while. I thought [rookie wide receiver] Garrett Wilson’s comments after the Patriot game (when he said “hopefully, this is a wake-up call for some people in the facility”) were telling about what’s going on in practice.”
“Even going back to [wide receiver] Elijah Moore…the reason they didn’t trade him is they knew he was right. They knew there was a problem and the problem wasn’t Elijah Moore — the problem was Zach Wilson.”
Starting White would be the best thing for this football team. The Jets sport a playoff roster, with a stellar defense and promising young weapons across the offense. It was Wilson who was holding them back for weeks, while White, alternatively, could propel the team to its first postseason appearance since 2010.
But after spending a No. 2 overall pick on Wilson, inactivating him each and every week would be a tough sell in year two. The goal for him was to take a step back and learn, in hopes of inserting him back into the starting lineup at some point this season. But at the same time, the kid needs to be motivated and prepared at a moment’s notice. Essentially making Wilson a glorified practice squad player for the rest of the year could hinder his overall development, especially from a mental standpoint.