Only a few short weeks ago, Robert Saleh pulled the plug. After various poor performances and, most notably, a terrible 10-3 loss to New England, the Jets head coach made a switch at the game’s most important position, sending No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson to the bench in favor of Mike White, the once-darling of New York football.
White has assumed the starting role for a young, scrappy team looking to earn a playoff spot in a tough division. Wilson, meanwhile, has been inactive for three straight games.
Ahead of Sunday’s Week 15 matchup with the Lions, however, Wilson is earning a promotion (somewhat). Instead of being inactive, he’ll replace veteran Joe Flacco as the No. 2 quarterback behind White.
And it’s a move that should’ve been made from the beginning.
Wilson was struggling and should’ve been benched – that’s evident. And you can still very much make the argument White is better for the offense, which has scored around 22 points per game since he became the starter. But Wilson should’ve at least remained on the active roster for the last three weeks instead of sitting in street clothes on the sideline.
The goal for Wilson was to take a step back and see the game from the outside looking in, in hopes it would be beneficial for his development and he would once again be the starter at some point this season. Making him inactive has essentially made him a glorified practice squad player – it’s tough to imagine it’s done wonders for his confidence (which was surely in the dust following his disastrous 9-for-22 performance against New England).
Better late than never, but the Jets should’ve just made him the QB2 behind White when they initially made the switch. That way Wilson could still take a step back and learn from the side, but at the same time, be ready for the team at a moment’s notice in the event of an injury. He could still be on the active roster and have that next-man-up mindset, but still take the necessary learning steps in order to grow for this organization.
Moving forward. As for the near future, it’s very unclear how the quarterback position will shape up for the Jets over the next few weeks. They have four tough opponents to close out the regular season: the Lions, Jaguars, Seahawks, and Dolphins. Detroit, Seattle, and Miami are all potential playoff teams, while scrappy Jacksonville has won three of its last five games.
But in the grand scheme of things, this promotion for Wilson could be the next step toward him returning as the starter. So if White struggles mightily in a huge game against the Lions on Sunday, we could see Wilson back in the limelight in the heat of a playoff race – and that would surely be something.