Is Zach Wilson done as quarterback of the Jets or does he still have a future with the team? Some reports say the former, and some say the latter. One person who has constantly been a public Wilson supporter is Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
Days after officially getting eliminated from the playoffs with Wilson inactive, Saleh once again backed his young quarterback as the future of his team.
Here’s what he had to say to the media on Wednesday:
"We believe in the young man. It's not a talent thing…we're going to work our tails off to help him."
Robert Saleh on Zach Wilson: pic.twitter.com/uoeezeRQe8
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) January 4, 2023
Every time Saleh is asked about Wilson, it seems like he goes into a similar rant. You know, how the 23-year-old has the talent to succeed, New York is committed to his development, and they’re going to do what it takes to get it done.
This backs up a report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport over the weekend saying general manager Joe Douglas has no intentions of making Wilson available via trade. The question we asked then, though, was: How quickly could those initial intentions change?
That still holds true now. Everything said here just feels like lip service. Saleh is of course going to talk positively about his young quarterback. The last thing he wants to do is potentially ruin their relationship by not being completely clear with his statements.
But, like… come on, man. We get it. He didn’t experience the on-field progression everyone was hoping for. And with a club that had been fighting for its playoff life, the Jets needed to do what was best for the team. There’s no need to go into details about the situation and discuss what you plan on doing every single time.
We know the Jets think the talent is there. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have used the second overall pick on Wilson in the 2021 NFL Draft.
This is not the first time Saleh has strongly come to Wilson’s defense. But in these cases, it really feels like less is more. Stop talking so much about how the coaching staff is going to be committed to helping him improve and just start doing it. I may be reading too much into it, but it feels like Saleh talks in circles a bit about Wilson to justify what’s going on.
If Wilson is truly not going anywhere, then Week 18 against the Miami Dolphins is still important for the Jets and Mike White. He’s officially getting the start. It’ll be his last appearance for New York before becoming a free agent this offseason.
Saleh will probably have a make-the-playoffs-or-else edict from ownership in 2023. Let’s say New York does commit to Wilson as the starting QB next season. They’ll need to have a top-flight backup ready to go in case of injury or subpar performance. Is that White, or will it be someone else? His performance this weekend could play a role.
Either way, Jets fans are tired of hearing about what’s going to happen. They just want New York to progress toward its first playoff berth since 2010 next year.