Coming out of their Week 10 bye with a 6-3 record, many Jets fans were starting to think about the playoffs. But instead of preparing for a Wild Card matchup this week, Gang Green is busy picking up the pieces from a 7-10 regular-season performance that ended with six straight losses.
New York’s offense had a hard time getting things going for most of 2022. It hit another unfortunate level to finish things off, though. Zach Wilson threw a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the Jets’ Week 15 loss to the Detroit Lions. That was the squad’s final touchdown of the regular season.
Yes, they went 0-for-the-end-zone over their final three games with Mike White and Joe Flacco sharing the duties. That was probably the final nail in offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s proverbial coffin, as he won’t be back in the same role next season. A list of potential candidates the Jets could consider as his replacement has begun circulating.
Whomever that hire is will likely also be joined by a veteran quarterback. That was already on general manager Joe Douglas’ to-do list this offseason. Maybe it was more of a preference than a necessity, but with LaFleur not returning, it’s an absolute must.
New York is committed to developing Wilson into the NFL quarterback they think he can be. While he’s up for the challenge of having to fight for his job, there’s almost no scenario where him being the starter in 2023 is a preferred solution.
SNY’s Conor Hughes lists a couple of excellent reasons why:
The #Jets were already going to, but it's increasingly important they add a veteran quarterback.
Zach Wilson is already working on a complete fundamental rebuild. Now you're adding learning a new offensive scheme — his third (BYU, LaFleur, TBD) in four years — on top of it.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) January 12, 2023
Wilson’s mechanics were a mess in 2022. That’s why he’s stripping everything down to the studs and starting from scratch. Add in having to learn a new scheme and playbook, and this isn’t a job for a third-year QB who is starting over. It’s a job for a veteran signal-caller with a proven track record. You know, one who can deal with these kinds of changes rather easily.
The Jets’ goals for 2023 are likely two-pronged.
Since Wilson is probably staying put, there will be a focus to set a good foundation for him to build from for his own career. How well New York does this could be significant for the organization’s long-term outlook. But Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh know what’s at stake. They’re on the chopping block if Gang Green doesn’t take a step forward and reach the playoffs next season. Bringing someone in to bridge that gap and break the league’s longest postseason drought was already critical.
Now that we know there will be a new offensive coordinator running the show, it’s even more important. As if that was possible at this point.