Jets head coach Robert Saleh has taken this year’s team as far as the quarterback play and circumstances have allowed.
He’s made some questionable decisions, including ones concerning time management, but has proven to have the necessities and potential to someday be a Super Bowl-winning head coach. Maybe it will be with the Jets—but not until they resolve the most pressing issue facing the franchise: The Jets must fix Zach Wilson if he is indeed pliable and develop him into a capable quarterback and leader, or cut ties with him as soon as possible and acquire an effective signal caller who can galvanize the team.
The Jets have been eliminated from postseason contention. They are 7–9 and in last place in the AFC East going into this Sunday’s final regular season game versus the Miami Dolphins on the road. After a promising 6–3 start, they have lost six of their last seven games, including five straight. The franchise has not made the playoffs since 2010, the longest existing postseason absence in the NFL. This year, it’s because Wilson did not make any positive strides from a difficult rookie campaign last season. In fact, those who strongly argue he disturbingly regressed have a compelling claim.
The 23-year-old No. 2 out of BYU was the overall pick from the 2021 draft and was rightly benched twice this season, first after throwing for just 77 yards in a 10–3 loss to the New England Patriots on the road on November 20, then again three days before Christmas at home in the Jets’ 19–3 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars where he passed for only 92.
Wilson’s poor play and lack of accountability led Saleh to turn to 27-year-old backup Mike White, who has done an admirable job through tumultuous times, including returning this past Sunday in a 23–6 road loss to the Seattle Seahawks after missing the previous two games due to fractured ribs. White’s replacement in those two games?
Juxtapose the two.
White, out of Western Kentucky, is in his third NFL season after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round in 2018, and has fought just to establish himself a reliable backup in the league. Some football scouts and draft analyst gushed over what they asserted was his Aaron Rodgers-like ability coming out of college. Thus far, his game has looked nothing like the four-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl XLV (2011) champion.
The Jets have a foundation of talent to be a serious contender, except at QB. This off-season, that problem must be addressed.