The New York Jets are still alive in the AFC playoff picture.
For the time being, they will pursue their first postseason since the 2010 season without Zach Wilson as their starting quarterback, head coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday. Saleh informed the team of the change at quarterback ahead of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. ESPN first reported the news.
Mike White, who has three career starts, will replace Wilson. Veteran Joe Flacco will serve as White’s backup, as Wilson will be inactive Sunday, Saleh said.
“Zach’s career here is not over … the intent, the full intent, is to make sure Zach gets back on the football field at some point this year,” Saleh told reporters.
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The No. 2 overall pick in the draft a year ago, Wilson turned in a disastrous performance – 9-for-22, 77 passing yards – against the New England Patriots last Sunday in a 10-3 loss.
“Is it a small step back?” Saleh said Wednesday. “Absolutely, for him.”
Saleh said Wilson requires a “reset” and that asking him to prepare for a game while doing that was unfair.
“His decision-making has been fine. His practice habits, all that stuff, has been fine,” said Saleh, who noted Wilson was frustrated but understanding of his decision. “But there’s some basic, fundamental things that have gotten out of whack for him. This is just an opportunity for him to sit back, focus on those things, and reconnect to all the different things we fell in love with during the draft process.”
Wilson missed four games during his rookie season, and the first three games of 2022 after recovering from preseason knee surgery. But despite the roster’s improvement this season, Wilson has shown little progress.
In four of his seven starts this season, Wilson has thrown for 154 yards or less. He has thrown for 1,279 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions this season. He has a passer rating of 72.6 and has completed 55.6% of his passes.
Saleh said after the loss to the Patriots that the offense was “dog(expletive)” in the second half. On Monday, he would not commit to Wilson as the starter.
“This is not putting a nail in his coffin,” Saleh said. “Not even close to that. But I do believe at the end of this, he’s going to be a rejuvenated, renewed young man. Once he reconnects to all the things we’re trying to reconnect to, he’ll show why he was the second pick.”
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.