Wilson’s struggles have playoff-hungry Jets in tough spot

Nov 20, 2022, 11:00 PM | Updated: Nov 21, 2022, 3:00 pm

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) is sacked by New England Patriots defensive end Deatrich ...

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) is sacked by New England Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. (91) and linebacker Josh Uche (55) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Well, that took a lousy turn in a hurry for the New York Jets.

From the possibility of sitting in first place in the AFC East to the bottom of the division standings — with some serious questions about the quarterback.

And Zach Wilson is taking plenty of hits for his lousy play and uninspired answers after the Jets’ 10-3 stunning loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. He’s also uncertain to be under center next Sunday when New York hosts Chicago.

“We’re keeping everything on the table,” coach Robert Saleh said Monday when asked if he was committing to Wilson as the starter. “We have to look at what’s best for this organization and team.”

Saleh added “it’s not all about the quarterback.”

But Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft went 9 of 22 for a measly 77 yards with several wayward throws. The Jets managed just 2 total yards on seven possessions in the second half. That’s despite New York’s defense sacking Mac Jones six times and holding the Patriots to 4 of 15 on third down.

But when asked if he thought he and the Jets’ offense are letting the defense down, Wilson was defiant.

“No, no,” he said after the game.

It was a response that soon went viral as an example of a lack of accountability.

Meanwhile, inside the locker room, rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson was railing against the “sorry” offense — a performance Saleh called “dog (crap)” after the game. The first-round pick out of Ohio State insisted — without naming names during his rant — that coaches “have to put more trust in the receiver room” and “hopefully, this is a wakeup for some people in the facility.”

If New York does sit Wilson — something Saleh said Sunday wasn’t a thought — it would be either Mike White or Joe Flacco under center.

“Something’s got to get better,” Saleh said, “and we’re going to do our best to find an answer.”

The Jets are 6-4 and in the middle of the playoff hunt, but it feels a lot more dire.

That’s because despite the surprisingly strong start, the issue of whether Wilson can be the franchise quarterback the Jets hoped has been percolating.

He’s 5-2 as the starter after missing the first three games with a knee injury, with both losses coming against Bill Belichick’s bunch. That’s not unusual for a young quarterback. But it’s the way Wilson has performed in those defeats that’s alarming.

The Patriots intercepted him three times in the teams’ first meeting three weeks ago. They absolutely stymied him this time around.

“It was a frustrating day, of course,” Wilson said. “I feel like I had some balls that got away from me. But we’ve got to find ways on offense. We’ve got to do some digging, watch the film, and see what we can do better.”

That might also apply to how he handled his postgame news conference. Wilson’s confidence and moxie has been praised, but not taking ownership of his struggles in that instance — especially as the quarterback and team leader — rubbed some the wrong way.

The Jets’ defense is a playoff-caliber unit. The offense has several playmakers, even with rookie running back Breece Hall out for the season.

But Wilson is the weak link.

And what he does moving forward will be the difference between the Jets snapping an 11-year playoff drought or extending that skid — and perhaps looking for a potential replacement for Wilson during the offseason.


The defense has been impressive the past several weeks, particularly the pass rush. The Jets are putting regular pressure on quarterbacks without coordinator Jeff Ulbrich even calling many blitzes. The Jets are tied for fourth in the NFL with 32 sacks entering Monday night.


Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur seemed to find a winning game plan by focusing on the running game, but Hall’s injury a few weeks ago put a crimp in that. Belichick took away the ground game as the Jets ran for just 59 yards on 23 attempts, an average of 2.9 yards. And when Wilson was forced to make plays — something Saleh and several players insisted they were confident he could do — he fell flat.


DE Bryce Huff. After being inactive the first three games, Huff has become a sparkplug in the Jets’ pass rush in a situational role. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis in 2020, Huff already has a career-high 2 1/2 sacks, including one in each of the past two games. He also has six quarterback hits.


Wilson would seem to be the obvious answer, but his stock was already running low. Instead, coordinator Brant Boyer, punter Braden Mann (who had 10 punts) and the Jets’ special teams unit take the spot this week — despite an otherwise solid day. Losing on an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown by Marcus Jones with 5 seconds left simply can’t happen.


WR Corey Davis (knee) could return this week after missing three games. … RG Nate Herbig (shin) was active Sunday, but wasn’t feeling 100% before the game and sat out. … DT Sheldon Rankins (elbow) is likely a few weeks from returning.


2 — How a team, especially one playing for first place in the division, can manage just 2 total yards in an entire half — the fewest by any team this season — is astounding.


The Jets have a chance to bounce back against a Bears team that has lost six of seven and has injury concerns about quarterback Justin Fields.

But first will come a decision on whether Wilson remains the quarterback for the Jets.


AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Wilson’s struggles have playoff-hungry Jets in tough spot