New York Jets

Jets will start Zach Wilson at QB again in Week 14 vs. Texans after two-game benching

The Jets are 4-8 after losing five straight games heading into this weekend

Zach Wilson
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Zach Wilson of the New York Jets looks on against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 24, 2023 in East Rutherford, N.J.

Zach Wilson is back in as the New York Jets' starting quarterback.

Wilson, benched for two games after struggling in place of the injured Aaron Rodgers, will be under center for the Jets’ home game Sunday against the Houston Texans.

“Zach gives us the best chance to win,” coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday. “And we’ll give him another opportunity to go prove that.”

The decision came a day after New York waived Tim Boyle following two ineffective starts and signed Brett Rypien off Seattle’s practice squad. The Jets also have veteran Trevor Siemian, who replaced Boyle in the fourth quarter of New York’s 13-8 loss to Atlanta last Sunday.

Siemian will serve as Wilson's backup and Rypien will be the emergency No. 3 quarterback, the role that Wilson served the past two games.

“He was good,” Saleh said of the conversation with Wilson. “He's fired up.”

When asked if Wilson will be the Jets' starting quarterback the rest of the season, Saleh simply responded: “God willing.”

The Jets (4-8) have lost five in a row and appear headed to a 13th straight season without a playoff berth. It’s the NFL’s longest active postseason drought.

Saleh said Monday he wasn’t ready to name a starting quarterback and Wilson found himself the subject of controversy when The Athletic reported he was reluctant to start again, citing injury concerns. Saleh dismissed that report, saying Wilson came to his office and said he wanted to start this week.

“Well, let’s be clear: If he was reluctant to play, guys, he wouldn’t be here,” the coach said Monday.

Saleh added Wednesday he didn't feel the need to address the team regarding the story.

“I am not concerned one bit about that report,” Saleh said. "I have my reasons, but Zach's in a great place. The locker room's in a great place."

Rodgers defended Wilson during his appearance Tuesday on “The Pat McAfee Show,” saying the Jets need to do a better job of controlling leaks. He was particularly disappointed with the perception of Wilson from the report that “this kid is quitting on the team and doesn’t want to play and has given the middle finger to the organization.”

Wilson, the 2021 No. 2 overall draft pick, started the past two years but was inconsistent and benched twice last season. He moved into a backup role when the Jets acquired Rodgers from Green Bay in the offseason, but took over again when the four-time NFL MVP tore his left Achilles tendon four snaps into his debut with New York on Sept. 11.

Wilson mostly struggled again — along with the rest of New York’s offense in Nathaniel Hackett’s first season as offensive coordinator. The 24-year-old quarterback has thrown for 1,944 yards and six touchdowns with seven interceptions in 10 games this season.

Saleh said he always has believed Wilson gave the Jets the best chance to win, but made the switch at quarterback to try to spark the offense.

“The biggest thing for Zach is just let the thing rip,” Saleh said. “Trust in your ability, trust in your teammates, trust in your arm talent and trust what you’re seeing and just let it fly. He’s got undeniable talent, arm talent, undeniable athleticism, and when he plays with that ‘eff it mentality,’ if you will, he’s pretty good.”

Boyle was 41 of 63 for 327 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions — including a Hail Mary that was returned 99 yards for a touchdown against Miami — in two losses as the Jets’ starter.

“That’s part of the crappy part of the league,” Saleh said of waiving Boyle. “He got his opportunity. We appreciate him. And we’re not saying that he won’t come back in terms of practice squad and all that, but appreciate everything he’s done.”

Meanwhile, Rodgers has been progressing quickly as he tries to return this season, but Saleh said the 40-year-old quarterback wouldn't practice Wednesday.

“He’s going through his rehab schedule,” Saleh said. “I know he pushed it some yesterday and Monday, so whatever that schedule is with regards to the medical medical team is what it is.”

Saleh also still wouldn't rule out Rodgers playing again this season.

I'll never close the door until the door's closed," Saleh said.


Saleh said he wasn't concerned about leaks in the organization after Rodgers said it was a widespread problem. “I don’t think it’s an attack on the organization,” the coach said, “but I always appreciate Aaron’s thoughts and comments.” ... TE Kenny Yeboah was activated from injured reserve after missing the first 12 games with a hamstring injury. ... TE C.J. Uzomah was placed on IR with an injured medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

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