Zach Wilson is done with the Jets after the latest disaster
He can’t get over it. It was bad. It was, in truth, the worst. It’s one thing to lose your job to Mike White. It’s one thing for fans to sing the name Joe Flacco. It’s something else to leave on the sidelines when Chris Streveler – No. 4 on the depth chart, for those keeping score – trots into the game.
And when a salty, drenched gathering at MetLife Stadium finally stops booing and starts cheering on the folk hero of show season.
Yes. Zach Wilson is done here.
Was that shame of a 19-3 loss to the Jaguars on Thursday night entirely his fault?
Of course not. The Jets’ self-proclaimed monster defense was set apart by Trevor Lawrence, and it was only miserable weather that kept the scoreline so low. The racing game, again, was non-existent. The Jets, as a whole, looked woefully unprepared to play a game with their season on the line.
All true. Barely.
But once again, Zach Wilson looked like a Pop Warner quarterback who had somehow found his way onto an NFL field. His numbers were abysmal on 2 ½ quarters – 9 for 18.92 yards, a 41.9 quarterback with three first downs – yes, three.
But even the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Wilson looks completely puzzled every time he backs up to pass. He always holds the ball one beat too long. For a quarterback who was supposed to be able to use his legs as an at least occasional weapon, he almost never looks to do damage that way.
It’s not just that he’s bad at his job.
It is non-competitive. And that’s the part that’s hard to accept and even harder to understand.
You can talk all you want about an offensive line that is battered and often looked like a sieve on Thursday night. You can complain about how beleaguered offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur has done little to help develop Wilson, how his game plans do little to mask his weaknesses. These are valid arguments.
But he was the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and one night when he faced the man who went one spot above him, he looked like a guy who should be called Mr. Irrelevant. Except he isn’t. It is extremely relevant that he was such an abject bust. You can’t miss it badly. But it sure looks like the Jets missed that.
You know who would have figured out a way to keep the ball rolling for the Jets on Thursday? Mike White certainly would have. You know who figured out a way to get the ball moving for the Jets? Streveler, wearing Tim Tebow’s old number 15. He never really found the end zone either, but at least he competed.
It’s a low bar. But Wilson can’t even achieve that.
It’s a tough situation for the Jets. Brutal. They’ve really made progress this year, really built a solid defense, really seen a lot of their young players flourish. They won seven games. They hung with very good teams in their defeats. But having such an ineffective quarterback sucks the life out of a team.
And the Jets on Thursday played as a team with every ounce of life sucked away if it.
Even the highlight of the match – an early strip-sack of Lawrence by Quinnen Williams – became an instant horrible omen when the offense trotted down the field and could do nothing with a platinum-plated field position. The Jets were leading 3-0 and already looked like a team that had lost two touchdowns.
Yes, you can name a list of quarterbacks who got off to a bad start and got it right. Everyone is still watching Terry Bradshaw’s early years, Peyton Manning’s rookie year. Aaron Rodgers threw 59 passes in his first three years in the league.
But even in their early failures, you could see something about it.
It’s hard to say – and harder to type – but all you see when you look at Zach Wilson is JaMarcus Russell or Ryan Leaf – the most epic NFL quarterback busts in recent memory.
Now he can’t keep Chris Streveler off the pitch.