Zach Wilson may get his last shot at the Jets as they face a QB decision from the franchise

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The New York Jets might have rigged this decision. Maybe it was just a remarkable coincidence of timing and the health of quarterback Mike White’s ribs. Maybe Zach Wilson was just a good sport and reacted to his first NFL-level benching. He had the most productive two weeks of his life.

The reasons don’t really matter. Because Friday’s decision by the Jets — putting Wilson back into the starting lineup — was baked into this situation the very second he went to the bench. Because Robert Saleh, the head coach, telegraphed this move multiple times because he knows exactly what everyone else knows: A crucial offseason decision must be made at quarterback. The only way to do it confidently is for Wilson to get another chance.

That might not be the popular move, but it’s the right one. Because as much as it looks like nothing has changed in the matrix surrounding Wilson, that’s not really true. This is the first time he’s been benched in the NFL. His performance with another opportunity will tell a lot about how he is going to do moving forward.

It is something that no one should deny. Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. An important part of Wilson’s future is hanging in the balance now. Wilson was the No. Although he was the 2nd overall pick in the 2021 draft. That line of credit is rapidly running out. His team is rapidly improving and should be ready to make a significant step forward this offseason. The Jets need to know whether Wilson can be a part of it, or if it’s time to start mapping out contingency plans.

After being benched last month, Zach Wilson will get another chance to be the New York Jets’ starting quarterback. Will Wilson make the most of this opportunity? (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

These designs will be crucial in how Wilson finishes his season. And yes, it’s fair to suspect that he’s likely going to start beyond the Detroit game, unless his return to the field is so monumentally bad that it risks a locker room mutiny. But if he’s mediocre? He’ll likely start again, sheerly out of the need to get as much data as possible heading into the offseason.

It might not be the best option for everyone. playoff race, but there’s an overarching problem that has far greater implications than how 2022 ends. Wilson could be relegated to a lesser part of the future because of their talent and cohesion. The next offseason will play a significant role in this.

However, Joe Douglas, the general manager, and the coaching staff must first understand how Wilson has responded to the last few weeks. This includes the benching but also the knowledge. the locker room rallied around White instantly. If Wilson didn’t realize his career with the Jets was in jeopardy before the benching, he certainly must understand it now. Wilson should know everything about the offense and how his offensive teammates have reacted.

And let’s be honest, if Wilson can’t get at least some traction against a Lions defense that is opportunistic at best and often just plain bad, then he’s in some significant trouble. Which is why it’s so easy to believe conspiracy theories that maybe the Jets refused to clear White for this game because it represents the last best chance Wilson has at getting a foothold. If you look at the schedule, Wilson was actually benched. The best place to put him in as a starter is this week, when Detroit travels into MetLife Stadium.

There simply won’t be an easier defense in a more friendly environment the rest of the way. In some ways, this could cement the Jets’ front-office’s belief that a Wilson loss against the Lions will be the first step towards pursuing an offseason quarterback.

This is all reminiscent of what we saw with the Tennessee Titans a few years back. After Marcus Mariota No. was drafted, the turnaround for that franchise was long. 2 overall in 2015, but grew consistently frustrated that Mariota couldn’t take another step in his development. He was constantly injured, inconsistent, or falling into bad habits. Finally, after an amazing 2018 that had taught them everything, the Titans committed to the offseason to acquire a player capable enough to replace Mariota as their starting pitcher and to keep it. Ryan Tannehill was traded to the Titans, and he did just that, only a few weeks into the 2019 season. Since then, he has been Tennessee’s starting pitcher.

This is the Jets’ dilemma. The Jets appreciate Mike White’s work, but they will have to hire someone who is capable of taking a permanent job. Because of his knowledge of the Jets’ coaching staff, Jimmy Garoppolo is the smart connection. But whether it’s Garoppolo or not, the Jets won’t stand down in the face of Wilson failing with this second chance. They will get another quarterback, giving themselves someone capable of filling the role in 2023’s young core.

That’s what is hanging in the balance right now. That’s what Sunday’s game against the Lions means to the organization. Wilson could see this as a second step in his New York ending, or he may be at the beginning of a new chapter.

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