The obvious answer to the above question is yes, the Jets 2022 season is already in trouble even as this season unfolds. The Jets have all the talent in the world and arguably a pretty good head coach in Robert Saleh who cares about the organization and most importantly his players. This is well and good but after all it’s the National Football League and you don’t get wins for having great talent and a good head coach alone. W’s in the locker room or practice field don’t count; W’s on scoreboards are the only thing that matters in this game.
What impact does the Zach Wilson injury have on the Jets?
Football coaches and players alike are familiar with the old saying “next man up” and for the Jets right now this is such a true statement. Second year QB Zach Wilson is out again with a knee injury and while I truly hope he heals up quickly from his meniscus tear and is ready to get on the field in the Steeler game four weeks from now, I’m not holding my breath about Wilson’s long-term longevity.
Despite being a first round draft pick last season, Wilson’s injury held back his potential to develop as an NFL quarterback in his rookie year and missing essentially all of this preseason’s games (minus one quarter when he got injured) hurt his development trajectory. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the Jets need to have an AZW-after Zach Wilson contingency plan ready to go. I sincerely hope Wilson heals up fully, comes back in during Week Four and takes the Jets helm and leads this team to a successful season. With that in mind, Wilson’s injury proneness shows all too well that the Jets must have a full backup plan ready to go in case Wilson goes down ago this year.
What is the Jets backup plan?
By now, everyone familiar with the Jets organization knows that long-time NFL QB Joe Flacco is the backup plan for the conceivable future until the Steeler game down the road. Flacco is a Super Bowl winning QB with a long resume stretching back to his Ravens days (let’s just erase that disaster in Denver, shall we?) It’s also a well-known fact that Joe Flacco is also 37 years old and one of the oldest starting QB’s in the league (Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are ahead of Flacco.)
Flacco did not play in the first preseason game and his most notable pass in the rest of the exhibition games was an ugly pick-six. Sunday’s game seemed to be a photocopy of Flacco’s preseason with an outright horrible offensive performance in their 24-9 loss to the Ravens (kudos to the Jets defense who actually kept them in this game, at least something’s starting to come together for the Green & White.)
QB Mike White still sits as the true backup right now behind Flacco and can again show signs of greatness like he did last season when called to step in after the first Wilson injury. However, White went down as well and that leaves us with only one QB left and Chris Streveler is on the Jets practice squad. It’s time to re-evaluate Steveler’s performances in the preseason and the support both the coaching staff and team had for him after three comeback victories in a row. Yes, they were preseason games but Streveler showed the NFL what he’s capable of and he could very well be the answer the Jets are looking for heading deep into this season.
What about Zach Wilson? It isn’t time to jettison this young QB just yet but the Jets have to be realistic about what he can and can’t do. This organization has a tendency to like drafting first round QB’s only to have them turn into busts (do I need to start a list right now or can you name a few QB busts off the top of your head?)
Do the Jets have any options at QB?
Chris Streveler is a breath of fresh air for the Jets and combined with the Green & White’s youth factor – Breece Hall, Sauce Gardner, Elijah Moore, Michael Carter and Michael Carter II, Alijah Vera-Tucker – this young Jets team could be bound for a level of success this year not imagined in the off-season. On the other hand, 2022 could be another long season for Jets fans. The time for what-if’s is over; the 2022 season is here upon us and as old coaches always say it’s time to execute.