Connect with us

Sports

Wilson move marks turning point for Jets

Robert Saleh and the Jets set the tone for Wednesday’s decision all the way back in training camp. With the rest of the team finally turning a corner, it’s a good thing.

News Agencies

Published

on

In early August, on the day the New York Jets lost first-round offensive tackle Mekhi Becton due to injury for yet another season, head coach Robert Saleh began to grapple with the impact it could have on Zach Wilson. General manager Joe Douglas had retreated to his office and was lining up potential free agent options to patch the offensive line, while Saleh leaned against a practice facility wall and contemplated what this meant for his presumed franchise quarterback.

I asked him if this would change his calculus for Wilson. After all, losing an anchor tackle wasn’t a small thing.

Saleh brushed off the suggestion.

“It is frustrating, but let’s just call it like it is — nobody cares,” he said. “If you’re going to preach to guys about it being a ‘next man up’ mentality, you have to be prepared to live up to that. You’ve got to perform. End of story. It’s the same expectations for everybody out there. It’s the same expectations for Zach. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us, so we better not be feeling sorry for ourselves.”

He paused for a tick and then underscored a bottom line that would come to define the season ahead.

“We’ve got to find a way to make it work,” Saleh said.

At the time, it didn’t seem like much of a revelatory moment. Coaches are notorious for speaking in these kinds of clichés — next man up, get the job done, nobody feels sorry for us, etc. Especially in training camp, when talk is cheap and the losses haven’t piled up yet. But there was a very believable no-BS tone in how Saleh was relaying the message on this particular day. The Jets were coming off a deeply disappointing 4-13 season in which Wilson’s development and the toothless defense — which was supposed to be Saleh’s wheelhouse — were going to be seismic issues in 2022.

Looking back at Saleh’s “no excuses” reaction to the loss of Becton, something else about that day also stands out: Asked to put a coaching microscope on Wilson and come up with his most important point of emphasis, Saleh answered in a nanosecond.

Robert Saleh and and the Jets benching Zach Wilson might be a good sign, one that says the organization isn't accepting underperformance anymore. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Robert Saleh and and the Jets benching Zach Wilson might be a good sign, one that says the organization isn’t accepting underperformance anymore. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

“For me, it’s the intangibles,” he said. “How is he carrying himself? How is he leading? He’s got all the physical tools. We know that. But it’s the intangibles that really set players apart at the quarterback position.”

Once again with those training camp clichés — yet Saleh isn’t wrong. A repetitive principle about quarterbacks can get pounded into dust in the NFL every year and still be true. And in this case with the Jets, it has proven true. It’s nearly four months later and Zach Wilson’s intangibles remain a question for the organization. And coming off last week’s remarkably tone-deaf answer about whether he felt like he let the defense down (“No,” Wilson said without hesitation), it’s probably fair to question whether his leadership has some distance to travel, too.

It’s fair to presume that this is how Wilson got benched by the Jets Wednesday. By blowing through a red light question and wrecking in the middle of the intersection where avenues of leadership and “no excuses” meet. And to make matters worse, doing it in a season where that other issue from last year, Saleh’s defense, has been catching nothing but green lights.

Reflecting back on Saleh in August and then pressing it against Wilson’s performance and recent demeanor, it’s no wonder he’s getting sat down. Perhaps it’s not permanent, as Saleh suggested on Wednesday. But it’s certainly necessary when so many other parts of the roster and coaching staff have gotten themselves over a significant hump.

In a way, you could argue that what is transpiring right now is a good thing for the Jets. Because it’s suggestive that the franchise is becoming more of product of in-season culture building than offseason tough-talking. The team is 6-4, stacking young building blocks and making progress that’s worth fighting for. Particularly after six straight years of averaging less than five wins a season and feeling hopeless almost anywhere you looked on the depth chart.

Having standards is a good thing. Living up to them is a great thing. Especially when that applies to a franchise quarterback who was selected No. 2 overall and given ample opportunities to showcase some kind of growth. Wilson has had some moments, but not enough to justify a belief that he’s on the right track. Right now, he isn’t. That means something had to change. It means the Jets had to showcase to everyone and themselves that there was a willingness to make a hard choice — even if some might not agree with it.

That doesn’t mean Wilson is done in New York. It just means the program has changed and he’s on notice. Like Saleh said about the Becton injury in August, this might be frustrating — but nobody cares. Find a way to make it work. Understand the expectations and act accordingly.

That mentality is precisely what is shaping the Jets right now. And Wednesday is the proof that it now applies to everyone in the organization.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Breaking News

Advertisement

Editor Pick’s

Latest Entertainment

Entertainment2 hours ago

‘The Voice’ frontrunner gets eliminated while in COVID lockdown: ‘I can’t believe you’re in a box still’

Bottom three Rowan Grace and Kim Cruse await their fate, while Kiqué waits in COVID lockdown, on ‘The Voice’ Season...

Entertainment6 hours ago

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West finally settle divorce, rapper will pay $200K a month in child support

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West finally settle divorce. (Photo: Reuters) Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have finally settled their divorce,...

Entertainment8 hours ago

Mamma mia! The Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer reveals Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong, Anya Taylor-Joy’s Peach

   So far, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has introduced audiences to Chris Pratt as the titular mustachioed Italian, Charlie...

Entertainment9 hours ago

Country singer Jake Flint, 37, dies unexpectedly just hours after his wedding

Country singer Jake Flint has died at age 37. (Photo: YouTube) Oklahoma country music artist Jake Flint died unexpectedly over...

Entertainment10 hours ago

‘Easy Rider’ Reboot in the Works: Rights Holders to Update Dennis Hopper-Peter Fonda Classic (EXCLUSIVE)

A reimagining of the classic 1969 counterculture film “Easy Rider” is in early development, Variety has learned exclusively. A consortium...

Entertainment11 hours ago

Steve Martin & Martin Short, Austin Butler to Host ‘Saturday Night Live’ in December

Steve Martin and Martin Short are set to co-host “Saturday Night Live” in December, with “Elvis” star Austin Butler also...

Entertainment11 hours ago

Amy Grant says bicycle accident gave her an opportunity to reflect on her life: ‘That’s a gift for anybody’

Amy Grant, pictured in 2021 in Nashville. (Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ACM) Just four months ago, Amy Grant was...

Entertainment11 hours ago

Joe Pesci reveals that he had sustained ‘serious burns’ while shooting ‘Home Alone 2’

Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci as the Wet Bandits in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. (Photo: 20th Century...

Latest Sports

Sports57 mins ago

Louisville and Cal both fall to 0-7, simultaneously post worst starts in major conference history

What if Louisville and Cal just played each other for the rest of the season?

Sports1 hour ago

Luke Fickell & Hugh Freeze find new jobs, reacting to the latest College Football Playoff rankings & where does Coach Prime end up?

Dan Wetzel, SI’s Pat Forde & SI’s Ross Dellenger break down all of the biggest college football hires along with...

Sports2 hours ago

Aaron Judge free agency buzz: Slugger could be nearing decision on where to sign

Here is the latest buzz surrounding Yankees star Aaron Judge's free agency...

Sports2 hours ago

World Cup scores, updates: Denmark vs. Australia, France vs. Tunisia, Mexico vs. Saudi Arabia, Poland vs. Argentina

What does Lionel Messi have in store on Wednesday? Argentina can advance to the knockout rounds of the World Cup...

Sports3 hours ago

World Cup 2022: The win-and-advance scenario is simple for the USMNT on Tuesday

The United States is on to the knockout rounds with a win over Iran.

Sports3 hours ago

Revealed: The proof that Cristiano Ronaldo did not touch the ball

It seemed like quintessential Cristiano Ronaldo when the Portugal captain ghosted between Uruguay defenders to get the faintest of headers...

Sports3 hours ago

Boxing ref admits he cheated for Manny Pacquiao during win in 2000, opponent responds

Manny Pacquiao got plenty of time after a fourth-round knockdown against Nedal Hussein.

Sports4 hours ago

Goal was just as Pulisic envisioned it … almost

Christian Pulisic called his shot, then scored one of the biggest goals in USMNT history vs. Iran in the World...

Technology Hot News

Is Elon Musk Really Going to Buy Twitter? Is Elon Musk Really Going to Buy Twitter?
Technology1 month ago

Is Elon Musk Really Going to Buy Twitter?

Elon Musk, the owner of the electric car company Tesla, CEO of SpaceX, and the richest man in the world,...

WhatsApp services were affected across Pakistan, restored after 2 hours WhatsApp services were affected across Pakistan, restored after 2 hours
Technology1 month ago

WhatsApp services were affected across Pakistan, restored after 2 hours

WhatsApp services were affected in various countries of the world, including Pakistan, and India due to this users were facing...

Bitcoin vs Litecoin: A guide to understanding cryptocurrencies Bitcoin vs Litecoin: A guide to understanding cryptocurrencies
Technology2 months ago

Bitcoin vs Litecoin: A guide to understanding cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies currently occupy an odd place in society. They are no longer the super niche bizarre currency beloved by tech...

Personal data of people is selling on Google Play and Google Ads Personal data of people is selling on Google Play and Google Ads
Editor Picks3 months ago

Personal data of people are sold on Google Play and Google Ads

It’s been two to three years since Google has been unknowingly hosting multiple apps from malicious actors who sell personal...

Protonmail is down a second time in the past 24 hours Protonmail is down a second time in the past 24 hours
Technology5 months ago

Protonmail is down a second time in the past 24 hours

An end-to-end encrypted email service Protonmail is down a second time in the past 24 hours, netizens reported on social...

What's better for the student: a tablet or a laptop What's better for the student: a tablet or a laptop
Technology6 months ago

What’s better for the student: a tablet or a laptop

Some analysts argue that computers have outlived their usefulness. There is some truth in this: PC and laptop sales are...

Tesla founder Elon Musk holds the Twitter deal temporary Tesla founder Elon Musk holds the Twitter deal temporary
Technology7 months ago

Tesla founder Elon Musk holds the Twitter deal temporary

USA: Elon Musk, the founder of companies like Tesla and SpaceX, can actually buy anything in the world. Last month,...

How Zafar Supari is utilizing his ability on Snapchat? How Zafar Supari is utilizing his ability on Snapchat?
Technology7 months ago

How Zafar Supari is utilizing his ability on Snapchat?

Pakistan: Zafar Supari a public figure, businessman, and social media sensation has crossed one hundred thirty-three thousand 133k subscribers on...