Zach Wilson will be back in the saddle again when he steps under center as the Jets' starting quarterback this afternoon at MetLife Stadium against Detroit.
But the Jets' celebrated defense will have to take on QB Jared Goff and the prolific Lions offense minus two of their starters due to injuries. Both DL Quinnen Williams (calf) and S Lamarcus Joyner (hip) have been listed as inactive for the Lions.
Wilson, who was deactivated the first three games of the season following a knee procedure and rehab, then was inactive the past three games as Mike White was elevated to starter. returns for his eighth start of the season after the Jets medical team advised that White not play due to the rib injury he suffered at Buffalo last week. White is inactive and Joe Flacco will be Wilson's backup.
A win would raise Wilson's record as the Jets starter this year to 6-2 but more important would improve the Jets to 8-6, the same as the Dolphins' mark after they fell at Buffalo on Saturday night as each team in the AFC East continues to pursue one of the conference's seven playoff berths.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh declined to speculate that Wilson would regain the starting job with a successful outing vs. the Lions, 6-7, winners of five of their last six and similarly in the hunt for an NFC postseason berth. However, Saleh said, "This is just a great opportunity for him to just get back on track and do what we know he's capable of."
See the players arriving for the Week 15 home game.
On the Jets' defensive side of the ball, Williams, in the middle of a career season, went into this game "50/50" in Saleh's estimation due to the non-contact calf injury he suffered in the second quarter vs. the Bills.
The Jets will still throw their impressive array of front-four pass rushers at Goff: Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Bryce Huff, Vinny Curry, interior DL Sheldon Rankins and rookie rushers Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons (back in action after sitting out the Bills game with illness). Practice squad member Tanzel Smart has also been elevated for this game. The Jets defenders need a strong effort to combine with the expected gusty 40-degree outdoor weather of North Jersey instead of his climate-controlled home stadium of Ford Field to get Goff off his game.
The Jets also had a Saturday injury listing in Joyner, who practiced full all week but came up with a hip injury.
The team did not release the starting replacements on defense. Nathan Shepherd and Solomon Thomas are Williams' backups on the interior of the Jets DL while Ashtyn Davis is available after spending two weeks inactive due to a hamstring injury but practiced full this week. Also at safety are rookie Tony Adams and Will Parks, released early in the week, then signed to the practice squad and elevated back to the active roster.
Veteran WR Corey Davis, in the NFL concussion protocol, is also inactive. And CB Brandin Echols (quadriceps) is inactive, with CB Bryce Hall, deactivated the past 12 games, active for the first time since the season opener vs. Baltimore.
The illness bug visited the Jets two weeks ago and this week it was the Lions' turn. Starting DL Aidan Hutchinson was out of Wednesday's practice, as were two backups, DL Michael Brockers and CB Mike Hughes. Hutchinson, listed as questionable for the game, is active, as is Hughes. On Saturday the Lions, downgraded the veteran Brockers to out and added backup RB Justin Jackson to their injury report as questionable. Jackson is also active.
Here is the Jets' seven-man inactive list for today's game:
- QB Mike White
- RB James Robinson
- CB Brandin Echols
- S Lamarcus Joyner
- WR Corey Davis
- TE Jeremy Ruckert
- DL Quinnen Williams
And this is the Lions' inactive list:
- DL Austin Bryant
- QB Joshua Dobbs
- RB Craig Reynolds
- LB Derrick Barnes
- G Ross Pierschbacher
- G Kayode Awosika
- DL Michael Brockers