No. 2 -- Zach Wilson -- will again be the No. 1 quarterback when the Jets host the Houston Texans on Sunday, and will remain the starter for the rest of the regular season, HC Robert Saleh said early Wednesday.
After Saleh said that Wilson gives the team "the best chance to win" in the morning, in the late afternoon Wilson embraced the opportunity anew as the Jets try to snap a five-game losing streak with five games to play.
"I believe for whatever reason when things go bad, things go bad," Wilson said. "I know the locker room and I have a great relationship. Everybody knows I care about this team and will do all I can for the guys in the locker room."
He added: "I'm excited. Any opportunity you get in this league is a good one. More than anything I love and care for these guys, especially this year, which has been extremely challenging. I'm excited to get back on the field with these guys."
Saleh lifted Wilson from the game three weeks ago during the 32-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills, replacing him with Tim Boyle. Likewise, after two starts, Boyle was replaced in last Sunday's loss to visiting Atlanta, with Trevor Siemian taking over. On Monday, the Jets released Boyle and signed Brett Rypien (now the third, emergency QB) off Seattle's practice squad.
Also on Monday, Wilson confirmed that he was meeting with Saleh "catching up on other stuff" when he told his third-year coach that he wanted to play and try to alter the narrative.
"The opportunity came up and I told him I wanted the ball," Wilson said.
To say it's been an up-and-down year for Wilson would be an understatement. After the 2022 NFL season ended with the Jets on the short end of a six-game losing streak, GM Joe Douglas and Saleh said the organization would pursue a veteran quarterback. That player turned out to be the four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who was acquired from the Packers in a trade days before the 2023 NFL Draft.
The initial plan to have Wilson study and mature under Rodgers' wing exploded on opening night when Rodgers sustained a torn Achilles tendon four plays into what turned out to be a come-from-behind OT victory over defending AFC East champion Buffalo -- led by Wilson. Wilson went 3-6 as the starter, completing 59.2% of his passes for 1,944 yards with 6 TDs and 7 INTs. In the first seven weeks of the season, Wilson led the NFL with four fourth-quarter comeback victories (including over Buffalo and Philadelphia), but the offense sputtered and Saleh made the change.
"When you're not scoring or moving the ball, I had to make the question how can I be better,," Wilson said. "I'm thinking to myself how I can help us score more and move the ball better. We all have the intention of helping the team move the ball and scoring points. All I can do is keep doing my job."
He added: "I want to play for these guys, they mean the world to me. They show up every day ready to battle. I really think it [sitting the past two games] has made me stronger. It's frustrating, of course. I need to play better, I need to keep working to get better."
At the conclusion of his spell in front of the news media late Wednesday, Wilson was asked if he was upset about the situation he and the Jets find themselves in.
"I think it's a mix," he said. "I will have more fun in a professional way. Of course there's a chip [on the shoulder]. I need to prove something. Everyone wants to show that off, that the mindset doesn't matter. What matters is how we finish and making sure I handle it the right way, while trying to enjoy it at the same time."
See the Jets on the practice field during Wednesday's practice to kick off Texans week.