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Jets HC Robert Saleh Names QB Zach Wilson Starter vs. Houston

No. 2 Overall Pick in 2021 Is Back in the Lineup After Two Weeks as Emergency Third Quarterback


Head coach Robert Saleh named QB Zach Wilson the Jets starter for their Week 14 game Sunday against Houston at MetLife Stadium.

"Zach gives us our best chance to win and we are giving him another opportunity to go prove that," Saleh said Wednesday. He added: "He has undeniable talent. Undeniable arm talent and athleticism. And when he plays with that f-it mentality, he is pretty good."

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft was replaced by QB Tim Boyle in the Jets' Week 11 32-6 loss to the Bills and had been listed as the team's emergency third QB the past two games.

In Sunday's game against the Falcons, Boyle, the Jets' starter the past two weeks, was relieved by QB Trevor Siemian with 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The team released Boyle Tuesday and signed veteran QB Brett Rypien from the Seahawks practice squad. With the 7-5 Texans next on the schedule, the Jets will go back to Wilson, who has made 9 starts this season. Siemian will be the backup and Rypien will be the emergency third QB.

"I stand strong on the belief that Zach is going to have a really good career in this league," Saleh said recently. "He has got tremendous work ethic. He has gotten a lot better over the course of the last year. He definitely has the arm talent, and he is only 24. He just turned 24. He has a positive outlook, and he just needs to continue to focus on his game."

The third-year QB was thrust into action in Week 1 after future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers sustained a torn Achilles tendon four plays into the opener. This season, Wilson is 3-6 as a starter and has completed 59.2% of his passes for 1,944 yards with 6 TDs and 7 INTs.

When a decision was made to make Boyle the starter, Wilson said he would help however he could in the classroom and from the sideline.

"I've dedicated my life to this," Wilson said. "I absolutely love this game and it sucks to come short and to feel like it hasn't been there, but everyone's going to keep fighting. Even though I'm not on the field, I'm going to do everything I can to keep helping. I still believe this offense can be great."

On Monday, LB Quincy Williams talked about engaged Wilson remained even as the team's No. 3 QB.

"He has been in meetings and was one of the first ones out before the game throwing passes," Williams said. "And then at practice, he makes sure we are getting a good look from a defensive perspective. He is giving energy on the field."

The Jets' offense has continued to struggle the past two weeks, scoring 12 points and accumulating 418 yards total yards. With Wilson back under center, the Jets hope to regain the form that led to 4-3 start.

In the first seven weeks, Wilson led the NFL with four fourth-quarter comeback victories – two of which came against the defending NFC champion Eagles and three-time reigning AFC East champion Buffalo Bills.

"I think he's gotten better," OC Nathaniel Hackett said recently of Wilson. "He's worked hard. It's been a brand-new system. I think there's been so much change. I think that there's been a lot of expectations, and for him, he really did do some good things."

Wilson will make his 10th start of the season against a Texans team right in the mix of the AFC playoff picture. The Jets have played four quarterbacks behind an offensive line that has started 9 different combinations.

"A quarterback is essentially the general of the team, in most cases," said edge Jermaine Johnson. "It is a huge thing to deal with as a team and there is some adversity but the guys in this locker room and the coaches on this staff were built for this kind of adjustment and adversity and I think we are attacking it the right way."

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