Jets’ Zach Wilson Breaks Silence After Getting Benched

by Suzanne Halliburton
Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Zach Wilson learned a tough lesson this week, one that led to his benching as the starting quarterback with the New York Jets.

Mike White will be QB1 in the Jets game against the Chicago Bears. Wilson, the No. 2 pick of the 2021 NFL draft, will be on the bench. And aside from poor play, his answer to a reporter’s question also led to his demotion on the depth chart. Here’s the back story. Wilson threw for only 77 yards last Sunday against the Patriots. The Jets lost 10-3. When asked if he believed he let the Jets defense down, Wilson said “no.” That’s it. The team leader took no responsibility. Now, White will start.

Zach Wilson spoke to reporters Wednesday about losing his starting job.

“It’s tough, man, it’s never fun,” Wilson said in his media availability. “But the first thing that kinda went to my mind was, ‘I gotta get to work. I gotta get better.’ I’m gonna approach that every single day, just keep working to get better.”

Zach Wilson also said: “I wouldn’t say necessarily surprised, because I haven’t been doing my job. Of course, I would like to not agree with the decision and everything, but it comes down to I gotta play better.”

He does need to get better, although his outing against the Patriots was his worst of the season. He’s hard three other games this fall in which he failed to generate more than 155 yards passing. He ranks 31st in the NFL in passing yardage with 1,279. But the Jets still are 6-4.

New York coach Robert Saleh said Wilson’s stint at second team probably is temporary.

“Zach’s career here is not over,” Saleh said. “I know that’s going to be the narrative, I know that’s what everyone wants to shout out and that’s not even close to the case. The intent, the full intent, is to make sure Zach gets back on the football field at some point this year. When that is, I’m going to make that decision and take it day-to-day.”

Zach Wilson also acknowledged that his post-game comments weren’t cool. He said he apologized to his team.

“The way that I handled the situation wasn’t right. I gotta be a better football player,” he said. “And then I gotta be a better leader to these guys. I have an opportunity to turn the page here as a player and as a leader to be able to take a step forward and be able to be here 100% for my guys and be able to handle the situation right.”