The NY Jets have officially made the decision to bench quarterback Zach Wilson in favor of Mike White ahead of the team's Week 12 meeting with the Chicago Bears.
This comes following another disastrous performance from Wilson in the team's 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots. The QB's postgame comments likely didn't do him many favors either or make him any friends in the locker room.
When speaking to reporters on Wednesday, head coach Robert Saleh revealed that there might be "a little irritation" in the locker room at the moment, largely due to Wilson's questionable postgame remarks.
Benching Wilson, the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, after just 20 career starts is an almost unprecedented move for a team that's 6-4 and right in the middle of a playoff race.
But that just speaks to how bad Wilson has been and how frustrated his comments made some in the locker room. This was a move that was made almost out of necessity.
Why the NY Jets had to bench Zach Wilson for Mike White
The Jets didn't want it to come to this, and quite frankly, it might not have if Wilson had answered his postgame press conference question differently. In fact, a lot of teams/coaches wouldn't have pulled the trigger in a similar situation.
In doing so, however, the Jets prioritized winning. They prioritized the team over one player's development. That speaks volumes to how Saleh and the Jets feel about this roster.
They believe the Jets have a playoff-caliber roster with a championship-caliber defense. Saleh wants to win — as do the guys in that locker room. It was getting harder and harder to justify trotting out a struggling quarterback every week, especially one who seemingly lost the respect of a lot of his teammates.
At the same time, the Jets have reiterated that this isn't the end of the road for Wilson. There was a telling quote from Saleh in that press conference. He told reporters that there were parts of Wilson's game that would "continue to deteriorate" if the Jets continued to throw him out there.
This is about winning games, but it's also about allowing Wilson an opportunity to sit and watch from the sideline. There's a reason Saleh said Wilson wouldn't even be active in Week 3 — Joe Flacco will be QB2.
The Jets don't want Zach Wilson playing football games right now. That decision was made for a number of reasons related to winning and his long-term development.
Whatever the case, it was the correct decision.