The NY Jets circled Wednesday, September 7th as the day that they were going to announce whether Zach Wilson would be available for Week 1.
There were glimmers of hope that Wilson might be ready to go after Saleh indicated that when he is healthy and cleared by the doctors he will be back on the field.
Now it looks like all of that was gamesmanship to plant the idea in the head of the Baltimore Ravens for game planning purposes. Saleh officially announced that Zach Wilson won't be back until at least Week 4.
If Saleh came out and announced that Joe Flacco will start Week 1 and we will take it day-by-day thereafter, then no harm no foul to tease fans a bit with hints of Wilson’s return.
However, Saleh went the other way entirely, stating that Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers would be the earliest possible for Wilson to come back.
This doesn’t make sense of a couple reasons.
First, if his previous statement of Wilson being on the field when the doctors approve and he feels good is to be believed, how is his Week 3 status known this early on? Saleh stated that there have been no setbacks, which fans and the media will have to take his word on.
Secondly, the gamesmanship that was done this week would have been a great card to play on a weekly basis. Keep the defensive game plan up in the air for the opponents with two quarterbacks who have completely different play styles with Flacco and Wilson.
If any of this has to do with simply not wanting to be asked about it or “dealing with the drama” on a week-to-week basis, that is a bad excuse considering it could be a tactical difference in week-to-week game planning.
Even if it was announced internally that he won’t be back until Week 4, there is no need to come out with a public statement.
Also, if there is some indication from doctors that Week 4 will be the earliest he will be out there, wouldn’t it make sense to just put Wilson on the PUP list and open up another roster spot considering this team let go of a lot of NFL talent to get down to the 53-man roster.
This head-scratching decision comes on the heels of Saleh being off about several injury timelines (Mekhi Becton twice within his tenure stands out the most).
Saleh has clearly made an impact on this franchise to establish a certain aura for veterans such as Kwon Alexander and Duane Brown to want to be part of the team.
On the communication front, it’s a bit odd to see some of the routes that he has decided to go down, this Zach Wilson decision being another prime example.
Ideally, this is part of a learning curve for Saleh that he will improve upon. The main issue is that this team needs to start winning soon or patience will run thin.
If Flacco can play the first couple of games at a solid level, with Wilson coming back fully healthy and in a good place mentally and physically then all of this will hopefully be overlooked.
It’s a weird way to open the season though, and worth keeping an eye on over the next number of weeks.