NY Jets won't play Zach Wilson until Week 4 at the 'earliest'

NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets have been without starting quarterback Zach Wilson to start the 2022 season with the former second overall pick out nursing a knee injury.

The hope has been that Wilson will return for the team's Week 4 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, although there was some optimism that he could return even sooner after his rehab process seemed to be going well.

However, head coach Robert Saleh put an end to those talks on Monday when he confirmed that Joe Flacco would once again start for the Jets this Sunday. Not only that, but he told reporters that the "earliest" Wilson would be ready is next week against the Steelers.

Saleh left the door open for Wilson to potentially miss more time than was originally expected.

Could the NY Jets be without Zach Wilson in Week 4?

Wilson returned to practice in a limited capacity for the first time last week and looked good participating in 7-on-7 drills. He was running without a noticeable limp and looked like someone ready to return to action.

That said, the Jets are playing it extremely cautious with their second-year quarterback. As SNY's Connor Hughes put it, they don't want Wilson to play until he's "110%."

Wilson may very well be able to play this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, but the Jets don't want to rush anything. They're comfortable with Flacco, especially after his 300-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

It was expected that Wilson wouldn't return until Week 4, but is it possible that he misses even more time? It's feasible, but I wouldn't count on it.

Saleh has gotten burned by his optimistic injury updates in the past so it's more than likely that he's just playing it safe with his verbiage here. He doesn't want to make any commitments in case Wilson suffers an unexpected setback.

In other words, he's using "coach speak."

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Wilson still appears on track to return when the Jets take on the Steelers in Week 4. One more week of Joe Flacco as the Jets look to climb to above .500 for the first time since 2018.