Why the NY Jets made a mistake benching Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson should be starting on Friday
NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Bryan M. Bennett/GettyImages

It's no secret that I was never a supporter of drafting Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in 2021. I believed that the Jets had failed Sam Darnold and had a bonafide opportunity to right the wrongs they’d done by him and actually fulfill the promise Joe Douglas made to his parents.

I believed by trading back that pick, the king’s ransom they’d receive would finally give them years of sustained roster-building around a QB who, in three years, had never shared the field with a quality skill player or offensive line ranked above 30th out of 32.

Rumors of the time suggested that new head coach Robert Saleh and his friend offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur agreed with me, but Joe Douglas fell head over heels for a throw Wilson made on a pro day without pads despite the fact that Darnold made that exact same throw in a real NFL game earlier that season.

Look at what the Miami Dolphins got for trading the third overall pick of that same season — they were able to jumpstart their entire franchise, acquire and draft elite talent, and currently sit atop the AFC East.

I will spare you the overwhelming amount of statistics, data, and footage that can be made to evaluate Wilson. The summation is he is literally the worst QB in Jets history to be named the Week 1 starter and one of the worst talents to ever play the position consistently in the NFL. He is arguably the worst pick the Jets have ever made, including Vernon Gholston.

But he should probably start this game.

Why the NY Jets should be starting Zach Wilson on Friday

His accuracy has improved enough to where he can complete screen passes, and he also feels comfortable pushing the ball down the field. Between Wilson, Tim Boyle, and Trevor Siemian, there are zero players in this sentence who are worthy of starting a game, let alone being in the NFL.

Trevor Siemian was deemed not good enough to be a backup for the Cincinnati Bengals this year and was cut by that organization.

He may have shown promise with an 11:3 TD: INT ratio in six starts in 2021, but everything he’s done since (including getting crushed by the Jets defense last season) has been the work of a guy who was on his way out of the league before Douglas gave him this contract.

I'll go into great detail about how bad Tim Boyle is in another article, but please know that he is the worst of this bunch. I assure you there are teams in the XFL that wouldn’t call this guy back. If the Jets are trying to save this lost season and are truly desperate, they should finally unleash Zach Wilson with no training wheels.

We’ve seen this occur in glimpses — but not under Nathaniel Hackett. Look at his performance in last year’s tilt against the Detroit Lions. Zach was throwing bombs off of play action, and his stat line at the half was probably the best it’s ever been: 8-of-14 for 185 yards, one touchdown, and a passer rating of 125.6.

He opened up the second half with a very careless and lazy pick, and they immediately put the training wheels back on him and forced him to only throw short passes for the rest of the game.

Look at Josh Allen –—the league leader in interceptions who also happens to be the league leader in touchdowns. The only other QB in the league with 12 interceptions is Sam Howell, who has 18 touchdowns (more than Wilson in the last two years combined) and leads the league as the only man who has thrown 3,000 yards this season so far.

For gunslingers, sometimes the bad comes with the good, but that good will never come if they’re afraid to make mistakes. C.J. Stroud knows you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.

And let me be abundantly clear – Zach Wilson is not good. But for some reason, the Jets continue to amplify his weaknesses instead of working toward his strengths.

Even when you look at the two Hail Marys thrown at the end of the PATRIOTS and Raiders games, you see a guy who had to evade pressure and then be able to flick the ball 50 yards accurately downfield in a hurry. He did this successfully both times and hit his teammates in the hands, but they were unable to catch it.

I can assure you neither Tim Boyle nor Trevor Siemian have the physical ability to do any of that. They do not have Wilson's mobility. They do not have the arm strength that Wilson has. They do not have the ability to contort their body and throw at all sorts of arm angles like Wilson can.

So unless they have some sort of hidden strengths (they don’t), starting them is a much more hopeless proposition than someone who has proven to have very clear strengths and weaknesses.

The choice to bench Wilson is crazy to me, but to give Boyle the first crack over Siemian should be illegal. I’m convinced that this regime is trying to tank for some reason.

At 4-6, the Jets have already won too many games for a top-five pick, but maybe there’s someone who has their eye at the 7-13 range. That’s the only reason to so aggressively keep making the wrong choice. Carson Wentz was at their doorstep two weeks ago, and they turned him away.

Carson Wentz, the same guy who just two years ago threw 27 touchdowns in the season, was deemed unfit for the team. That is more touchdowns than Wilson and Boyle have thrown combined in their entire careers.

Joe Douglas took one look at Wentz, said, “No, we’re good,” and then proceeded to descend into an extremely foreseeable QB hell a mere two weeks later.

Now, in that hell, they are counting on the worst QB in the room with the worst resume to dig them out of this hole. We are witnessing a masterclass in frustratingly curious decision-making.