The Jets will be without Zach Wilson for the first three regular season games of 2022.
Wednesday morning NFL insider Ian Rapoport broke the story that veteran backup quarterback Joe Flacco will be starting the opener for the Jets against Baltimore.
Sources: The #Jets are starting QB Joe Flacco on Sunday vs. the #Ravens, as Flacco is set to face his old team. Zach Wilson (knee) is progressing well, but not quite ready. pic.twitter.com/NET7CiF1Om— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 7, 2022
This was disappointing albeit not entirely shocking news. The Jets’ initial timeframe on Wilson’s recovery from the knee injury he suffered against the Eagles in preseason was 2-4 weeks. The injury happened 4 weeks ago, putting us right at the upper limit. It always seemed possible that the Jets would be without their second year quarterback the first week of the season.
However, Robert Saleh gave a big surprise when he addressed the media at practice today. The surprise was not good.
#Jets coach Robert Saleh announces Flacco as the starter and says the earliest Zach Wilson will play is Week 4 vs the #Steelers. https://t.co/9RMOe0znpk— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 7, 2022
Despite this new timeframe, the Jets will not put Wilson on injured reserve. Even if he is not playing, the Jets want him to be able to practice, which he would not be eligible to do on IR.
Zach Wilson will be able to practice with the team, which explain why he’s not on IR. He had no setbacks. This is just where it stands. https://t.co/9RMOe0znpk— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 7, 2022
I think this is a logical approach. Wilson shouldn’t be on the field until he is healthy enough to take part in a full week of practice as the team installs the gameplan. If there are smaller things he can do, it makes sense to have him on the practice field.
This is obviously a negative development for the Jets. Wilson being on the field is in the franchise’s best interest, but injuries happen.
I don’t know how much it matters at the end of the day, but for their part I don’t think the public communication on Wilson’s health could have been handled much worse by the Jets. This is a most unpleasant surprise, and it isn’t clear why they left everybody with the impression this would be a shorter term injury up until today. There is no better way to antagonize your fanbase than make them believe Wilson could start Week 1 and then suddenly declare him out for at least three games.