Jets’ Robert Saleh – Zach Wilson will be QB No.  2 for the Lions game

Jets’ Robert Saleh – Zach Wilson will be QB No. 2 for the Lions game

Jets’ Robert Saleh – Zach Wilson will be QB No.  2 for the Lions game

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Quarterback Zach Wilson will step into uniform Sunday for the first time in four weeks — as a backup for the New York Jets.

Wilson, benched Nov. 23 in favor of Mike White, will replace Joe Flacco as the No. 2 quarterback. 2 for Sunday’s deciding game against the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium.

Coach Robert Saleh’s decision, which he announced on Wednesday, is significant as White is battling a rib injury. He is expected to start the match, Saleh said, although his training time on Wednesday was limited. The Jets have not disclosed the exact nature of the injury.

White’s injury, coupled with Flacco’s ineffective relief outing in Sunday’s 20-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills, appears to have opened the door for Wilson’s elevation, though Saleh called it “a coincidence.”

Wilson, drawn up in no. 2 in 2021, he spent the last three weeks as a quarterback on the scout team during the week and inactive on Sundays. The Jets called the bench a “reset” saying they wanted him to hone his fundamentals without having the pressure of having to prepare for an opponent.

“Zach did a great job,” Saleh said. “He’s been deliberate in his approach over the last three weeks. He’s held himself accountable in regards to how he wants to attack in training, how he’s performed in training, going against our defence, which I think is a good enough defense to go against. He worked on all the different things that we asked him to make.”

Saleh has argued in recent weeks that he would like to play Wilson again before the season ends, but the window is closing. In all likelihood, the Jets (7-6) will continue with White unless they drop out of contention. Saleh said he takes it week by week. White is only 1-2 as a starter, but the offense is averaging 420 yards and 22 points per game with him at quarterback. He averages just 287 yards and 21 points with Wilson, who has won five of seven starts.

“He’s a very talented young man, a very talented young man,” Saleh said of Wilson. “We’re in the business of developing boys, and I’ve said it before: This is Mike White’s opportunity, and he’s attacking the opportunity. He’s doing great.

“But at the same time, we have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to develop Zach to a point where we know he’s capable of.”

White was hit by the Bills’ pass rush, which forced him out of the game on two occasions. Flacco came off the bench for a total of seven snaps, and it wasn’t looking good. He fumbled on a strip sack and completed only one of three passes for 1 yard.

White, after a medical evaluation which included X-rays, ended the game. Subsequently, he was taken by ambulance to a Buffalo-area hospital for precautionary testing. On Monday, he told reporters he felt well enough to start against the Lions.

“We are still working as if he were playing this week,” Saleh said on Wednesday.

For 37-year-old Flacco, a former Super Bowl MVP with the Baltimore Ravens, this marks the second time this season he’s been relegated to the third row. It also happened in October when the Jets decided to make White the QB2 behind Wilson.

This was a strange year for Flacco, who started the first three games (1-2) as Wilson recovered from preseason knee surgery.

Wilson was benched after a 77-yard passing performance in a 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots, a game in which he completed only nine of 22 passes.

He created a firestorm in his postgame press conference by refusing to take responsibility for the offense’s poor performance. This angered some players, sources said, and likely influenced Saleh’s decision to seat him. A few days later, Wilson apologized for his postgame comments.

In other injury developments, the Jets could be without star defensive forward Quinnen Williams (calf), who hasn’t practiced and is still considered 50-50 to play, Saleh said. Wide receiver Corey Davis (concussion) also hasn’t practiced, but he’s “on target” to play Sunday, Saleh said.

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