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Jets’ Zach Wilson Has Extremely Mature Response To Benching

The New York Jets made a major move this week, announcing a quarterback change. Zach Wilson, who has been starting in place of Aaron Rodgers since he went down with an Achilles injury in Week 1, is being replaced.

Wilson will be relegated to third-string quarterback with Tim Boyle taking over as the starter. His backup will be Trevor Siemian when the Jets take on the Miami Dolphins on Black Friday at 3 p.m. ET.

Moving on from Wilson was a long time coming. He has not produced enough to keep the starting job, contributing to the team’s lack of production offensively. While other things play a part in their ineptitude, Wilson is a big factor.

While his level of play on the field hasn’t improved, one area he has taken steps forward is his maturity. When asked about whether he was being used as a scapegoat by being removed from the starting lineup, he handled it like a professional.

“I don’t think I’m being scapegoated. Absolutely not,” Wilson said, via video from SNY Jets. “You’ve got to look at the situation. We’re not scoring touchdowns. Like, regardless of what I’m doing, my job as a quarterback is to help us score points. That’s what I’ve said to you guys. I can sit here and say I’ve had a bunch of growth and tremendous whatever this year, but if you’re not scoring touchdowns, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. I get that. That’s a quarterback’s job to help everybody be on the same page, and help everybody get to the right place and do the right things, and we’re not doing that all the way across the board, so you can’t just keep doing the same thing.”

This is the third time in the last two seasons that Wilson has been removed as the team’s starter. In the past, based on some of the press conferences he has held, he very likely would not have handled it as well as he has this week.

The one that sticks out is from the game against the New England Patriots last season. Wilson oversaw a putrid performance by the Jets in which they lost 10-3 on essentially a walkoff punt return for a touchdown where the offense didn’t gain a first down in the second half. 

After the game, he was asked whether and the offense let down the Jets’ defense with their performance. He gave a one-word answer, simply saying no, which he was crushed for by the media and fans. That lack of awareness is something that no longer seems to exist, as Wilson is taking this most recent benching as well as you can expect.

“Not surprised, either way,” Wilson said. “Like I said to you guys, when not scoring touchdowns consistently, and [when] we’re letting our defense down and [when] we’re not putting up points, what do you expect? You can sit there and be happy with the progress I feel like I’ve made personally, but like, it doesn’t matter if you can’t score, and I truly understand that. It starts with the quarterback, and it’s finding a way to get it done, and we’re not doing that. If you keep doing the same thing, nothing is going to change. So, I understand.”

Taking ownership and accountability for his performance is an encouraging sign. Wilson has come a long way in that regard and shows that he has at least made improvements in some capacity in his time with the team.

While his tenure with the Jets is likely coming to an end, Wilson is at least going out with some grace. Teams pay attention to everything and his handling of the situation could very well help him land a job elsewhere in 2024.

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