While I have been the biggest critic of Zach Wilson, I also have been his biggest advocate.
This one is personal.
I have been tirelessly writing articles since last November advocating for Jets’ General Manager Joe Douglas to upgrade the offensive tackle position to provide better pass protection for his quarterback.
I was also the one writing not to rush Wilson back after his knee injury last season, but did Douglas listen?
No, with the season already being a wash (2-8), Douglas raced Wilson out there against Houston.
He came up limping.
Wilson even expounded after that game, “It’s not fully healed and we understand that, but I feel good to play and that’s why I’m playing."
Douglas dodged a bullet.
Prior to the Eagles’ preseason opener, I wrote, “The Jets may want to strongly consider resting Wilson in a town that’s well-known for punishing opposing QB’s.”
While Wilson’s right knee injury Friday night was on the same knee he injured last season, it did not result from contact.
That is even more concerning from an evaluation standpoint.
Non-contact re-injuries are the most concerning of all injuries, because they point to the weakness and tenderness of the specific area of the body that was previously injured.
When Wilson went down the other night, it reminded me of what happened to Robert Griffin III (RGIII).
Washington raced him back to the field in the playoffs against Seattle under the watch of Mike and Kyle Shanahan on January 6, 2013.
RGIII was lined up in shotgun formation as their QB, and his knee folded, attempting to catch a low snap.
He was never the same.
Everyone thought (hoped) he was ready to come back in the playoffs, but his big clunky looking knee brace was a sobering reminder he wasn’t ready.
Anyone should have been able to see that, most of all, his coaches.
Ironically, Jets’ Head Coach Robert Saleh comes from that same coaching tree.
I am going to be the first to say it, I believe Wilson’s right knee is career-threatening.
If I were the Jets’ GM, I would make the tough decision to sit Wilson this season.
Because I care more about Wilson as a person than I do as a QB.
I don’t know if a year is enough time because I’m not a doctor, or if the right knee is degenerative and it’s delaying the inevitable?
What I do know as a former Jets’ scout, is how hard the right knee is worked for a mobile right-handed QB.
Wilson puts a lot of pressure on his right knee as he plants and drives off his right leg to throw.
Another factor is the tremendous punishment his body took last year.
Wilson was sacked 44 times in 2021 (third-most in the league) and he came up visibly limping two other times outside of the injury play (vs. NE and HOU).
He was hit another umpteen times, and he avoided countless hits because of his mobility that depends on his right knee to be able to spring him out of trouble.
Add in the fact New York’s schedule this season is littered with elite pass rushers, and the math does not look good to get him back out there.
I know this is the last thing Jets fans want to read, and it’s the last thing I want to write, but didn’t we learn anything from Mekhi Becton?
On August 5, Connor Hughes (SNY) tweeted a picture of Becton wearing a right knee brace.
On August 8, SNY tweeted video of Becton hobbling around and paying attention to his right knee that was giving him noticeable discomfort during the morning practice.
Later that day, Becton went down.
For the sake of Wilson’s health, the responsible decision needs to be made to sit him in 2022.
It’s not worth the risk.
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