Skip to main content

Are the Jets Risking Zach Wilson’s Career?

The New York Jets are risking the career of QB Zach Wilson by starting him against the Philadelphia Eagles. He hasn't completely recovered from his knee injury.

It was just a matter of time before Jets' quarterback Zach Wilson would get injured. 

Right off the bat in the season opener, Wilson was sacked six times. That number would have even been higher had Wilson not been able to evade the incoming rush a few more times. 

“Neck’s a little sore, a little whiplash, but I’ll be alright,” Wilson said after the game. 

New England blasted Wilson on four more sacks the following week, and quickly Wilson was on track to break the total number of times a QB had been sacked in a single season (David Carr, 76). 

All said and told, Wilson got sacked 19 times in the first five and a half games of the season. It was like watching the Jets playing in the Roman Colosseum. 

It was then, the inevitable happened. 

Wilson went play-action and slid a little to his left, before launching the football errantly from midfield into the endzone, as he took a shot from New England's Matthew Judon. 

Wilson rolled around on the turf in obvious pain. 

Sprained PCL in his right knee was the diagnosis. 

Over the next four games, Wilson's backups came in and did an admirable job in his absence, but for some reason, Wilson was hurried back into the starting lineup this last week against Houston.

Why Wilson was rushed back to start on a 2-8 team is anyone's guess. 

Sure enough, Wilson tweaked the same injured knee in the fourth quarter. On third and 10, Wilson spun out of trouble in the pocket, raced towards the left sideline, before getting nicked by a Texans' linebacker. Wilson stumbled before beginning to limp around. 

It was a big enough issue Wilson's tender right knee was soon after examined by team medical personnel on the bench. 

What did Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh do? 

He put Wilson back into the game. He put Wilson back in the game, the same way he kept Wilson in the game against New England, a few weeks prior when he took that awkward looking shot two plays before he was injured. 

READ: Jets Hoping to Secure First Win Over Eagles in Franchise History

It's like watching what happened to former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III all over again. 

Washington insisted on playing Griffin, arguably before he was ready to come back from a knee injury. He was said to be playing on a "mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee." 


Griffin played in the wildcard game in the playoffs a few weeks later, wearing a bulky looking steel knee brace and that's when it happened. His knee buckled on a low snap. 

The diagnosis was a torn LCL, ACL, meniscus and Griffin was never the same. 

Regardless of Wilson's talent ceiling, the insistence of playing Wilson on a tender knee on a team that has no chance of making the playoffs is a downright reckless decision by team management. 

After the Houston game, Wilson even admitted his knee wasn't 100 percent. 

"It's not fully healed and we understand that, but I feel good enough to play and that's why I'm playing," said Wilson to ESPN. "Sometimes it's going to shift and stretch a little bit, but there's no damage that can come from that. You just have to walk it off and move on." 

Wilson went on to admit the knee "is not fully stable," and it got into his head on a fourth quarter sack. 

“I had tweaked it [while scrambling] and my body just kind of shut down and I just kind of forgot about everything that was going out there because of it,” said Wilson.

Does that sound like a QB who should be out there playing? 

Saleh’s response was “it [Wilson’s knee] checked out fine.” 

READ: Is Garrett Wilson the Jets' WR of the Future?

Wilson was sacked another four times against Houston, and God only knows how many times he has been hit this season on top of the sacks. 

Now Wilson is starting again this week against Philadelphia.  

Jets' management could just as easily decide to rest Wilson for the remainder of the season and take another crack at it next year. This would give Wilson's knee a full off-season to heal, while Wilson continues doing his "mental reps." 

No, management instead is insisting Wilson lead this 3-8 team into battle while throwing caution to the wind, despite being sacked an average of 3.29 times per game. 

What if Wilson blows out his knee? 

Don’t say you weren't warned. 


Follow Daniel Kelly on Twitter (@danielkellybook). Be sure to bookmark Jets Country and check back daily for news, analysis and more.