Why Jets are returning to Zach Wilson as QB1 after benching: ‘Zach gives us our best chance to win’

With the Jets’ season in disarray, another quarterback change is in motion. This time, Zach Wilson is reclaiming the starting role.

A change was guaranteed, as Tim Boyle — who replaced Wilson two weeks ago but was benched on Sunday against the Falcons — was released by New York on Tuesday. That left either Wilson, Trevor Siemian or recent waiver claim Brett Rypien as the Jets’ options for their Week 14 matchup with the Texans.

Wilson, however, was initially reluctant to step back into the starting role, according to a report. Two days later, though, coach Robert Saleh confirmed Wilson will be under center against Houston.

MORE: Aaron Rodgers defends Zach Wilson, criticizes Jets’ news leaks

Here’s what you need to know about the Jets’ decision to turn back to Wilson. 

Why is Zach Wilson starting for the Jets

Saleh announced Wilson as the Jets’ starter on Wednesday, telling reporters, “Zach gives us our best chance to win, and we’ll give him another opportunity to go prove that.”

Despite reports of Wilson’s initial hesitation to start, which haven’t exactly been denied, Saleh said Monday that the 24-year-old told him in the late afternoon that he wanted to start. On Wednesday, Saleh said Wilson is “fired up” to play.

Saleh said Wilson will be the Jets’ starter for the remainder of the season, barring injury, which seems to confirm the team has fallen too far out of contention for Aaron Rodgers to return. 

The last two weeks might have proven Saleh’s belief that Wilson gives the Jets their best chance to win. New York’s offense was inept in losses to the Dolphins and Falcons with Boyle at quarterback, and Siemian didn’t play much better when he replaced Boyle in-game against Atlanta.

With Boyle off the roster, Siemian offering little upside, and the Jets’ playoff hopes all but gone at 4-8, there isn’t much downside to starting the former No. 2 overall pick given he at least has an 8-10 record over the last two seasons.

Starting Wilson could also give the Jets one last chance to evaluate whether he’s worth keeping on the roster in 2024, though it certainly appears that scenario is a longshot after another season of little progress.

MORE: Why Jets demoted Zach Wilson to third-string after benching

Zach Wilson stats

Wilson has a career-low touchdown rate of 1.9 percent this season, with only six touchdown passes on 321 attempts. He has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in each of his three NFL seasons.

Season Starts Record Completion rate YDS TD INT
2021 13 3-10 55.6% 2,334 9 11
2022 9 5-4 54.5% 1,688 6 7
2023 9 3-6 59.2% 1,944 6 7
Total 31 11-20 56.6% 5,966 21 25

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