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NY Jets are living dangerously with backup QB situation

NY Jets Backup, QB, Zach Wilson
Zach Wilson, New York Jets, Getty Images

In the event Aaron Rodgers gets hurt, the New York Jets could be in serious trouble

The starting quarterback is arguably the most important position in all of professional sports. They can single-handedly determine if teams win or lose games through their own performance and leadership abilities. As a result, they are usually the highest-paid players on their teams and in the NFL as a whole.

Despite the massive importance of a starting quarterback, one could argue that the backup quarterback position is just as important to a team. Entrusted to lead the offense in the event of poor play or injury, the backup quarterback can be the difference between a team staying afloat or having a lost season. They are responsible for holding a team’s offense together in the worst-case scenario.

With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, the New York Jets have one of their most talented quarterbacks in years, if not ever. He is widely expected to elevate the Jets’ offense to new heights and give the organization its best shot to break its playoff drought. The Jets, if everything goes according to plan, have stability at the quarterback position.

This is the NFL we are talking about, though. If anything is certain, it is that nothing ever goes 100 percent according to plan. And in the Jets’ case, an Aaron Rodgers injury would put Zach Wilson back into the starting job.

The former second-overall pick in 2021 has been nothing short of brutal as the Jets’ starting quarterback. Wilson failed to eclipse 2,500 yards or 10 touchdowns in either of his first two seasons while throwing 18 total interceptions. Despite flashes, he has looked lost going through his reads and has not been consistent enough to be a starting-caliber quarterback.

Yet, the Jets have communicated that they still see Wilson as a key piece of their future. Throughout last season and this year’s off-season program, the Jets have stressed the importance of allowing Wilson to reset. The organization wants Wilson to rework his mechanics and the mental side of his game, and by giving him a potential mentor in Rodgers, they hope to set him up for future success.

Taking one look at the Jets’ depth chart tells a different story. If the Jets truly want to reset Zach Wilson, why is he one snap away from being handed the reigns of the offense again? The messaging does not line up with the actions of the organization.

A team in “win-now” mode, such as the Jets, will always be able to find backup quarterback options on the open market. As of today, Teddy Bridgewater, Carson Wentz, and Chase Daniel are still free agents.

While these options are not awe-inspiring in the slightest and would not be good options for starting quarterbacks, they are veteran presences that would be able to keep the Jets afloat in the case of a Rodgers injury. More importantly, it would give Zach Wilson the redshirt year that the Jets are conveying he needs.

There is no reason to expect the worst-case scenario with Rodgers or assume that Wilson will absolutely be the Jets’ backup option at the start of the season. But all throughout the free agency and the draft, the Jets had ample opportunity to add a true backup option, and they chose to add Tim Boyle – a helpful third-stringer, but nothing more than that.

The Jets have an opportunity to be a very successful and exciting team this season, and all indications up to this point suggest that will be the case. Despite this, there is no denying that their backup quarterback situation is a concern.

If the nightmare scenario of Aaron Rodgers getting injured occurs, the results of Wilson will be squarely on the shoulders of Joe Douglas and the Jets’ organization. The Jets, based on the past results of Wilson, are choosing to live dangerously with their backup quarterback situation, and it could be detrimental to their season if it goes wrong.

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Jonathan Richter
11 months ago

If they really want Zach to develop then I think making him the backup makes sense. He needs to be preparing as if he’s the starter next to Rodgers all week, watching film with him. Zach did have a winning record last year (5-4) and was 5-2 at one point. It was after Breece/AVT/Oline injuries took their toll that the whole offense went in the toilet. I think Hack will make it easier for Zach to learn, and obviously ARod will be a huge help. Zach is a hard worker. That’s why they don’t want to give up on him. With a healthy offense we can still win with Zach.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jonathan Richter
11 months ago

This is by far the biggest risk with OT a close second. Even if Rodgers gets hurt for say two games and Zach is only needed for them that could derail the Jets season. With the competition in the AFC one game could make a difference in making the playoffs. I would have tried to keep White or sign Minchew.

Robert Papalia
11 months ago

I have said for some time now the Jets should sign Teddy Bridgewater as a back up to Rodgers. I guess they are rolling the dice with Zach Wilson. Not a good bet in my view.