Zach Wilson’s confidence falters as Jets QB is benched again: ‘I’ve got to look myself in the mirror’

By | December 23, 2022

Zach Wilson’s struggles reached a new low Thursday night. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft was thoroughly outplayed by No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence as the Jaguars breezed past the Jets 19-3.

It was a sopping-wet night at MetLife Stadium; steady rain soaked the turf. Lawrence didn’t seem too bothered, though, successfully employing his short and intermediate passing game while showing off the wheels when necessary.

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Wilson, on the other hand, put up a stinker. The BYU alum completed just 9 of 18 passes for 92 yards. A chorus of boos followed him as pass after pass fell harmlessly to the turf.

In the third quarter, Jets coach Robert Saleh made the call to bench Wilson in favor of Chris Streveler, who had been called up from the practice squad for this game. New York’s offense looked far more imposing with the former CFL star under center, racking up 73, 36 and 40 yards on the drives he led. With Wilson at the helm, the Jets’ longest drive was 23 yards.

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It was a disheartening display for Gang Green, which dropped its fourth straight game to fall to 7-8. A playoff appearance looks unlikely.

“Right now, it’s not about playoffs,” Saleh said postgame. “It’s getting off this mat and trying to freaking find a way to put together a football game.”

Saleh’s swap of Wilson for Streveler grabbed plenty of attention. And although the second-year coach acknowledged that Wilson still has plenty to offer, he admitted that Wilson’s confidence has taken a hit in recent weeks.

Wilson struck a similar tenor postgame.

He didn’t expect to be held out the entire fourth quarter — Saleh said he only made that move once he saw how well the Jets were moving the ball with Streveler leading the offense.

Regardless, Wilson said he couldn’t have too many complaints after his display.

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“You can see, that was the most we’ve moved the ball all day,” Wilson said. “You can’t blame them there.”

The 23-year-old Wilson sounded much more humble than he did in Week 11 when he rejected the premise that he let the defense down in a 10-3 loss to the Patriots. He was benched for Mike White the next week against the Bears.

“I’ve got to look myself in the mirror,” Wilson said. “I’ve got to watch this tape and you’ve got to be hard, you’ve got to be hard on yourself and just say, ‘Why are we not moving the ball?’ And that starts with me.”

“I think it’s anything, you’re just trying to find some confidence on the field,” Wilson added. “I’m just trying to feel rhythm and flow and confidence and just the ability to feel like things are there. I haven’t been able to find that for myself. That’s the goal.”