FLORHAM PARK, NJ — The New York Jets cast doubt on their quarterback situation for Week 1, announcing Monday that Zach Wilson worked for the first time since August 16th arthroscopic knee surgery.
Coach Robert Saleh said “it’s possible” that Wilson could start Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, although the realistic outcome is that Wilson will get at least another week to recover. That would set up a backup Joe Flacco to face the Ravens, his team from 2005 to 2018, in the season opener at MetLife Stadium.
All signs have pointed to Flacco since Wilson suffered a torn meniscus and bone bruise on Aug. 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles, but Saleh added some suspense Monday.
“Looked good, felt good,” Saleh said of Wilson’s workout. “We’ll see how the knee responds today and tomorrow and we’ll have an answer for everyone on Wednesday.”
Monday’s practice was closed to the media, and Saleh did not provide many details other than to say that Wilson’s workout included running and throwing.
Wilson was expected to miss two to four weeks, sources said at the time of the injury. Tuesday marks three weeks out from surgery, but the Jets stressed Wilson won’t play until he’s 100%.
Given the team’s cautious approach, and the fact that Wilson has yet to practice fully, the expectation is that Flacco will get the nod against the Ravens, who he led to a Super Bowl championship after the 2012 season.
Wilson, drafted second overall in 2021, missed 13 practices and two preseason games.
Saleh explained that Wilson will play as soon as he is ready, adding that he could play with only one week of full practice as a starter. A year ago, when Wilson sprained the same knee, he took three weeks off practice before he returned. Saleh said that the increase period this time will not be as long.
“Eventually, whether it’s this week or next week, it will be the same story: He has to get back there,” Saleh said. “You just have to rip the Band-Aid off when he’s ready to play. When he’s healthy and he feels good, he’s going to play football.”
Flacco, 37, has run the offense since Wilson’s injury, with Mike White serving as the backup. Flacco impressed teammates and coaches in training camp, but he sputtered in his only preseason game. He threw a pick-six against the New York Giants.
“Joe has a lot more experience, where Zach is in his second year in the league, but Zach is a special player,” guard. Laken Tomlinson said “The way he handles himself running this offense, we’re really impressed with his work.”
Wilson played nine snaps in his only preseason game. He threw an interception, and on the second series, he tried to get an extra yard on a scramble instead of running safely out of bounds. His knee buckled and he fell awkwardly to the grass.