Jets coach Robert Saleh continues to back QB Zach Wilson ‘through hell or high water’

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The 2022 season has been difficult for Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.

He suffered a setback during the preseason that forced him to miss the first three games of the regular season. Then later in the year, Wilson also was benched multiple times because of his subpar play.

Wilson will once again sit in the Jets' season finale against the Dolphins as Mike White will get the start at Hard Rock Stadium and veteran Joe Flacco will be White’s backup quarterback.

Following this week, Jets coach Robert Saleh had some advice on how Wilson should spend the first few weeks of the offseason.

“Go read a book, go do something,” Saleh said. “Get away from this game, just reset.

“I think the greatest strength and greatest gift you can give yourself as a human is to figure out what’s important to you, what do you value and how can you stick to those values day in and day out. That is the greatest gift you can give yourself, is to discover yourself and I think Zach needs to get away, read a book, and figure that out.”

The Jets (7-9) were eliminated from postseason contention after last weekend’s 23-6 loss to the Seahawks. Even with Gang Green having nothing to play for against the Dolphins, White will remain the team’s starter after his poor performance where he finished 23 of 46 for 240 yards and two interceptions.

After returning from a preseason meniscus tear, Wilson started nine games for the Jets this season. Despite a 5-4 record under center, Wilson has thrown for 1,688 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing just 54.5% of his passes.

Wilson was first benched after the Jets' 10-3 loss to the Patriots in November. After the game, in a press conference, Wilson failed to take accountability for his performance, in which he completed 9 of 22 passes for 77 yards. Wilson later apologized to the team.

Then after White fractured his ribs in the Week 14 loss to the Bills, Wilson started the following two weeks against the Lions and the Jaguars, both losses. Wilson was benched during the third quarter against Jaguars for Chris Streveler, who was brought up from the practice squad before the game.

The Jets will go into the offseason with a ton of questions about the quarterback position. Both White and Flacco will be unrestricted free agents at the season’s end as Wilson will be the only quarterback on the roster under contract. However, while the Jets have backed Wilson publicly, they have yet to commit to him for the 2023 season.

Wilson is scheduled to make over $9.3 million in guarantee money during the final two seasons of his contract. The Jets could keep Wilson on the roster and sign a veteran quarterback he would compete with for the starting job next season.

In a critical season for both Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas, Wilson likely won’t be handed the starting job like he was his first two years in the league.

“I know I keep re-referencing that fourth quarter of Pittsburgh, it’s real though, I don’t care,” Saleh said. “Miami, he played really well, and it just slowly got away from him a little bit, for one reason or another and how do you find that consistency?

“Like I said, it starts with knowing one’s self, call it zen-ish if you want, but Zach has got all the talent in the world and we have all the confidence in the world in him, it’s just like I said from this reset, we’re going to grind with him, we are, and through hell or high water, we’re going to figure out how to get him to where we know he can be.”