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Jets coach insists he won’t quit on beleaguered Zach Wilson

Dec 22, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) scrambles away from Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris (95) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Wilson passed for just 92 yards and guided the New York Jets to three first downs before being pulled Thursday night and was roundly booed by the home fans during their 19-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The second overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft didn’t look anywhere near as smooth as the No. 1 pick in that same draft, budding star Trevor Lawrence of the Jaguars.

And the setback was the fourth straight for the Jets (7-8) and second in a row since Wilson regained the starting job after Mike White injured his ribs.

One day later, New York coach Robert Saleh said the organization can’t quit on Wilson and must continue to have his back.

“We’re never going to quit on anybody,” Saleh told reporters on Friday. “I’ve got confidence in all our guys. I don’t know how many years I’ve been in the league now, it’s been a while, but I just feel like every single year there’s a kid who just is struggling and everybody wants to quit on them. And this may not be their year, but it doesn’t mean that next year can’t be their year. And that’s everybody on the roster.

“As long as that person is wearing a Jets uniform, we’re going to do everything we can to pour our hearts and souls into these kids. At the end of the day, the best players will always play, you guys know that, that’s how we stand. But at the same time, as long as they’re here, as long as they’re playing for the Jets, we’re going to pour everything we can to help them be the best version of themselves they can be. And if that best version earns a spot on the field, then that’ll happen.”

Wilson has completed just 54.5 percent of his passes for 1,688 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions in nine games (all starts) this season.

He also had accuracy issues as a rookie, hitting just 55.6 percent of his throws while having more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (nine) in 13 starts.

Wilson lost his job earlier this season after a poor effort during a 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 11. He was 9-of-22 passing for 77 yards in that setback.

Things got worse after the game when he was asked if he let the New York defense down. He had a one-word answer: “No.”

The Jets removed him as starter in favor of White with Saleh saying Wilson needed a reset.

Against the Jaguars, Wilson was replaced by Chris Streveler, who guided the offense to four first downs on his first series.

By playing on Thursday, New York has a long weekend and doesn’t need to make a quarterback situation until early next week. Saleh said he needs further information on White’s progress before he can make a decision.

“Again, we’ve got time,” Saleh said. “I don’t have those answers for you yet.”

It was mentioned to Saleh that going back to Wilson as the starter would be a tough sell after Thursday’s benching.

The coach maintained that Wilson is capable of turning things around despite the shaky performance.

“Confidence is a big deal,” Saleh said. “I do know that he works his tail off and I’m with you, it a tough thing to overcome. But it doesn’t take much to flip confidence. He just needs to get on a little run, just a couple things happen to go his way. …

“We’ve got to help him, we’re not going to quit on him. We’ve got to do our best. And that’s for every player in our locker room, as long as they’re wearing a Jets logo, we’re going to pour our hearts and souls into them and do everything we can to help them.”

–Field Level Media