Skip to main content

Zach Wilson has 1 last chance to prove doubters wrong following Aaron Rodgers’ nightmare injury

new york jets
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) looks to throw with pressure from Buffalo Bills defensive end Greg Rousseau (50) in the second half. The Jets defeat the Bills in overtime, 22-16, in the home opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford.

The New York Jets, a team yearning for a franchise quarterback again after Zach Wilson could not deliver on his promise, believed it had found its football messiah when they acquired Aaron Rodgers, a future Hall of Fame, in the offseason from Green Bay.

Rodgers, combined with New York’s elite defense, gave the franchise hope to compete with the AFC’s best teams. And if everything fell right, the Jets could advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1969.

Related: Unlock Fantasy Sports Success! Get FREE Insights & Tips From Dr. Roto and His Team Of Big-Money Fantasy Winners!

New York’s feel-good story lasted four plays and 50 seconds.

On first down, Breece Hall went 26 yards off left tackle. Then Rodgers threw an incompletion.

A defensive hold on second down provided another first down at the Jets 43.

Rodgers suffered an Achilles injury trying to avoid a sack. As far as sacks go, it was not a violent hit. Rodgers stood after the play, then gingerly sat on the turf and waited for the training staff. After the game, head coach Robert Saleh told the media the organization was “Concerned with his Achilles. And that an “MRI is probably going to confirm what we think is going to happen, so prayers tonight, but it’s not good.”

The Jets, playing on adrenaline, beat Buffalo 22-16 on a punt return for a touchdown in overtime. However, that MRI did confirm the New York Jets worst fears on Tuesday, and the future Hall-of-Famer is done for the season.

Zach Wilson can show why he was a New York Jets’ top pick

zach wilson
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Now, the Jets must deal with reality because there is no time for pity parties in the NFL. The game waits for no one.

“My heart goes out to him,” quarterback Zach Wilson said. “It’s tough. It hurts us as a team.”

Wilson will probably be the Jets’ starter heading into Sunday’s game against Dallas.

The same Wilson, who the Jets took with the second pick of the 2021 draft and sought to replace because he played so poorly.

Wilson completed 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards with a touchdown and an interception against Buffalo. Not bad for a dude who couldn’t have expected to play and didn’t get many snaps during the week.

“My job as a quarterback is I’ve got to step up,” Wilson said. “I’ve got to be as efficient as I can in that offense. Just a lot of emotions.

“Week 1, opening day, trying to learn as much as I can from this guy, but I’ve also got to make sure I’m ready to go. A lot of emotions, you’ve got to be able to try and stay calm and go out there and try and perform the best you can.”

Wilson should play better against Dallas simply because the game plan will be tailored for him, and he’ll receive all the practice repetitions.

Dallas’ defense turned in a dominant performance in a 40-0 win over the New York Jets. The Cowboys allowed 171 yards, recorded seven sacks, and forced three turnovers.

So Wilson will have a chance immediately to probe what he’s learned from last season’s disaster.

He reportedly turned off his teammates with his attitude and was unproductive in games. For the Jets to give up on him so quickly spoke volumes.

Written by experts, for sports fans who want a FREE daily newsletter worth reading. Get Sportsnaut First today!

In nine games last year, he completed 54.5 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and seven interceptions. As a rookie, he completed 55.6 percent of his passes for 2,334 yards with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has two 300-yard games, and the Jets lost each of them.

Fate has blessed Wilson with a second chance to prove he’s a good NFL quarterback.

It’s up to him to take advantage of it.

Jean-Jacques Taylor is an NFL Insider for Sportsnaut and the author of the upcoming book “Coach Prime“, with Deion Sanders. Follow him on Twitter.