Zach Wilson’s career with the New York Jets is not over, head coach Robert Saleh reiterated after confirming his decision to demote him.
Wilson endured a nasty offense for the Jets in Sunday’s 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots, averaging 2.1 yards per play and managing just two yards of offense in the second half at Gillette Stadium.
Saleh said dethroning Wilson, the second-round pick in 2021, was the furthest thing from his mind, but on Wednesday he announced a change of heart ahead of a Week 12 matchup against the Chicago Bears.
“The main thing I want to focus on is … Zach’s career here is not over,” Saleh told reporters.
“I know it’s going to be a conversation, I know everybody wants to scream like that and it’s not even close. The goal, the full intention is to make sure Zach gets back on the football field at some point this year. .
“At this point I’m going to make that decision, I’m going to make it day by day. The biggest thing with Zach, the same things we talked about, the young man needs to recover.
“His decision-making was good, his training habits were good, but there were key fundamentals that were really failing for him, and it made him sit down and focus on those things.
“That’s what I feel he can do.”
Mike White will start alongside Joe Flacco for the 6-4 Jets against the 3-8 Bears, and Wilson will be inactive.
“Is this a small step back? Absolutely,” Saleh said. “But I think it’s going to be a big leap when he gets a chance to rebuild himself?” Certainly.
“This is not a nail in his coffin. This is not so. It’s not even close to that. But I believe that in the end it will be a rejuvenated, renewed young man.”
In the Pats’ loss, Wilson was criticized for not being held accountable for his poor performance, where the Jets defense allowed just three points.
But Wilson moved to apologize to his teammates on Wednesday, expressed his support for White and promised to return to the QB role.
“I had a sick feeling in my stomach,” Wilson said. “That’s the only thing that’s been on my mind for the last couple of days. I wanted to get a chance to talk to those guys and do it from the bottom of my heart.
“I wouldn’t say [I was] definitely surprised because I didn’t do my job. Of course I don’t agree with the decision and everything, but I have to play better.”
For his career, Wilson has completed 55.6 percent of his passes for 3,613 yards, 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.