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Jets benched Zach Wilson for Week 12, expected to stick with Mike White if team remains in playoff contention

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 11/27/2022 Jonathan Jones
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Zach Wilson is inactive for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears. That'll likely be the case next week against the Minnesota Vikings, too.

And if the 6-4 New York Jets remain in playoff contention, there's a good chance that the former No. 2 overall pick won't be on the field again this season for Gang Green.

Jets coach Robert Saleh chose his words carefully this week when talking about Wilson, whom he benched after a nine-completion, zero-touchdown performance against the Patriots last week.

"The intent -- the full intent -- is to make sure that Zach gets back on the football field at some point this year," Saleh said. "When that is, I'll make that decision. I'm going to take it day-to-day. The biggest thing with Zach is the young man needs a reset."

New York is now rolling with Mike White, who sources there say is a smart quarterback who guys believe in, even if he doesn't have the same raw arm talent that Wilson possesses.

Though Saleh called Wilson day-to-day, it's unlikely he'd return to a game field before Week 15 barring injury. It's believed Saleh will keep riding the hot hand if White turns in solid performances the next few weeks.

There was pushback from within the building this week on whether Wilson struggled with making easy passes in the spring. Sources told CBS Sports he had a good spring, but physically he needed a reset as it relates to his lower-body mechanics.

But just like there's more that goes into the quarterback position than throwing the football, there was more that went into the decision to bench Wilson. He needed an attitude reset, and it went beyond his poor press conference performance after the New England game. The 23-year-old simply needs to grow up and mature more.

Several within the building tell CBS Sports that Wilson seemed to turn an emotional corner almost immediately -- and genuinely. From the time he stepped on the bus after the game Sunday into Wednesday morning, Wilson had individually apologized to each member of the Jets defense. He then stood up in front of the entire team on Wednesday and apologized while taking accountability.

On the field, Wilson has always had a tendency to make the hard stuff look easy and the easy stuff look hard. Now he has to take this benching and turn it into a positive for his career.

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