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Robert Saleh Gives Zach Wilson Update as Joe Flacco Continues to Play Well

Jets Country on FanNation logo Jets Country on FanNation 9/21/2022 Max Goodman
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While Joe Flacco keeps slinging it, New York isn't rushing Zach Wilson back from knee surgery

On September 7, Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that the earliest Zach Wilson could return from his knee surgery was Week 4 in Pittsburgh.

Three weeks later, Saleh isn't changing that timetable, waiting for New York's second-year quarterback to be 110 percent healthy before he makes his 2022 debut.

"It’s the earliest that we were given," Saleh told reporters on Tuesday, still digesting New York's dramatic win over the Browns. "He is progressing very well. I don’t want to talk for doctors, but it’s the earliest and we are confident that he’s looking really good. So, we’ll see."

Asked if Joe Flacco's performance in place of Wilson can impact this situation, the head coach assured that they are completely separate issues. Then again, Saleh's answer to that question was extremely complimentary to Flacco, who has statistically been one of the best quarterbacks in the league through the first two weeks of the season.

"He can still play in this league," Saleh added. "He can still sling it and he proved it yesterday. That’s a big day to go over three bills and four touchdowns. That’s starter quality football for sure."

Flacco threw for 307 yards with four touchdowns in Cleveland, leading the Jets to a comeback victory with a game-winning drive in the final minute of the fourth quarter. He's now one of only three Jets quarterbacks to begin a season with back-to-back 300-yard games in the last 20 years and one of only two signal-callers in the NFL to accomplish the feat this season.

He'll have another opportunity to do some damage next Sunday when the Bengals come to town.

In the meantime, Wilson will continue to ramp up from the non-contact knee injury he sustained during the preseason. Saleh said the 23-year-old will take another step forward this week in practice.

"He’s progressing very well. I like the way he’s moving. We’ll ramp him up just a touch more and get to the reevaluation and make decisions on how he needs to proceed from there."

With Flacco producing, there's certainly less of a need to rush Wilson back. That said, when you consider the future of the franchise, Flacco's performance (beyond his ability to lift young playmakers like Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall and more) doesn't matter. New York needs Wilson to return and play as much as possible this season, developing and positioning himself to be the franchise quarterback he was drafted to be.

Don't be surprised if the Jets are patient when Week 4 rolls around, though. If there are any doubts that Wilson isn't ready to go—physically, mentally or otherwise—Saleh and the coaching staff could stick with the hot hand.


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