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Robert Saleh says that the Jets should know within the next 24-36 hours if Zach Wilson will play vs. Steelers

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 9/26/2022 Bryan DeArdo
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It's been assumed that Sunday's game against the Steelers would be the game where Zach Wilson makes his regular season debut after suffering a non-contact injury to his knee during the preseason. And while Wilson may indeed make his season debut Sunday, Jets coach Robert Saleh said on Monday that the team is still waiting for their starting quarterback to be cleared to play. 

Wilson has been recovering since suffering a bone bruise and a meniscus tear during New York's first preseason game against the Eagles. The Jets are off to a 1-2 start with 15-year veteran Joe Flacco filling in for Wilson. 

"We're looking for confirmation," Saleh said when asked about Wilson's status for Sunday. "Once Zach's doctors clear him, like we've talked about, he'll be ready to roll. Can't really define that until we get clearance from them."

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Saleh said that the team should know "in the next 24-36 hours" if Wilson will be cleared to make his season debut Sunday against a Steelers team that is also 1-2 through three games. 

Sandwiched between decisive losses is the Jets' shocking come-from-behind win over the Browns in Week 2. New York received a big effort that day from rookie first round pick Garrett Wilson, who hauled in eight passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns that included the game-winning score with 22 seconds left. 

The Jets were unable to duplicate that success during this past Sunday's 27-12 home loss to the Bengals. While they did apply pressure to Joe Burrow, the Bengals' third-year quarterback was still able to throw three touchdowns without committing a turnover. Conversely, Flacco turned the ball over four times while getting sacked four times. 

"He did not get much protection," Saleh said of Flacco's performance on Sunday, via the New York Post. "It's not much different from Baltimore (in Week 1). I'm sure there are a lot of plays he wants back. I'm sure he'll say himself [that] it wasn't good enough."

Sunday's game would mark Flacco's 22nd start against the Steelers if Wilson isn't cleared to play. Flacco went 10-11 against Pittsburgh during his 11-year run as Baltimore's starting quarterback. Wilson has yet to face the Steelers, who are currently playing without T.J. Watt after the league's reigning Defensive Player of the Year suffered a pec injury in Week 1. 

Even without Watt, the Steelers still have several notable players on defense that include defensive linemen Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi, linebacker Myles Jack and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who had an interception in each of the Steelers' first two games. 

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