‘The Bachelor’ (New York Jets Edition)
Annika Herko | Wednesday, September 20, 2023
On ABC’s “The Bachelor,” a group of women compete to win the heart of a young, attractive bachelor and a wedding ring the size of my fist. The Jets had so much fun starring in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this summer that they’ve decided to take the lead in an all new reality sports show. However, the Jets have decided to go in a slightly different direction than the widely popular reality dating show: one franchise woos any quarterback who will pick up the phone.
Current “starter” Zach Wilson is in his third season with the Jets after several tumultuous turns about the depth chart rankings. He started as a rookie in 2021, got injured a few times, got demoted a few times due to poor performances and now is back at the helm of the New York offense. He came into the week one game against the Bills when Aaron Rodgers went down and came away with the win because Josh Allen made more mistakes than he did.
That week, rumors about who could be coming to New York began flying around the NFL as the Jets began talking to anyone who would pick up the phone. Veterans like Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Philip Rivers and even Tom Brady were in the news but so far no one wanted anything to do with this team. Other back-ups and free agents like Carson Wentz, Ryan Tannehill and Jameis Winston had been in the media conversation as well. The Jets organization has been very tightlipped and continued to give Wilson the vote of confidence.
So Wilson trotted out onto the field at AT&T Stadium Sunday and met up with the Dallas Cowboys defensive line. As he was last week with another New York quarterback, Micah Parsons was very happy to see him (he probably would’ve told the Jets to give him a rose). Wilson did not have a fairy tale ending in week two. Granted, the Dallas defense is pretty darn good and they’ve been generating a lot of turnovers, but it’s hard to imagine that a game like that wouldn’t shake a guy’s confidence. 12/27 for only 170 yards, one touchdown, three picks and three sacks is not worth writing home about.
Despite that, Wilson received another vote of confidence going into next week from his head coach Robert Saleh saying that he wasn’t aware of anyone coming in and that Wilson’s development was progressing.
“I think anyone who watches football, and you look at it from a global standpoint, will see that he’s so much improved in the pocket, his presence in the pocket. I thought he delivered a lot of really good passes,” Saleh said during media availability Monday.
I mean yeah sure, he’s progressed from “Good grief, why did they put that guy on the field” to “that’s just your average bad NFL quarterback.” A win is a win, I guess.
Anyway, despite what Saleh says it’s hard to imagine the Jets aren’t looking for other options. In an ideal world, this season ends with a ring on their finger and not a sad, group trip to paradise, right?
Realistically, people like Tyler Huntley, Mitch Trubisky and Cooper Rush should be on their radar. Huntley went to the Pro Bowl last year and is still on the Ravens’ bench. Trubisky is no Aaron Rodgers but he has played a few good games and Rush is 5-1 as a starter and played in Dallas, which has a similar structure to New York —a really good defense and speedy receivers.
Whoever they get, Zach Wilson (or Tim Boyle, the quarterback they promoted from the practice squad) is not ready to deliver the big plays that the Jets expected from Rodgers this year. Whatever direction the Jets go in, they’ll probably end up disappointed. They just have to decide how disappointed they want to be (much like most of the contestants on the Bachelor).
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.