Zach Wilson injury continues alarming New York Jets quarterback trend – Reuters Sports News
FLORHAM PARK, NJ – A preview of what’s going on around the New York Jets:
1. Here we go again: Everyone knows the Jets have a cursed history when it comes to developing quarterbacks, and one of the reasons is that they can’t keep them out of the coaching room.
For the second time in 10 months, Zach Wilson is looking at the likelihood of missing regular season games with a right knee injury. Although the Jets didn’t rule him out for Game 1, the more realistic scenario is for Joe Flacco to start a game or two. One of the blows to Wilson in the 2021 draft process was his durability (shoulder surgery and thumb injury in college), and he did nothing to change that narrative.
Wilson, who missed four games last season, can’t improve if he has to deal with injury stops and starts. He’s still playing young (see: his useless Friday night rush that led to the injury), and the only thing that can change is time and repetition. The same thing happened to Sam Darnold, who missed three games in 2018 (foot), three in 2019 (mono) and four in 2020 (shoulder).
If we list quarterbacks whose careers were sabotaged by injuries, start with Joe Namath in the early 1970s. Another example is Chad Pennington, who was on his way to great things before he suffered a shoulder injury in 2004. and 2005. Mark Sanchez’s Jets career ended with a shoulder injury in 2013, although he was already on his way out.
The last quarterback to start every game a season? Ryan Fitzpatrick, 2015. Fitz Magic, indeed.
Flacco, 37, hasn’t won a start since 2019, but he’s a seasoned professional who will make the right decisions. His lack of mobility will limit the offense, of course. Yes, he dominated Wilson for a few days early in training camp, but let’s face it: no one shows up on 9/11 at MetLife Stadium to watch Flacco lead the offense.
Wilson’s injury, while not a disaster in its own right, is a buzzkill. The franchise knows that feeling all too well.
2. Frustrated Mims: It was an unusual sight: there was receiver Denzel Mims talking with Saleh in midfield the other day, away from the rest of the players – during practice. It is rare to see a player in Saleh’s space. A few days later, they had another one-on-one chat on the pitch during a break. They also had private conversations behind the scenes.
Something is happening. Mims, who has already said he is good enough to start, is unhappy with his opportunities.
“Yeah, he expresses it, and he should express it,” Saleh said ahead of the pre-season opener. “If he didn’t think he was a starter, I would think there would be a serious problem. … He’s improving and he’s expressing frustration, but at the same time it doesn’t hinder his approach day to day, which is great.”
Friday night, Mims capped off an odd week with a mixed performance. He had two catches for 25 yards, but also had a drop and an illegal formation penalty. He only played 15 offensive snaps, none with the starters. He was the seventh wide receiver to enter the game. What’s strange is that he received a lot of positive feedback from the coaches in the run-up to the game, sources said.
Mims has not asked for a trade, although it is believed that some teams would be interested if general manager Joe Douglas decides to trust him. Mims lives just a few miles from the Dallas Cowboys facility, and everyone knows the Cowboys are hurting at the receiver — despite having expressed confidence in their current squad.
It’s hard to imagine Douglas giving up a second-round pick in 2020, but if the right offer comes along… who knows? Right now, his place on the roster is in jeopardy.
3. Historically injured: You would be hard pressed to find many players who have had less luck with injuries than Mekhi Becton (knee), who is expected to miss the season, a source says. Consider its first three seasons:
2020: 14 matches played.
2021: One game.
No offensive lineman drafted in the top 15 since 1990 will have played fewer games than Becton in his first three seasons if he misses all of 2022, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The last player with fewer games was John Clay, chosen 15th overall by the Raiders in 1987. He only played 12 games in his first two seasons, never reaching a third year.
Even though Saleh said ‘Becton’s race is not over’, it’s fair to wonder about his future. He underwent a second surgery on his right knee, both involving the patella. That, combined with a history of weight and conditioning issues, will surely make a comeback more difficult.
Defensive end Carl Lawson, who has overcome two ACL surgeries and a ruptured Achilles, knows how grueling rehabilitation can be. He said Becton faces “a tough road,” especially if he pays attention to the negativity on social media. “It might cloud his judgement, it might not,” he said. “I don’t know what his story will be. If you want something, you find a way to sacrifice everything you can and go get it.”
4. It’s easy: One of the keys to newly signed offensive tackle Duane Brown’s success will be managing his reps in practice. He will be 37 at the start of the season, with 12,529 career shots to his name. His knees creak, so he needs a rest. The Seattle Seahawks did a great job last season, getting 17 starts from him.
Brown has missed 20 of 51 regular-season practices, according to official injury reports. There was only one week during which he trained every day. In almost all cases, he was not listed with an injury, just a “rest” day.
The Jets think they have a similar plan. The downside is that, being new to the team and the system, he has to practice as much as possible. There are only 12 practices left in training camp before they begin their Week 1 preparation, with just seven of them in the pads. The clock is turning.
5. Registration: Williams’ agent, Nicole Lynn of Klutch Sports, visited the Jets facility six days ago to meet with Douglas. No, this does not mean that a contract extension is imminent. Both parties have an open line of communication and a base of contact on occasion; it’s been going on for several months.
Williams, entering his fourth season, is eligible for a new contract for the first time. With his fifth-year option, he’s contracted through 2023, so there’s no sense of urgency for the Jets. Williams can improve his bargaining position with a monster year, and people around the team have said he has a great camp.
6. Second Career: Speaking of agents, former Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan is now a registered agent, according to the NFLPA Directory. No word on if he has any clients.
7. Richmond Pipeline: When Douglas needs an offensive tackle, he turns to Richmond, Va. Consider:
Becton, Brown and Morgan Moses, a 2021 free agent signing, were all born and attended high school in the Richmond area. Clearly, Douglas has an affinity for the city. He too was born and raised in the region. Where did he go to college? The University of Richmond, of course.
Memo to all Richmond natives with offensive line experience: Send game tapes to Douglas.
8. The last word: “Have a legendary day.” — linebacker Kwon Alexander at the end of each media session