Friday, March 24, 2023

Jets’ Zach Wilson cleared to play Week 4 at Steelers; Robert Saleh says he’ll start if all goes well


Zach Wilson has been cleared to make his season-debut after missing the season’s first three games. Jets coach Robert Saleh said on Wednesday that the second-year quarterback will start Sunday’s road game against the Steelers if all goes well during this week’s practices. 

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. 

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 their Week 3 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. 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 for some reason things don’t go well for Wilson in his return bid. 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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