Zach Wilson committed to working hard, understands bad optics after benching


Sunday night into Monday, Zach Wilson’s performance and subsequent post-game press conference after the Jets’ loss to New England was a huge story – one made bigger when head coach Robert Saleh said late Monday afternoon that he wasn’t committed to starting Wilson against Chicago.

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Indeed, Wilson will be inactive Sunday, with Mike White to start and Joe Flacco to serve as his backup while Gang Green works with Wilson to “clean some things up that have gotten out of whack.” The intent of the move, according to head coach Robert Saleh, is to get Wilson back on the field at some point this season as a more polished product, but for now, all the former No. 2 pick can do is sit back, watch, work, and wait.

“It’s tough, man, and it’s never fun, but the first thing that went through my mind is ‘I gotta get to work, I gotta get better,’ and I’m going to approach that every single day and just keep working to get better,” Wilson said Wednesday. “I wouldn’t say [I was] necessarily surprised because I haven’t been doing my job. Of course, I would like to not agree with the decision and everything, but it comes down to I gotta play better.”

Saleh had said Monday he wasn’t committed to Wilson as the starter for Sunday’s game after he threw for just 77 yards against the Patriots, and he told Wilson Tuesday night before telling the team Wednesday of the change.

One thing that has been asked is whether or not Wilson would still be the quarterback had he not had some questionable comments in the postgame Sunday – and while we’ll never know the answer to that, Wilson knows the criticism he’s received since then was “deserved.”

“Yeah, it’s deserved,” he said. ““The way that I handled the situation wasn’t right. I’ve got to be a better football player and then I’ve got to be a better leader for these guys. I have an opportunity here to turn the page here as a player and as a leader and to be able to take a step forward and be able to be here 100 percent for my guys and be able to handle those situations correctly.”

Wilson blames that on emotion, which even his own father called him out on.

“I didn’t realize what was said,” Wilson said. “I let my emotions get the best of me and it almost took until a little bit after when we were getting ready and leaving and my pops gave me a call and said ‘Bro, what are you doing?’ I didn’t realize it. You can’t let the emotions get the best of you.”

The young signal-caller addressed the Jets on Wednesday to discuss the situation and said he “spoke from the heart,” and Saleh spoke earlier Wednesday about the move, saying it will give Wilson a chance to come back “rejuvenated and renewed.”

When that is remains to be seen, but Wilson will work hard to make sure it’s sooner than later.

“I have a lot to improve on and I’m going to keep working at it every single day,” he said. “This is going to be a good opportunity, a humbling opportunity for me to put my head down and work harder and just be here for this team.”

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN

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