July 21, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Robert Saleh defends Jets QB Zach Wilson, defends ‘The Fifth’ when asked why he didn’t bench him for Trevor Siemian

Robert Saleh defends Jets QB Zach Wilson, defends ‘The Fifth’ when asked why he didn’t bench him for Trevor Siemian

Nine weeks into the season, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh continues to raise questions about Zach Wilson’s play.

Tuesday was no different, after the Jets’ offense showed poor form in Monday’s 27-6 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Saleh defended Wilson in his weekly press conference. He continued to do so on “The Michael Kay Show” before being stumped by a question about practice squad quarterback Trevor Siemian.

“You’ve got Trevor Siemian in your building,” said Kay (2:30 below), an NFL veteran with starting experience. “Why don’t you try it?”

Saleh replied: “I understand.” “Again, fair question. Like I said. I don’t know. I’m going to argue the fifth case just on that one – I’ve kind of explained that. Respectfully, that’s clear.”

“They’re valid questions. I know he’s a passionate fan, a passionate fan who has the same questions, and I respect them very much.”

Saleh sounds like a man tired of Wilson’s questions. He’s been facing them for several seasons, and he spent just two minutes with Kay defending the quarterback and asserting that what he sees on tape shows Wilson “really didn’t play that bad.” Instead, Saleh blamed New York’s offensive woes on the team, including Wilson, his teammates, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and himself.

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“Sometimes it’s very obvious when you run the 22 that the quarterback isn’t capable of it,” Saleh told Kay. “That’s not the case here. There are a lot of things that everyone needs to improve on, including the quarterback.”

Saleh’s comments to Kaye echo those in his press conference earlier Tuesday, in which he also predicted New York’s offensive struggles are a collective failure.

“If it was just him, it would be worth discussing,” Saleh told reporters. “But this is a team issue that we all need to get on the same page, whether that’s knocking down balls, having players where they’re supposed to be, executing the way we need to execute them, calling plays that need to be called, putting players in.” In the positions they should be put in, that’s how we all are.

“Yes, he has a lot of things he needs to improve, and I know he understands that. At the same time, this is a team thing.”

Robert Saleh continues to defend Zach Wilson. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) (Jim McIsaac via Getty Images)

This is a familiar refrain in New York. On a team with a top-10 defense and playmakers on offense, the Jets have long been viewed as a quarterback far removed from the competition. They thought they found that quarterback when they traded for Aaron Rodgers.

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Rodgers’ Achilles injury forced them to return Wilson after they previously benched Mike White. Wilson has since shown little signs of progress from poor play in his first two seasons while completing 59.9% of passes for 6 yards per attempt with five touchdowns and five interceptions in eight games.

Saleh did not ask for this. This is understandable if he is tired of the questions. But that’s what he got. Unless the Jets can muster a solution in the middle, the questions will not stop.