Jets’ season already in danger after Zach Wilson injury

PHILADELPHIA — The only thing that would ever matter to the Jets this season was the quarterback.

Zach Wilson was all that mattered. Everything revolved around his progress.

In his second season after a tough rookie year, Wilson was the linchpin in everything the Jets hoped to accomplish in 2022.

Sure, there were a few dozen other Jets who were evaluated Friday night in their preseason opener against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field—an utterly insignificant 24-21 Jets comeback win.

But Wilson was the only player who really mattered.

Everyone was waiting for at least small signs of improvement from him between year one and year two, and Friday night was ready for an early look.

But now, following the related non-contact injury Wilson sustained to his right knee during his ninth game of a scrimmage, Wilson’s year two may be over before it started – although sources have told The Post the Jets are hopeful that his injury will only help him. will make you miss weeks instead of months.

Nevertheless, a Jets season that already raised more questions than an SAT exam is questionable, if not downright dangerous.

Zach Wilson is treated on the field after an injury to his knee.
Zach Wilson is treated on the field after an injury to his knee.
Chris Szagola/CSM/Shutterstock

After the game, head coach Robert Saleh was careful not to be too optimistic.

“I’m always concerned until you get the final evaluation,” said Saleh, who, based on the initial testing, added that the ACL is still intact, but said the MRI exam will tell the story. “We walked off the field with very positive thoughts, and it was the opposite. We walked off the field with bad first readings and the opposite was the case. I’ll just let it play and we’ll see [Saturday].

“I just want to make it all happen and I will continue to say my nightly prayers and see what happens.”

Despite Wilson being in the locker room after the game (but not when reporters were allowed in), the Jets inexplicably refused to make him available.

Last season, when Wilson injured his PCL during a game in New England, he was made available to speak to reporters. The fact that the team shielded him from reporters was clearly a sign that the news was not good.

‘He’s in a good mood. He’s fine,” Saleh said, putting a brave face on it. “A little frustrated, of course, but he’s as good as you can be in the situation.”

The Jets’ 2022 season flashed before their incredulous eyes with 4:02 left in the first quarter when Wilson limped from a struggle and eventually fell to the grass as team coaches came to his rescue.

That kind of sequence — the player who can walk for a moment before realizing the knee is too loose to continue — more often than not signals a torn ACL.

Robert Saleh watches as Zach Wilson is cared for after a knee injury.
Robert Saleh watches as Zach Wilson is cared for after a knee injury.
AP

That would be the worst case scenario. A Jets scenario. Here we go again. The Jets are once again in crisis.

Wilson had just completed a sharp 10-yard pass to Elijah Moore in third place when, on a first and 10 of the Jets 42-yard line, he was purged from the pocket on his right side by Eagles defenders Tarron Jackson and Jordan davy.

He ran faster than both of them and stared at Eagles rookie linebacker Nakobe Dean in the open field near the right sideline. Instead of just going out of bounds to live to play another down, Wilson tried to get Dean out of the way with an inside move to gain a few extra (pointless) yards.

Zach Wilson is taken off the field after an injury to his knee.
Zach Wilson is taken off the field after an injury to his knee.
AP

Sometimes the great athletic ability that Wilson possesses can be a curse.

Something bad happened to his right knee joint as he made that move and Wilson’s night—and possibly his season—was over.

When Asked if Wilson should have just crossed the line, Saleh quickly replied, “One hundred percent.”

Within minutes, Twitter was alive with medical experts diagnosing Wilson’s injury after simply seeing it on TV.

Zach Wilson throws a pass on the Jets' first run.
Zach Wilson throws a pass on the Jets’ first run.
USA TODAY Sports

There were also recliner general managers who flooded social media projecting next-step quarterback ideas for Jets GM Joe Douglas in case Wilson’s injury is indeed at the end of the season. Jimmy Garoppolo’s name started trending. One vile Twitter prankster even suggested that the Jets take on Sam Darnold for a second round in green.

When asked what the next step is if this is indeed the end of the season, Saleh said, “Can we wait until after we get the MRI results before we get into that? I don’t want to put that negative juice in there.” ‘

When asked about 37-year-old backup quarterback Joe Flacco, Saleh said, “You guys know how I feel about Joe. He’s a phenomenal football player. He’s got a great camp and he’s still got a lot of juice in the tank.” ‘

Saleh said before the game that the plan was to play Wilson and the rest of the starters for a few series.

“If they put together a good first series, we’ll hold up for a day,” Saleh said. “If not, we’ll just go out and try to get a certain number of plays.”

The first series was, of course, an abject failure, with Wilson being intercepted during his fifth game from a scrimmage. Then Wilson got through just four plays in the second series — possibly the last four plays of his 2022 season.

Now the Jets can only hope that isn’t the case.

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