FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets cast some doubt on their quarterback situation for Week 1, announcing Monday that Zach Wilson worked out for the first time since Aug. 16 arthroscopic knee surgery.
Coach Robert Saleh said “it’s possible” that Wilson could start Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, although the realistic outcome is that Wilson will get at least another week to heal. That would set up backup Joe Flacco to face the Ravens, his team from 2005 to 2018, in the season opener at MetLife Stadium.
All signs have been pointing to Flacco since Wilson suffered a torn meniscus and bone bruise Aug. 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles, but Saleh added some suspense on Monday.
“Looked good, felt good,” Saleh said of Wilson’s workout. “We’re going to see how the knee responds today and tomorrow and we’ll have an answer for everybody on Wednesday.”
Monday’s practice was closed to the media, and Saleh didn’t provide many details except to say Wilson’s workout included running and throwing.
Wilson was expected to miss two to four weeks, sources said at the time of the injury. Tuesday marks three weeks from surgery, but the Jets have emphasized that Wilson won’t play until he’s 100%.
Considering the team’s cautious approach, and the fact that Wilson still hasn’t practiced fully, the expectation is that Flacco will get the nod against the Ravens, whom he led to a Super Bowl championship after the 2012 season.
Wilson, drafted second overall in 2021, has missed 13 practices and two preseason games.
Saleh has made it clear that Wilson will play as soon as he’s ready, adding that he could play with only one week of full practice as the starter. A year ago, when Wilson sprained the same knee, he took three weeks of practice before he returned. Saleh said the ramp-up period won’t be as long this time.
“Eventually, whether it’s this week or next week, it’s going to be the same story: He has to get back in there,” Saleh said. “You just have to rip the Band-Aid off when he’s ready to play. When he’s healthy and he feels good, he’s going to play football.”
Flacco, 37, has run the offense since Wilson’s injury, with Mike White serving as the backup. Flacco impressed teammates and coaches in training camp, but he sputtered in his only preseason game. He threw a pick-six against the New York Giants.
“Joe has a lot more experience, with Zach being in his second year in the league, but Zach is a special player,” guard Laken Tomlinson said. “The way he handles himself operating this offense, we’re really impressed with his work.”
Wilson played nine snaps in his only preseason game. He threw an interception, and on the second series, he tried to gain additional yardage on a scramble instead of running safely out of bounds. His knee buckled and he fell awkwardly to the grass.