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Why have the New York Jets returned to quarterback Zach Wilson three weeks after benching him?

As the saying goes ‘one man’s loss is another man’s gain.’ After being sat for backup Mike White, the signal caller returns to the starting lineup following an injury to his replacement.

Why have the New York Jets returned to quarterback Zach Wilson three weeks after benching him?
Nick CammettAFP

It’s a case of both good and bad news for the team and their original starting QB, as his return to the lineup will likely boost his spirits. On the other hand, it’s come courtesy of an injury to the player who replaced him.

Zach Wilson set to start for Jets once again

According to an announcement on Friday from Jets head coach Robert Saleh, Zach Wilson will once again be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets in their upcoming game against the Detroit Lions. Saleh’s comments come just three weeks after taking the decision to bench Wilson in favor of backup Mike White. Unfortunately, following a rib injury which he sustained in a Week 14 loss to the Bills, White was not cleared to play by team doctors. Incidentally, White actually told reporters earlier this week that he had no doubt he would play against the Lions, but in the end the responsibility now falls to Wilson.

In truth, despite his positivity, White’s status was always in doubt after he was forced to leave the field several times during Sunday’s defeat following a number of heavy hits to the ribs. Having posted a 1-2 record across his three starts, the veteran even practiced this week with Saleh calling him “an absolute warrior” on Friday. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be and with that Joe Flacco will now be listed as the No. 2 behind Wilson for the clash with Detroit.

The Jets have maintained faith in Zach Wilson

When speaking of Wilson, Saleh made it clear that the intention has always been to get the former first-round draft pick back to his best and in turn his starting spot. “This is going to be a great opportunity for Zach,” Saleh said, before indicating that Wilson will receive all of the first-team reps under center in the remaining lead-up to Sunday’s game. Incidentally, Wilson had already been promoted to No. 2 after spending his three weeks on the bench as No. 3 behind Flacco.

It goes without saying, that Wilson has been presented with very fortunate circumstances even if they’ve come at the expense of White’s health. Yet, this isn’t just about Wilson’s redemption as there are much bigger things in play. If the Jets, who are currently 7-6 can get the win against the Lions, they will definitely be back in contention for an AFC playoff spot. At the moment, the Dolphins are sitting on 8-5 and the Patriots on 7-6. Between them are the final two wild card slots in the conference. Ultimately, Wilson has not performed well this season which of course led to his benching in the first place. Where White is concerned, he didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his three starts, with two losses against the Vikings and Bills. That’s not to say both aren’t capable of doing better, but the real question is when? For Saleh and the Jets, the time is now.