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Jets HC Robert Saleh not committed to QB Zach Wilson as Week 12 starter: 'Not until I'm done evaluating everything'

Zach Wilson's status as the New York Jets' starting quarterback is in peril.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh announced Monday that he has not committed to Wilson as the team's starting quarterback ahead of its Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears.

"We're keeping everything on the table the next couple of days," Saleh said at the top of his Monday news conference.

Saleh was then asked if he was committing to Wilson, to which he replied, "No, not right now. Not until I'm done evaluating everything."

Saleh's declaration that Wilson's QB1 status is up in the air comes a day after a bitter 10-3 defeat against the New England Patriots. As the Gang Green offense went without a touchdown, Wilson was 9-of-22 passing for 77 yards with a 50.8 rating. Compounding matters was that in the aftermath of the defeat, Wilson was asked if he felt like the offense let down the defense, to which the second-year QB simply responded, "No."

Earlier Monday, Jets defensive teammates, such as defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and defensive end Carl Lawson backed Wilson despite his comment.

"Obviously, football is an emotional game," Saleh said Monday when asked for his take on Wilson's disposition following the loss. "I'm not going to shy away from the fact that I do think he's the ultimate competitor. He wants to win just about as much as anybody. He works as hard as anybody. It means so much to him. Can he be a little bit better in front of you guys when he's up here on the podium in terms of the expectation that when you are standing in front of the podium it's our job to take bullets and own it, especially when it's time to own it? Yeah. Of course he can. But I don't think it's indicative of how he feels about his team or teammates, and I don't think he's naïve to the fact that our offense wasn't playing to the best of their ability while the defense is out there… I don't think that's what he was trying to convey -- I really don't. Obviously, he can be a little bit better but I think he will be better for it."

During a surprising 5-2 start to the season for the Jets, the defense was lauded and Wilson has certainly had talent around him at the skill positions. However, two ugly Wilson performances against the Patriots sandwiched around a huge Week 9 win over the Buffalo Bills have shined a spotlight on Wilson's struggles. The No. 2 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, Wilson has not progressed as many had hoped.

He's gone 5-2 as a starter this year, but is completing just 55.6% of his passes and averaging only 182.7 yards per game with a miniscule four touchdown passes in seven games and five interceptions. Starting veteran Joe Flacco or Mike White could inject some life into the 28th-ranked NFL offense.

While Saleh said everything is on the table, he underscored that the offense's struggles are not all on Wilson's shoulders and more review will be done until he makes a decision on the starting quarterback.

"I've got to be able to sit back, I think we've all got to be able to sit back and think what's best for this organization and this team," Saleh said. "It's not all about the quarterback. I want to be very very clear. It's not all about the quarterback. There's a lot of things that we can do better as coaches, there's a lot of things the O-line needs to do better, receivers, running backs, tight ends, play caller, defense, everybody, special teams. So, I get it, where everyone looks at the quarterback and wants to throw everything on him. It's not always about the quarterback. But there is also an evaluation process to make sure we do what's best for the organization, and that's every position."

The Monday news conference began roughly 90 minutes late with Saleh saying it was due to a personal matter within the staff. He added that while a change might be ahead at QB, Mike LaFleur will remain the Jets' play-caller.

As for whether Wilson remains as the Jets' QB1 for Sunday's game and beyond, the days ahead will offer a decision from Saleh.

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