Jets’ season already in peril after Zach Wilson’s injury

PHILADELPHIA — All that mattered 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 of everything the Jets hoped to accomplish in 2022.

Of course, there were a few dozen other Jets being evaluated Friday night in their preseason opener against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field — an inconsequential 24-21 Jets comeback victory.

But Wilson was the only player that really mattered.

Everyone was waiting to see at least small signs of improvement from her between first and second year, and Friday night was about to provide a first glimpse.

But now, after the worrying non-contact injury Wilson suffered to his right knee on his ninth scrimmage play, Wilson’s second year could be over before it begins – although sources have told the Post that the Jets hope that his injury will only miss him weeks rather than months.

Still, a Jets season that already featured more questions than an SAT exam is in doubt, if not downright perilous.

Zach Wilson is treated on the pitch after injuring his knee.
Zach Wilson is treated on the pitch after injuring his knee.
Chris Szagola/CSM/Shutterstock

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

“I’m still worried until you get the final assessment,” said Saleh, who added that the ACL is still intact based on the initial tests, but said the MRI scan would tell the story. story. “We left the pitch with very positive thoughts, and it’s the opposite. We left the pitch with bad initial readings and it’s the opposite. I’m just going to let him play and we’ll see [Saturday].

“I just want it all to work out and I’ll keep saying my nightly prayers and let’s see what happens.”

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

Last season, when Wilson suffered a PCL injury in a game in New England, he was made available to speak to reporters. Obviously, the fact that the team shielded him from reporters was a sure sign that the news isn’t good.

“He’s in a good mood. He is fine,” Saleh said, putting on a brave face in the face of it all. “A bit frustrated, obviously, but he’s as good as he can be in the situation.”

The Jets’ 2022 season erupted before their disbelieving eyes with 4:02 remaining in the first quarter when Wilson limped to his feet after a scramble and eventually fell to the turf as the team’s coaches rushed to his assistance.

This kind of streak – the player being able to walk for a moment before realizing the knee is too loose to continue – most often signals a torn ACL.

Robert Saleh looks on as Zach Wilson is treated after injuring his knee.
Robert Saleh looks on as Zach Wilson is treated after injuring his knee.
PA

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

Wilson had just completed a clean 10-yard oblique pass to Elijah Moore on third down when, on a first-and-10 from the Jets’ 42-yard line, he was kicked out of the pocket to his right by Eagles defensemen Tarron Jackson and Jordan. Davis.

He walked past them both and watched 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 juke Dean with an inside move to gain a few (meaningless) extra yards.

Zach Wilson is taken off the field after injuring his knee.
Zach Wilson is taken off the field after injuring his knee.
PA

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

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

When Saleh was asked if Wilson should have just gone out of bounds, he quickly replied, “One hundred percent.”

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

Zach Wilson throws a pass during the Jets' first practice.
Zach Wilson throws a pass during the Jets’ first practice.
USA TODAY Sports

There, too, armchair general managers were flooding social media with projecting quarterback ideas for Jets general manager Joe Douglas’ next step in the event that Wilson’s injury effectively ended the season. Jimmy Garoppolo’s name started trending. A sarcastic joker on Twitter even suggested the Jets acquire Sam Darnold for a second round green.

When asked what’s next if it’s indeed the end of the season, Saleh replied: “Can we wait for the MRI results before we start talking about it?” I don’t want to put that negative juice in there.”

Asked about replacement quarterback Joe Flacco, 37, Saleh said, “You know how I feel about Joe. He is a phenomenal footballer. He has a great camp and he has plenty of juice left in the tank.

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

“If they put together a good first streak, we’ll call it a day,” Saleh said. “Otherwise we’ll just go over there and try to get a number of games.”

The first series, of course, was a dismal failure with Wilson intercepted on his fifth play from scrimmage. Then Wilson only managed four games in the second series – possibly the last four games of his 2022 season.

Now the Jets can only hope that’s not the case.

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