Earlier this week we heard that Zach Wilson had a chance to play on Sunday against the Ravens, 48 hours later we learn that he’ll be missing for three weeks at the earliest. That may have been a little gamesmanship from Saleh but John Harbaugh said the Ravens expected Joe Flacco all along, and now the Browns and Bengals now to prepare for Joe too, so I’m not sure anything was gained there.
We’re going to get into the first injury report of the new season, and ask “Should we be worried about Zach’s durability?”.
According to an ESPN article, the Jets have a 0.7% chance of winning the Super Bowl this year and only a 10.5% chance of making the playoffs. Only the Bears and Texans have worse odds to lift a championship this season.
PFF released their matchups to watch for each game this weekend and chose Baltimore tackle Ronnie Stanley vs Jets edge rusher Carl Lawson as the key matchup for us. As you’ll see below it’s unclear if Stanley will even play, so this may end up being Ju’Wuan James vs Carl Lawson.
St. Thomas Aquinas football coach Tarig Holman has been selected as the New York Jets’ weekly High School Coach of the Week Game Changer. He’ll receive $2,500 for his Trojan football program.
The Philadelphia Eagles released former Jets draft pick, RB La’Michal Perine, just a couple of days after signing him.
The Pittsburgh Steelers placed Hamilcar Rasheed on the practice squad/injured list, Hamilcar was a UDFA of the Jets last year and was one of the final roster cuts this season.
You know the football season is here when you keenly anticipate the release of the injury report throughout the week.
First of all, let’s have a quick look at the Baltimore Ravens.
Overall the Ravens are in a good spot heading into week one, Jones is looking unlikely to play as he continues rehabbing from a knee injury he suffered several weeks ago. There’s a chance Dobbins, Stanley, and Peters all suit up but John Harbaugh has said they won’t rush anyone back. Remember Stanley was rehabbing heading into week one last year, he played (probably before he was ready) and injured himself again.
Harbaugh did say that Dobbins was “ascending quickly” but again they may want to ease him back in, same with Marcus Peters. We’ll see if any of them can log a full practice before the end of the week, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them all play (minus Jones) and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them all sit either.
Moving onto the Jets:
We’ll talk a little more about Zach below but the big noticeable absence here is starting left tackle Duane Brown. I’m not overly concerned with Fant being limited, that’s management, but Brown not practicing at all with a shoulder injury is worrisome. Due to the injury to Becton late in camp and the subsequent signing of Brown, the Jet’s offensive line has had little time to prepare as a unit. These practice week reps are absolutely vital for the cohesiveness of the unit, missing your left tackle in this situation is less than ideal.
You want to see him back on the field today and if he can even log a couple of limited practices, I’d expect him to suit up on Sunday.
Justin Hardee is the captain of the special teams unit and you’d want him out there in week one, but it is good to see DJ Reed back on the field. The new signing has been solid through camp and is coming off a great year with Seattle, so hopefully, he can log a full practice and is ready to go this weekend.
When Zach Wilson went down in the preseason opener I think we all thought the worst. A knee buckling in a non-contact change of direction scenario is rarely followed by good news. However, tests revealed a small meniscus tear and bone bruise, estimated at a 2-4 week recovery timeframe, he had the operation on the 16th of August.
Next Tuesday will represent the 4-week stage of the timetable, and while that was a loose estimation the fact he’s been ruled out until week 4 “at the earliest” according to Saleh is concerning.
The Jets are set to face the Steelers on October 2nd, which will be their 4th game of the season, 47 days after his surgery. By that point, he would have missed 7 games in just over a year of professional football, or 35% of all games available to play. Considering the injuries that have sidelined him all relate to the same knee, I think it’s fair to be just a little bit concerned about his future.
Zach isn’t overly concerned but you wouldn’t really expect him to say anything else: "For what the injury was, I'm very optimistic to be able to get back and still play football the way I want to this year,". Saleh’s comments echoed the Jet’s desire to not rush him back before he’s ready: "We're going to make sure mind and body are 110 percent and make sure we do right by him, We feel like, from talking to the doctors and everyone, it's going to be that Pittsburgh week."
The Jets could have opted to send Zach to short-term IR which would have opened up a roster space for the Jets to use over the first four weeks of the season. The team chose not to do that for two reasons:
They hope he can return against the Steelers and under the rules of short-term IR he could have had to miss four games before he could be activated.
They want him to be able to practice within the structure of the team while he rehabs, the expectation is that he may be able to start limited sessions next week.
You won’t hear anything but positivity from the team, but two injuries and a minimum of 7 games missed are notable. Zach confirmed that he can drop back and throw but right now he hasn’t been running, all through the pre-draft process we heard about his off-platform ability and how escaping pressure with his legs was one of his best traits, if physically/mentally he starts to question that knee and it affects that part of his game, you’re not getting the full package.
It’s too early to be really concerned but 2022 was a big season for Wilson after a very disappointing rookie campaign, and now he’ll be playing catchup.
This does present an opportunity for Joe Flacco however, and while at 37 he doesn’t have the ceiling Zach has, he arguably has the higher floor to maximize the talent around him. This isn’t where the Jets wanted to be, but they’re in safe hands with Flacco at the helm. He’ll also be facing the Ravens for the first time since he left the team in 2019, good story that we hope has a good ending for the Jets.
"You know, it's all good to say and talk about it until, all of a sudden, the lights get turned on," Flacco told team reporter Eric Allen and former Ravens and Jets linebacker Bart Scott on the new edition of "The Official Jets Podcast." "Your emotions get the best of you. As I said, football is a team sport. It's about the team. So, I'm going to make sure that I try to do as much as possible, as I said, I've been through it enough times to see how it goes. So, I think I'd be a little bit naive to think that it [emotions] can be zero."
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