PHILADELPHIA — All that was ever going to matter for the Jets this season was the quarterback.
Zach Wilson was all that mattered. All the things revolved round his progress.
In his second season after a tough rookie yr, Wilson was the linchpin to something the Jets had been hoping to perform in 2022.
Certain, there have been a couple of dozen different Jets being evaluated Friday evening of their preseason opener towards the Eagles at Lincoln Monetary Subject — a thoroughly-inconsequential 24-21 Jets comeback win.
However Wilson was the one participant who actually mattered.
Everybody was ready to see at the least small indicators of enchancment from him between Yr One and Yr Two, and Friday evening was poised to offer an early glimpse.
However now, after the regarding non-contact damage Wilson sustained to his proper knee on his ninth play from scrimmage, Wilson’s Yr Two could also be over earlier than it started — although sources advised The Publish the Jets are hopeful his damage will solely trigger him to overlook weeks reasonably than months.
However, a Jets season that already carried with it extra questions than an SAT examination is unsure, if not outright peril.
Zach Wilson is handled on the sphere after injuring his knee. Chris Szagola/CSM/Shutterstock
After the sport, head coach Robert Saleh was cautious to not be overly optimistic.
“I’m all the time involved till you get the ultimate analysis,” mentioned Saleh, who added the ACL remains to be intact based mostly on first assessments however mentioned the MRI examination will inform the story. “We’ve walked off the sphere with very constructive ideas, and it’s been reverse. We’ve walked off the sphere with dangerous preliminary readings and it’s been the other. I’m simply going to let it play out and we’ll see [Saturday].
“I simply need to let all of it play out and I’ll hold saying my nightly prayers and let’s see what occurs.’’
Even supposing Wilson was within the locker room after the sport (however not when reporters had been admitted), the Jets inexplicably declined to make him accessible.
Final season, when Wilson injured his PCL in a sport at New England, he was made accessible to talk to reporters. Clearly, the very fact the workforce shielded him from reporters was a certain signal that the information just isn’t good.
“He’s in good spirits. He’s advantageous,’’ Saleh mentioned, placing on a courageous face to all of it. “A bit pissed off, clearly, however he’s nearly as good as you may be within the scenario.’’
The Jets’ 2022 season flashed earlier than their disbelieving eyes with 4:02 remaining within the first quarter when Wilson received up limping after a scramble and ultimately fell to the turf as workforce trainers rushed to his help.
That form of sequence — the participant capable of stroll for a second earlier than realizing the knee is just too free to proceed — most of the time indicators a torn ACL.
Robert Saleh watches as Zach Wilson is tended to after injuring his knee. AP
That might be the worst-case state of affairs. A Jets case state of affairs. Right here we go once more. The Jets are in disaster but once more.
Wilson had simply accomplished a crisp 10-yard slant go to Elijah Moore on third down when, on a first-and-10 from the Jets 42-yard line, he was flushed from the pocket to his proper by Eagles defenders Tarron Jackson and Jordan Davis.
He outran each of them and was staring down Eagles rookie linebacker Nakobe Dean within the open area close to the precise sideline. As a substitute of simply cruising out of bounds to dwell to play one other down, Wilson tried to juke Dean with an inside transfer to achieve a couple of further (meaningless) yards.
Zach Wilson is taken off the sphere after injuring his knee. AP
Generally, nice athletic means, which Wilson possesses, is usually a curse.
One thing dangerous occurred inside his proper knee joint when he made that transfer and Wilson’s evening — and probably his season — was over.
When Saleh was requested whether or not Wilson ought to have merely run out of bounds, he rapidly responded, “One hundred percent.’’
Inside minutes, Twitter was alive with medical consultants diagnosing Wilson’s damage after merely watching it on TV.
Zach Wilson throws a go in the course of the Jets’ first drive. USA TODAY Sports activities
There, too, had been armchair normal managers flooding social media projecting next-step quarterback concepts for Jets GM Joe Douglas within the occasion Wilson’s damage is, certainly, season-ending. Jimmy Garoppolo’s identify started trending. One snide Twitter jokester even recommended the Jets purchase Sam Darnold for a second go-round in inexperienced.
Requested what the subsequent step is that if that is, certainly, season ending, Saleh mentioned: “Can we wait till after we get the MRI outcomes earlier than we begin speaking about that? I don’t need to put that adverse juice in there.’’
When requested about 37-year-old backup quarterback Joe Flacco, Saleh mentioned: “You guys understand how I really feel about Joe. He’s an exceptional soccer participant. He’s having an awesome camp and he’s received a variety of juice left within the tank.’’
Saleh mentioned earlier than the sport the plan was to play Wilson and the remainder of the starters for a collection or two.
“In the event that they put collectively a very good first collection, we’ll name it a day,’’ Saleh mentioned. “If not, we’ll simply go on the market and attempt to get a sure variety of performs.’’
The primary collection, in fact, was an abject failure with Wilson intercepted on his fifth play from scrimmage. Then Wilson made it via simply 4 performs in second collection — probably the ultimate 4 performs of his 2022 season.
Now, the Jets solely can hope that isn’t the case.