New York Jets Make Quarterback Switch as Playoff Hopes Fade
Journeyman Tim Boyle to Start Against Miami Dolphins
With the New York Jets’ playoff hopes slipping away and the talk of Aaron Rodgers’s potential return next month becoming moot, Coach Robert Saleh announced a starting quarterback switch on Monday. Journeyman Tim Boyle will start Friday’s game at home against the Miami Dolphins, as the Jets in effect acknowledged Zach Wilson is not the answer to their quarterback issues.
Saleh benched Wilson, the No. 2 selection in the 2021 NFL draft, in favor of Boyle during Sunday’s 32-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills, dropping the Jets’ record to 4-6. Saleh was noncommittal following the game about the starter moving forward, but during a news conference on Monday, he confirmed that Boyle will get the nod against the Dolphins.
“Different style of quarterback,” Saleh said. “So really it’s just to give him an opportunity to see if we can do something with the offense.”
Trevor Siemian will be the primary backup to Boyle on Friday, Saleh said, with Wilson serving as the No. 3 quarterback.
The Jets currently sit 14th in the AFC, ahead of only the Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots. They are two games out of the seventh and final playoff spot in the conference. A defeat on Friday, in the NFL’s new Friday-after-Thanksgiving game, would further dent their postseason chances. Meanwhile, the Dolphins, with a record of 7-3, lead the AFC East.
The Jets thought they had solved their quarterback dilemma when they made a blockbuster offseason trade with the Green Bay Packers to add Rodgers, the four-time MVP and certain future Hall of Famer. However, Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon in his left leg on the fourth offensive play of the Jets’ season-opening triumph over the Bills. Saleh initially said Rodgers would undergo surgery and was expected to miss the rest of the season.
Rodgers underwent surgery with a technique designed to speed up his recovery and has taken an aggressive approach to his rehabilitation process. He has left open the possibility of playing again this season, perhaps as soon as the middle of next month. However, a prospective return by Rodgers would be contingent upon the Jets remaining in the playoff race, which they are currently teetering on the edge of.
In their next four games, the Jets will face the Dolphins twice and also have a meeting with the playoff-contending Houston Texans. These matchups will be crucial in determining their postseason fate.
Wilson completed 7 of 15 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Bills before his benching. However, he also threw an interception and currently ranks as the NFL’s 30th-rated passer. The Jets’ offense has struggled, ranking 30th in total offense and 30th in scoring offense.
Saleh has expressed his belief in the Jets’ championship-caliber defense, which has mostly performed well during Rodgers’s absence. However, the offense has been unable to do its part in supporting the team’s playoff aspirations.
Boyle, who has made three starts in his NFL career, all resulting in losses with the Detroit Lions in 2021, will now have the opportunity to lead the Jets’ offense. In his relief appearance against the Bills on Sunday, Boyle completed 7 of 14 passes for 33 yards but also threw an interception.
The Jets drafted Wilson out of BYU right after the Jacksonville Jaguars took Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence at No. 1. Wilson has made 31 starts in his three seasons with the Jets, totaling 21 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions. The team has gone 11-20 in his starts. Saleh benched Wilson twice last season but opted to retain him as Rodgers’s backup following the trade with the Packers.
Following Rodgers’s injury, the Jets went back to Wilson as the starter without adding a prominent veteran to the roster. Wilson’s four-year rookie contract with the Jets runs through the 2024 season.