Zach Wilson suffers right knee injury in preseason opener vs. Eagles, Jets wait on MRI results – The Denver Post



If it wasn’t for bad luck the Jets would have no luck whatsoever.

Their preseason started Friday about as poorly as you can imagine, with quarterback Zach Wilson limping off the field because of a knee injury in the first quarter of a 24-21 victory over the Eagles.

The injury was noncontact on Wilson’s seven-yard scramble in the open field, adding to fears about the potential severity. The QB was quick to motion to the sideline for assistance, then fell to the ground and was examined by trainers.

He limped to the locker room and was listed as questionable to return with a right knee injury. Coach Robert Saleh declined to reveal whether Wilson’s knee was stable in preliminary tests and said an MRI is pending.

“He’s in good spirits,” Saleh said. “He’s as good as he can be in this situation.”

Wilson didn’t talk to the media.

The scene followed an ugly first series for Wilson, who threw an interception on his third pass by telegraphing the target. The former second overall pick finished with three completions on five attempts for 23 yards and the interception.

He was scheduled to play two series, at most, but couldn’t even get that far. The fateful scramble ended after Wilson performed a hard cut and juke move to avoid Eagles linebacker Nakobe Dean. The quarterback might’ve tried a leg slide to reduce the risk of injury, but, at only 23 years old, Wilson’s run was a relatively safe play and the injury was fluky. Ironically, the coaching staff spent much of training camp lauding Wilson’s growth in going off script and keeping plays alive. He did it once Friday and was injured.

If the diagnosis and test results are unfavorable, this becomes yet another example of Gang Green’s infinite misfortune. Especially in preseason.

Joe Namath, Chad Pennington and Mark Sanchez were all injured in Jets preseasons of the past, with Sanchez hurting his shoulder in the fourth quarter because Rex Ryan desperately wanted to win a meaningless exhibition.

Mike White replaced Wilson on Friday against the Eagles, but Joe Flacco — who didn’t dress for the preseason opener — is considered the first backup.

“Everyone knows how I feel about Joe,” Saleh said. “He’s got a lot of juice left in the tank.”

Wilson has been billed as the franchise, with the Jets undeterred by his underwhelming and turnover-laden rookie campaign.

These Jets already lost their 2020 first-round pick for the season, offensive lineman Mekhi Becton, who fractured his kneecap in training camp. Wilson, who was drafted second overall in 2021, was among the NFL’s worst rated quarterbacks last season with more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (9). He improved in the second half of the season, however, providing hope about a potential breakthrough in Year 2.

If he’s out for an extended period, GM Joe Douglas could explore another avenue with Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on the trade market. Garoppolo, who lost his starting job to Trey Lance, was with Robert Saleh in San Francisco during their Super Bowl run in 2019, when the Jets head coach was the 49ers defensive coordinator.

The Jets have a brutal start to the regular season schedule, with their opening games against Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Miami, Green Bay and New England.

DEFENSE GIVES UP QUICK TOUCHDOWN

The Jets’ starting defense avoided serious injury but was also underwhelming, allowing the Eagles an easy 80-yard touchdown drive in under four minutes to start the game.

Philly quarterback Jalen Hurts set the tone with a 28-yard pass on the first play, running away from Quinnen Williams’ pressure to hit receiver Quez Watkins. Hurts completed his initial four passes, but would’ve faced a fourth down if not for a boneheaded late-hit penalty from linebacker Quincy Williams.

“Egregiously awful,” Saleh called the play.

Hurts, who played only one series Friday, tossed a 22-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert on his final pass.

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