Zach Wilson to start preseason opener, limited to ‘one or two’ series – The Denver Post


Zach Wilson will start but with limited opportunities in the preseason opener Friday, the quarterback’s first action against another team since his disappointing rookie campaign ended seven months ago.

Wilson is scheduled for “one or two” series with the starters against the Eagles, according to coach Robert Saleh, before transitioning to backups Joe Flacco and Mike White, in that order.

“If the starters put together a good first series, we’ll call it a day,” Saleh said. “If not, we’ll try to go out there and get a certain amount of plays.”

For Wilson, the series in Philly are a culmination of a rollercoaster training camp that started poorly in the team drills but looked more promising in the final week. Wednesday was another strong day from Wilson, who led a drive with a sidearm bullet to Elijah Moore and a touchdown pass to Corey Davis.

Wilson completed all five of his pass attempts on the drive.

“It’s been good. The game is slowing down, all those good things,” Saleh said. “Obviously there’s another level that’s going to be reached. But really like the way he’s approaching every day. He’s unflappable in terms of not losing confidence.”

Wilson, one of the NFL’s worst-rated quarterbacks last season with more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (9), has boilerplate expectations for the first scrimmage.

“The biggest thing is going to be clean football, we have to go out there with no penalties. There’s going to be the penalties, but it’s going to be the pre-snap penalties that you need to avoid,” Wilson said. “I would say there’s the missed assignments that we need to avoid. We need to look like a football team out there.”


With Mekhi Becton done for the season because of a fractured kneecap, Robert Saleh declared an open battle for his vacant position.

“The whole right tackle spot is open,” the coach said Wednesday, declining to name a starter for Friday’s preseason game against the Eagles.

Rookie Max Mitchell, a fourth round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette, took the starter snaps in Wednesday’s practice, one day after 25-year-old Chuma Edoga filled that role.

Conor McDermott, a six-year veteran, is a strong candidate but is out in the short term with an ankle injury sustained over the weekend.

The Jets have also been open about their desire to sign free agent Duane Brown, who brings the strongest pedigree as a five-time Pro Bowler but is also turning 37 this month.

Asked about juggling development with immediate production from the right tackle, Saleh indicated he’d be less tolerant of growing pains. Such a philosophy would point to Brown, if he’s ever signed, although he’s theoretically less familiar with the system after missing training camp.

“The most important thing, no offense to anybody on our team, is to protect the quarterback,” Saleh said. “So the person who is best prepared to protect the quarterback will be out there.”


Perhaps no roster battle will be determined more by the preseason than field goal kicker, a contest which remains “neck-and-neck” between incumbent Eddy Piniero and free-agent signing Greg Zuerlein.

“Fans don’t get mad, there’s going to be some fourth downs when we send the kicking unit out instead of going for it,” Saleh said. “And it’s for a reason. We want to see where those guys are at.”

The Jets haven’t had a kicker with more than 33 field goals since Nick Folk, who left the team in 2016.


As the heat saturated Florham Park and training camp advanced to its final days, the number of scuffles between Jets players increased during the drills.

Nothing advanced to full-on brawl, and Saleh acknowledged he can’t take the moral high ground on this topic.

“I’m 43 years old and this morning I was in an argument my brother,” he said. “You just fight with your siblings. And it took me back to being a junior in high school when I suplexed him right on his face in the living room.”



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