Jets QB Aaron Rodgers has 'some personal guilt' over Zach Wilson's benching
The New York Jets have finally moved on from Zach Wilson, electing to hand the reins to Tim Boyle for the team’s Black Friday tilt against the Miami Dolphins.
It’s the second quarterback change in Gotham this season, although the first one — the shift from Aaron Rodgers to Wilson — was involuntary following the four-time MVP’s Achilles tear in the season opener.
Rodgers, who is still attacking rehab with hopes of returning this season, spoke about Wilson’s benching Tuesday on The Pat McAfee Show.
“We need a spark, and obviously this was the decision that was made,” he said. “I feel for Zach. I love Zach. Zach’s such a great kid, and I do think he still has a bright future in the league. This has been a tough go for all of us. A lot of times in these situations, there’s certain guys that have got to be the scapegoat. I think there’s enough blame to go around a number of different positions. If you have 10 guys doing it right on a play and one guy not, it’s hard to be efficient.”
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Inefficiency has been the name of the game for New York’s offense with Wilson in charge. While their defense ranks 11th in scoring and yards allowed, the Jets sit at 30th in both of those categories offensively through 11 weeks.
The entire operation could be better, but Wilson bears plenty of weight for the unit’s shortcomings. He is tied for last out of 34 eligible QBs in completion percentage (59.2). He’s 32nd with a 31.0 QBR.
The third-year pro, a former No. 2 overall pick, has thrown for 1,944 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season, with his worst performance of the year — a stinker that included just 81 yards passing — resulting in his benching Sunday against the Bills.
Wilson is now slated to be inactive Friday. Trevor Siemian will serve as backup to Boyle.
Despite all this, Rodgers remains steadfast that his protégé can still make his mark in the league, and he feels responsible for a portion of Wilson’s downfall this year.
“This was obviously not the way any of us thought this was going to go down,” Rodgers said. “It was going to be me and my show, and Zach getting to learn and watch it first-hand, and not having the pressure to go out there and play. So, obviously, this is disappointing. I have some personal guilt around the whole thing. I’m pissed I wasn’t able to play and frustrated that, you know, if I was out there then I feel like I’d be playing well, and there would be different narratives around our team.
“So, I’m disappointed and sad about that, but it is what it is. We’re all going to support Tim and move forward, but we’re also gonna put our arms around Zach and love on him because he’s a great kid, and it’s not all his fault. This is the way it goes sometimes.”
Given the tumult of the Jets’ season — two different three-game losing streaks resulting in a 4-6 record and Wilson heading to the bench in favor of Boyle — Rodgers’ comeback push might feel needless.
Of course, he doesn’t see it that way.
He confirmed he’d love to be trending toward practicing by his birthday, which falls on Dec. 2. In the meantime, he believes the Jets still have everything to play for.
“We’re going to push as hard as we can,” Rodgers said. “There’s been some 4-6 teams that have made runs over the years. … The season is definitely not over. I’m good. A lot left to play for. I’m excited about where I’m at in the rehab. Things are progressing as quickly as I thought they would.”
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