Robert Saleh nonetheless hasn’t formally stated the phrases, however he’s left little question about his intentions: Rookie Zach Wilson would be the Jets’ Opening Day starter.
What’s behind him on the depth chart, although, is anyone’s guess.
Saleh, the Jets’ rookie head coach, has by no means appeared to embrace an urgency to again up his 22-year-old quarterback with a grizzled veteran. Even after the Jets signed the well-travelled Josh Johnson on Aug. 4, he barely took any snaps in apply and didn’t get any preseason motion till Friday evening.
Now, Saleh has to decide on between the 35-year-old Johnson, who’s the one quarterback on the Jets roster with an NFL snap on his resume, or the inexperienced duo of James Morgan and Mike White. And on Saturday, another choice appeared to emerge when the Philadelphia Eagles traded for Gardner Minshew and lower Nick Mullens.
Mullens spent the previous three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, making 16 begins whereas operating the offense that the Jets at the moment are going to run.
Mullens, to be sincere, looks like the best choice and match. The 26-year-old began eight video games for the injury-depleted 49ers final season and was a minimum of competent, regardless of going 2-6. He accomplished 64.7 p.c of his passes for two,437 yards and 12 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 10 video games. He had equally mediocre numbers when he made eight begins in 2018 because the 49ers went 3-5.
That’s not thrilling, nevertheless it checks the mandatory packing containers for a backup: Expertise, competence, and skill to return in and never fully implode in an emergency. He will not be pretty much as good as Joe Flacco – one other quarterback who may quickly be accessible from the Eagles – however he’s a heck of quite a bit higher than former Jets emergency starter Luke Falk, who had a disastrous cameo two years in the past.
Then once more, Johnson, White and even Morgan most likely clear that bar, too. White and Morgan have regarded respectable at occasions this summer time. White, who didn’t play on Saturday evening, had his second within the preseason opener towards the Giants, going 13-of-19 for 127 yards. The perfect for Morgan, a fourth-round draft choose in 2020, got here Friday evening when he went 13 of 23 for 158 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, together with the game-tying, 50-yard Hail Mary on the buzzer towards the Eagles.
It was Johnson, although, who obtained the beginning towards the Eagles and regarded the perfect, transferring the offense and finishing 7 of his 8 passes for 73 yards and a landing.
“He doesn’t appear like he’s in his mid-30s when he’s operating round and slinging the ball,” Saleh stated. “I assumed he was very productive. He’s a veteran and knew precisely the place to go together with the ball. He was decisive with it, so I assumed he was productive.”
Johnson, by the way in which, is aware of this Jets offense too since he spent seven months in San Francisco from final November till June. He’s also referred to as an excellent man, a terrific mentor, and able to getting into the huddle in a pinch, which is why he’s lasted 14 NFL season and kicked round with 13 completely different groups.
Johnson, although, hasn’t thrown a regular-season go since Dec. 30, 2018. And regardless of his longevity, he’s solely made eight profession begins (successful solely as soon as). Mullens has much less service time, however extra in-game expertise, which is why he is likely to be a greater possibility.
Then once more, Saleh had a front-row seat for the Mullens expertise in San Francisco, but the Jets confirmed little-to-no curiosity in Mullens in free company. He was accessible till signing with the Eagles on June 14.
Saleh has revealed little of his ideas on his backup quarterback state of affairs, besides to insist he’s been comfy with what the Jets have. On Friday evening, he stated, “All of them obtained higher as all the camp went alongside.”
That’s true, however now he wants to determine which of them usually are not solely the perfect to assist in the event of Wilson, however might be most capable of hold the Jets afloat if Wilson has to overlook a begin or two, for no matter cause. It’s exhausting to think about he’d belief two quarterbacks — White and Morgan — who’ve the identical lack of expertise as his rookie starter.
Which suggests the first backup job most likely comes right down to this: Is Saleh comfy with Johnson, or will he revisit a reunion with Mullens? And don’t overlook, all NFL groups want to chop their rosters from 80 to 53 by Tuesday at 4 p.m., which implies a couple of extra skilled quarterbacks — like Flacco — may quickly be accessible, too.
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