Zach Wilson injury continues troubling trend for New York Jets linebackers – New York Jets Blog

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A look at what’s going on around the New York Jets:

1. Here they are again: Everyone knows the Jets have a stellar history when it comes to developing quarterbacks, and one of the reasons is that they can’t keep them out of the coach’s room.

For the second time in 10 months, Zach Wilson is staring down the possibility of missing the regular season with a right knee injury. While the Jets haven’t ruled him out for the opener, the most realistic scenario is Joe Flacco starting a game or two. One of the knocks on Wilson during the 2021 recruiting process was his durability (shoulder surgery and a thumb injury in college), and he did nothing to change that narrative.

Wilson, who missed four games last season, can’t improve if he deals with stops and starts due to injuries. He’s still playing young (see: his needless fight on Friday night that led to the injury) and the only thing that can change that is time and repetition. So did Sam Darnold, who missed three games in 2018 (foot), three in 2019 (mono) and four in 2020 (shoulder).

If we’re listing quarterbacks whose careers were sabotaged by injuries, start with Joe Namath in the early 1970s. Another example is Chad Pennington, who was on his way to big things before suffering shoulder injuries in 2004 and 2005. Mark Sanchez’s Jets career ended with a shoulder injury in 2013, even though he was already on his way to leave.

The last quarterback to start every game of the season? Ryan Fitzpatrick, 2015. Fitz Magic, indeed.

Flacco, 37, hasn’t won a start since 2019, but he’s a seasoned pro who will make the right decisions. His lack of mobility will limit the offense, of course. Yes, he outplayed Wilson some days early in training camp, but let’s be real: No one is going to show up on Sept. 11 at MetLife Stadium to see Flacco lead the offense.

Wilson’s injury, while not a total disaster, is terrible. The franchise is all too familiar with that feeling.

2. Disappointed mimes: It was an unusual sight: That day, there was wide receiver Denzel Mims talking to Saleh in the middle of the field, away from the other players — during practice. It’s not unusual to see a player in Saleh’s field. A few days later, they had another face-to-face conversation on the pitch during a break. They also had private backstage chats.

Something is going on. Mims, who has already expressed his belief that he is good enough to be a starter, is not satisfied with his options.

“Yeah, he’s expressing that and he has to express it,” Saleh said before the preseason opener. “If he didn’t think he was a starter, I’d think he’d have a serious problem. … He’s improving and he’s really expressing frustration, but at the same time it’s not phasing his day-to-day approach, which is great.”

On Friday night, Mims capped off a strange week with a mixed performance. He had two catches for 25 yards, but also had a drop and a formation penalty. He played just 15 snaps on offense, none of the starters. He was the seventh wide receiver to enter the game. Strangely, he received a lot of positive feedback from the coaches during the build-up to the game, sources said.

Mims has not requested a trade, although it is believed that some teams would be interested if general manager Joe Douglas decided to shop him. Mims lives just a few miles from the Dallas Cowboys’ facility, and everyone knows the Cowboys are struggling at receiver — even though they’ve expressed confidence in their current group.

It’s hard to imagine Douglas giving up the second pick in 2020, but if the right offer comes along… who knows? His roster spot is currently in jeopardy.

3. Historically Injured: You’d be hard-pressed to find many players who have had worse injury luck than Mekki Becton (knee), who is expected to miss the season, a source said. Consider his first three seasons:

2020: 14 games played.

2021: One game.

2022: Zero.

No offensive lineman drafted in the top 15 since 1990 will have played in fewer games than Becton in his first three seasons if he misses all of 2022, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The last player with fewer games was John Clay, the 15th pick of the Raiders in 1987. He played just 12 games in his first two seasons, never making it past the third year.

Although Saleh said Becton’s “journey is not over,” it’s fair to wonder about his future. He has surgery for the second time on his right knee, both affecting the knee cap. That, combined with a history of weight and conditioning issues, will certainly make a comeback more challenging.

Defenseman Carl Lawson, who overcame two ACL surgeries and a torn Achilles, knows how grueling rehab can be. He said Becton faces a “tough road,” especially if he addresses the negativity on social media. “It might cloud his judgment, it might not,” he said. “I don’t know what his story will be. If you want something, you find a way to sacrifice what you can and go get it.”

4. It’s easy to do: One of the keys to the success of newly signed offensive tackle Dwayne Brown will be managing his practice reps. He’ll be 37 when the season begins, with 12,529 snaps under his belt. His knees are creaking so he needs rest. The Seattle Seahawks did a great job last season getting 17 starts out of him.

According to official injury reports, Brown has sat out 20 of 51 regular-season practices. There was only one week where he practiced every day. In almost all cases, he was not listed with an injury, just an “off” day.

The Jets are believed to have a similar plan. The downside is that since he is new to the team and the system, he needs to train as much as possible. There are just 12 practices left in training camp before they begin their Week 1 preparations, including just seven in pads. The clock is ticking.

5. Accommodation: Williams’ agent, Nicole Lynn of Klutch Sports, visited the Jets’ facility six days ago to meet with Douglas. No, this does not mean that a contract extension is forthcoming. The two sides have an open line of communication and touch base at times; this has been going on for several months.

Williams, entering his fourth season, is eligible for a new contract for the first time. With his fifth-year option, he’s under contract through 2023, so there’s no sense of urgency for the Jets. Williams could improve his negotiating position with a monster year, and people around the team said he had a great camp.

6. Second career: Speaking of agents, former Jets GM Mike McAgnan is now a registered agent, according to the NFLPA directory. There is no information about whether there are any customers.

7. The Richmond Pipeline: When Douglas needs an offensive punch, he looks to Richmond, Virginia. Consider:

Becton, Brown and Morgan Moses, a 2021 free agent signee, were all born and attended high school in the Richmond area. It’s clear that Douglas has an affinity for the city. He was also born and raised in the area. Where did he go to college? The University of Richmond, of course.

Note to all Richmond natives with offensive line experience: Send Douglas game tapes.

8. The Last Word: “Have a legendary day.” — linebacker Kwon Alexander at the end of each media session

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