Why Tyler Fulghum has his money on the Jets this week (0:38)Tyler Fulghum is backing Zach Wilson and Garrett Wilson to have big games against the Dolphins. (0:38)
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. Broadway review: Legendary quarterback Joe Namath, who made national headlines in September with his scorched-earth assessment of Zach Wilson, was impressed by his performance last week against the Houston Texans. Enough to offer a mea culpa and declare Wilson a changed quarterback? Uh, not exactly.
"No, no, I wouldn't go that far," Namath said in a phone interview with ESPN. "I see an improved quarterback. Yeah, I do see an improved quarterback -- in that game. In that game, he showed improvement, no doubt."
Wilson passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-6 victory. Namath wants to see him do it again on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. It would be a first. In 32 career starts, Wilson has yet to throw for 200 yards and a touchdown in back-to-back wins -- a relatively modest threshold, by NFL standards.
Namath, still a devout Jets fan after all these years, ripped Wilson after a Week 3 loss to the New England Patriots, saying in an ESPN New York radio interview that his performance (18-for-36, 157 yards) was "disgusting" and "I wouldn't keep him. I've seen enough of Zach Wilson."
"When we talk, I'm telling you how I see it," Namath said. "I don't remember exactly what I said back then. What I did say, I said. That's what I was feeling and seeing at the time."
"He's improving and we want to see him improve," Namath continued. "He has some wonderful athleticism and quick feet -- I keep emphasizing that -- and a strong arm. I don't know him. I don't know what's between the ears. Aaron [Rodgers] is probably helping him. Hopefully, we see more good play."
A lot has happened to Wilson since he was put on blast by the most famous player in Jets history. He played the role of game manager during a three-game winning streak (one touchdown pass in that stretch), then got benched when the offense went Arctic cold and scored only one touchdown during a three-game skid. He returned last week with the game of his life.
"Let's hope this is a beginning," Namath said. "Let's look for more play like that."
1a. Do it again: Encores are rare for Jets quarterbacks -- not just Wilson, but everyone. Consider: The last one to throw for 300 yards and two touchdowns in consecutive games was Chad Pennington in 2006.
2. Window closing: The Jets have to make a decision by Wednesday on whether to activate Rodgers from injured reserve. Teammates say he looks good in practice, but there's a big difference between limited, noncontact work in a controlled environment and the high-speed chaos of an actual game.
"It's great that he wants to play and go there, but I think those above him have to make the decision and say, 'Wait a second, let's put the brakes on this a little bit and make sure you're 100 percent healthy,'" former Jets quarterback Ken O'Brien said on ESPN's "Flight Deck" podcast.
"If it was up to me, though I know it's not popular and I'd love to have him play, I would say, 'Hey, let's wait for better days when you know you're 100 percent healthy and then you can go out and play.'"
The Jets could choose to activate him by Wednesday and add him to the 53-man roster, but not play him. That would allow him to practice for the remaining three weeks, giving everyone extra time to mull the final decision.
3. Haves and have nots: Quarterback stability matters. A lot.
It's no coincidence the eight NFL division leaders have used only one quarterback. All told, 16 teams fall into the one-starter category; their combined winning percentage is .587. Now let's look at the flip side. The 16 teams that have used multiple starters, including the Jets, have a .413 winning percentage.
The fallout will be felt in the offseason, when the market for backup quarterbacks is expected to rise. The Jets could be one of the teams looking for one, depending on how things shake out with Wilson.
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4. Reed this: Despite a 5-8 record, the Jets haven't lost their swagger on defense. In the rankings, they've climbed to No. 5 in yards allowed and No. 8 in scoring.
"I don't mean it arrogantly," cornerback D.J. Reed told ESPN, "but I feel like we've got the best defense in the NFL."
Reed gave props to the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, both highly-ranked defensive teams, but said they have "world-class offenses" that make it easier on the defense because they're usually playing with a lead. Everybody knows the Jets are rarely afforded that luxury. Last week was an exception, and the Jets responded with five sacks and 10 passes defensed, as Reed pointed out.
"So," he said, "I honestly feel like we have the best defense."
5. A very Brady streak: The Jets haven't allowed a 300-yard passer in 31 straight games, the longest streak by any team since the Indianapolis Colts' run of 52 straight from 2005 to 2008, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The last quarterback to burn the Jets for 300 was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tom Brady (410) in Week 17 of the 2021 season.
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6. Never too old: Tackle Duane Brown, 38, ran a pass route last week for the second time in his 17-year career. Used as a tackle-eligible on a goal-line play, he ran a corner route into the end zone on a play-action pass. He wasn't targeted, but took pride in noting that he was covered by the Texans' top cornerback, Derek Stingley. He was smiling when he said that.
7. Line dancing: The Dolphins lost starting center Connor Williams this week to a season-ending knee injury, a continuation of their injury woes on the offensive line. But they won't get any pity from the Jets, the poster team for offensive line upheaval. A quick snapshot of the Jets and Dolphins, two of the unluckiest teams when it comes to keeping the big fellas upright:
The Jets have employed 10 different starting combinations. The Dolphins are up to nine. Thirteen different linemen have played at least 50 snaps for the Jets -- a league high. The Dolphins have used 10.
Based on the Jets' Week 1 lineup, Jets starters have lost 23 games to injuries. The Dolphins stand at 20.
Clearly, the Dolphins are dealing with it better than the Jets. The Dolphins are No. 1 in total yards; the Jets are No. 32. That quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has started every game has helped them overcome the problem. The Jets got hit with the double whammy -- injuries at quarterback and up front.
8. A pick-12: In their past four meetings with the Dolphins, the Jets' touchdown leaders are Wilson, running back Michael Carter, wide receiver Braxton Berrios and cornerback Brandin Echols -- two apiece. Yep, that's right, Echols has two pick-sixes, including one in last month's Black Friday game.
9. Did you know? There have been 162 instances of a team scoring at least three offensive touchdowns in a game. The Jets have accounted for one out of the 162 -- last week.
10. The Last Word: "That's going to be legendary." -- linebacker Quincy Williams on the prospect on being selected to the Pro Bowl with younger brother Quinnen. The last time two brothers on the same team made it the same year was 1942: Ray and Cece Hare for Washington.
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