McAfee on Zach Wilson: 'I'm sick of watching him' (1:56)Pat McAfee talks about Zach Wilson's struggles and ponders how he's still the Jets' starting quarterback. (1:56)
While he accepted his latest demotion without objection, Wilson said he believes he is an improved player who paid the price for an offense that has scored only nine touchdowns in 10 games. But he doesn't think he was treated unfairly.
"I don't think I was scapegoated. Absolutely not," he said Tuesday. "You've got to look at the situation. We're not scoring touchdowns. Regardless of what I'm doing, my job as a quarterback is to help us score points. I can sit here and say I've had a bunch of growth and tremendous whatever this year, but if you're not scoring touchdowns, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. And I get that."
On Monday, Wilson -- drafted No. 2 in 2021 -- was replaced by journeyman Tim Boyle, who will start Friday against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Boyle will be their third starter. Aaron Rodgers lasted only four plays before tearing an Achilles, forcing Wilson into the lineup in what was supposed to be a "redshirt year," as coach Robert Saleh has called it.
Wilson lost his grip on the starting job last Nov. 22, when he was benched in favor of Mike White. A poor performance against the New England Patriots, coupled with a postgame news conference in which he deflected blame, factored into that decision.
"It's a lot different," Wilson said, comparing the two situations. "Obviously, I wasn't doing anything well last year. It was well-deserved. I felt like it was deserved in the locker room. But where I'm at right now, it's like we're truly struggling as an offense. It's hard to point the finger at anybody. I hope we can figure things out and I'll take that if that's the issue.
"No matter what, I just want this team to do well. But it is different. I know I'm a different player. I know I've come a long way. I understand the game more, I feel confident out there playing. For whatever reason, can't get it done. I understand that comes with the position. It's unfortunate, but I'm going to keep working."
Wilson showed occasional flashes in the Jets' four wins, but he struggled with his consistency. Out of 32 qualified passers, he ranks 30th in Total QBR (30.8), 32nd in completion percentage (59.2) and 30th in yards per attempt (6.1). On Sunday, the Jets (4-6) dropped their third straight, falling to the Buffalo Bills 32-6. Boyle replaced Wilson in the third quarter, setting the stage for a change.
Lack of continuity on the offensive line has been a major issue. The Jets have used eight starting combinations and a total of 11 starters, a league high. Against the Bills, the line included two players in their first NFL game -- guard Chris Glaser and tackle Carter Warren.
Not only was he benched, but Wilson was demoted to No. 3, behind Boyle and Trevor Siemian, neither of whom was on the 53-man roster at the start of the season. Boyle was on the practice squad. Siemian, who arrived in late September, was signed Tuesday from the practice squad.
"I can't take it personal," Wilson said of the fall on the depth chart. "It's not a shot at me."
He said he wasn't surprised at all by Saleh's decision. Wilson, signed through 2024, said he hasn't thought about his future. With an $11.2 million cap charge in 2024, the former BYU star seems unlikely to be back.
"I want to see us succeed, whether I'm out there or not," said Wilson, whose record as a starter is 10-21.
Saleh said he is hoping Boyle can provide a much-needed spark against the high-powered Dolphins. Boyle is 0-3 as a starter (all with the Detroit Lions in 2021) and has only 120 career attempts, but he has played in this offense before and has a background with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
"I'm not someone who's going to be shell-shocked by the moment," said Boyle, adding that he believes "you have to feel like you're dangerous out there."
Boyle was undrafted in 2019 after a nondescript career at UConn and Eastern Kentucky. He had only one season as a full-time starter and finished his career with more interceptions than touchdowns.
"Accountability is No. 1 at quarterback and I didn't play well in college, but here I am Year 6 in the NFL," he said. "I feel like I have enough. I can get the ball out on time and make all the throws. I can see into the pocket and be a good quarterback for this team, so that's what I intend to do."