FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Zach Wilson will start at quarterback for the New York Jets at Pittsburgh on Sunday, six weeks after having knee surgery.
Coach Robert Saleh announced the decision Wednesday to have the second-year QB make his season debut “if all goes well this week” at practice.
Wilson had been ramping up workouts in recent weeks, but Saleh said Monday the Jets were waiting for the quarterback’s doctors to clear him before making a decision about this week.
Joe Flacco started the first three games of the season, during which the Jets went 1-2 — including a stunning victory at Cleveland two weeks ago when they rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final 1:55.
Wilson suffered a bone bruise in the pre-season opener against Philadelphia on Aug. 12 and needed arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He was initially expected to miss two to four weeks, but the Jets insisted they wouldn’t rush Wilson back to the field.
The 23-year-old Wilson is the focal point of a franchise looking to end an 11-year playoff drought — the NFL’s longest active skid.
After a rookie season that was marked by early struggles, a sprained PCL that sidelined him four games and a solid finish when he returned, Wilson is being counted on to take a leap in his progress.
He appeared more confident and accurate in training camp, especially in the two weeks before he was injured.
Saleh acknowledged the injury this summer was a setback for Wilson because he was missing valuable practice time and snaps in preseason games. But the coach also said Wilson was taking mental reps throughout and wouldn’t need a ramp-up period before playing.
The Jets didn’t put Wilson on injured reserve so he could practice with the team while he worked his way back from the injury.