Most Jets fans have had enough of quarterback Zach Wilson. Former Jets quarterback Joe Namath is among the most.
Namath, appearing with Michael Kay on ESPN New York, ripped on Monday the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, who has been thrust into the starting job after Aaron Rodgers suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.
"I didn't take anything positive out of it," Namath said. "It was awful."
Namath was particularly irked by Wilson's decision to sit down for a sack.
"You sit down?" Namath said. "You sit down on a play? You go right down? What happened? I thought you're trying to win and make plays. You quit on a play? What is going on? It's disgusting."
That's a little over the top. Back in Namath's day, quarterbacks rarely played — or ever were coached — to live to see another play. Today, most quarterbacks are told to give up on a play before taking a hit. Really, if things aren't great with Zach Wilson, how would they be any better if he gets injured and Tim Boyle enters the fray?
Ordinarily, the comments of an 80-year-old former player wouldn't matter. But Joe Willie Namath is the one doing the talking, and Jets fans are the ones doing the listening. They've already had enough of Wilson. They'll stand and cheer for anyone in a position of actual or perceived influence who tells them what they want to hear.
Namath also aimed higher in his criticism, at coach Robert Saleh and G.M. Joe Douglas.
"These guys aren't picking the right players," Namath said. "They aren't doing a good job of coaching. It's evident. I mean, you've got to look and see. If you have an eye for football at all you see things are haywire. It's too crazy. They need to fix it and that's getting rid of a lot of people and bringing new ones in. . . . They need to make major changes, from top to bottom."
Joe, they're 1-2. They beat the Bills on the night Rodgers was injured. And these folks who supposedly aren't picking the right players picked Rodgers, whose presence created real Super Bowl expectations. Until the first drive of the season ended.
How many teams would move seamlessly from franchise quarterback to benched starter turned backup? Remember, the Jets have a brand-new offensive coordinator, a coach who presumably (or coincidentally) was hired to lure Rodgers to town. For Wilson, the offense is brand new — and he's getting a crash course on the fly.
Again, what else can the Jets do at quarterback? We laid out the options, or lack of them, on Monday. They're screwed by the circumstances, and they're trying to make it work because they recognize that any other scenario will be worse.
Meanwhile, the Jets are 1-2. Fifteen teams are currently 1-2 or worse. While 1-3 seems likely with the Chiefs coming to town, a winnable game at Denver is coming. Then, after probably losing to the Eagles in Week 6, the Jets will be 2-4 entering the bye.
Just like many thought they could be when the schedule came out.
Two weeks ago this morning, we were waking up to the reality that Rodgers is done for 2023. The balloon had been popped. The good news was that the Jets somehow stole an overtime win from the Bills. That hardly meant they would do with Wilson — or anyone not named Aaron Rodgers — what they would have done with Rodgers. But still, many are demanding the same results Rodgers would have generated.
Jets fans nevertheless want someone to pay for the latest example of "shit happens when you play contact sports." Shit has indeed happened to the Jets, and Jets fans (including Namath) seem to think that firing the quarterback (and maybe the coach and G.M.) after only three games will turn it into a big pile of shoe polish.