Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Zach Wilson benched, will be QB3: Jets to start Tim Boyle vs. Dolphins in Week 12 Black Friday game

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Zach Wilson is off to the bench. The New York Jets will start veteran Tim Boyle at quarterback when they host the Miami Dolphins for a “Black Friday” matchup in Week 12, head coach Robert Saleh confirmed on Monday.

Saleh added that Wilson will be the third string QB behind backup Trevor Siemian for their upcoming divisional matchup.

When asked why he is starting Boyle over Wilson, Saleh said, “Just to give him an opportunity, different style of quarterback. So really it’s just to give him an opportunity to see if we can do something with the offense.”

This decision by head coach Robert Saleh, who had previously been steadfast in his support of Wilson as his starter, comes after he pulled Wilson in the closing minutes of the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. New York’s offense has struggled mightily with Wilson under center and Sunday’s loss was no exception. The team managed a lone touchdown drive with Wilson at the helm, which was sparked, in part, because of a fake punt pass. 

Wilson was 7 of 15 for 81 yards and a 57.9 passer rating before being pulled. His completions, attempts, and passing yards were all season lows for the quarterback. In his 23 dropbacks on the night, Wilson was also unable to complete a pass to a wide receiver. The Jets were 0-11 on third down in Week 11, adding to what has already been NFL-worst totals on the critical down. They tied their season-low for points and have been outscored 75-24 over their recent three-game losing skid that now has them two games under .500.

Under Wilson, the Jets ranked 30th in scoring (15 points per game), 29th in yards per play (4.6), 32nd on third down (22.9%), and 32nd in red zone efficiency (26.09%). 

Meanwhile, Boyle finished his night 7 of 14 passing for 33 yards and an interception in just over a quarter of work in New York’s eventual 32-6 loss. Boyle is in his first season with the Jets after signing with the team in April. He had previously spent the 2018 through 2020 seasons with the Green Bay Packers and was coming to New York to reunite with Aaron Rodgers, who suffered an Achilles tear just four offensive plays into the Week 1 opener. That injury thrust Wilson back into the starting role, but his play as of late has now sent him back onto the bench for the foreseeable future. Now, it’ll be Boyle under center up until Rodgers makes his return (if he even does so)

While Boyle represents a change at quarterback, the results could very well stay the same. Since Boyle entered the league in 2019, 91 quarterbacks have thrown at least 100 passes. The veteran ranks 90th among those signal-callers with a 50.9 passer rating (h/t Bill Barnwell). Boyle is 0-3 as a starter in his career and has averaged two interceptions in those starts as well. All of those starts came in 2021 as a member of the Detroit Lions

New York will hope that Boyle can provide some sort of a spark as it looks to keep pace with a Dolphins team on Friday that currently leads the NFL in points per game. 

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