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Jets’ overreliance on Zack Wilson, Dalvin Cook, Duane Brown doomed season

Hindsight isn't always 20/20.

The Jets have 6 wins and 10 losses.

Wednesday was a day of reckoning for head coach Robert Saleh. Saleh responded that he had as much confidence in the three players who are unlikely to play for the Jets again as he expected before the season.

The decision to replace Zach Wilson at quarterback, sign free agent running back Dalvin Cook, and stick with injury-plagued left tackle Duane Brown will all help the Patriots on Sunday. They ultimately collapsed to varying degrees during a lost season that ended in war.

The Jets (6-10) will start quarterback Trevor Siemian for the third straight game because Wilson is unlikely to clear the NFL's concussion protocol.

Wilson's third consecutive disappointing season is over.

“I thought he had great OTAs, great training camp,” Saleh said. “I thought he fought. He's a fighter, he really is. I know there are things he wishes he could get back. I know there's a lot of things he's improved on. Some. That was out of his control, but…I think he's going to have a long career in this league.”

The Jets' decision to make Zach Wilson the team's backup quarterback backfired. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

But with Aaron Rodgers set to return from a torn Achilles tendon next season, does Wilson have any aspirations for the Jets?

He is paid $5.45 million in guaranteed salary and will cost the Jets an $11.18 million salary cap charge in 2024, when they need an upgrade to follow Rodgers, according to overthecap.com. .

“Let's see,” Saleh said. “That's all something we'll have to talk about after the season is over.”

The first offensive snap against the Patriots was the Jets' 1,037th of the season.

Rodgers was injured on snap number four when the teams linked up. Brown missed the cut block…Wilson was forced into the lineup and continued to start 11 games despite showing little improvement as there was no viable replacement…Running Cook, as he was then, sat on the bench and collected $6.59 million that could have been better spent on a backup quarterback, offensive lineman, or even receivers.

Brown was placed on injured reserve last week, and Cook was placed on waivers Wednesday after reaching an agreement with the team in hopes of bonding with a Super Bowl contender.

The Jets placed Dalvin Cook on waivers on Wednesday. Corey Shipkin of the New York Post

“We did what we thought was best for the team at the time and unfortunately it didn't work out,” Saleh said of spending money on Cook in August.

General manager Joe Douglas, who faces similar questions regarding resource allocation next week, is primarily responsible for roster construction, but these decisions are not made alone.

Perhaps the biggest bet in Douglas vs. Saleh is that Brown, a 38-year-old five-time Pro Bowler, will start despite not practicing for the first time until Aug. 23 due to offseason shoulder surgery. He would have named it as.

Trust in Brown was so high that Mekhi Becton, who started 15 games at left tackle, practiced primarily at right tackle during training camp. The payout effectively covered Brown for two full games before hip and shoulder injuries derailed his season, but Saleh opposed the plan as a miscalculation.

“When he came back, we noticed a few things regarding his rehabilitation and tried to get him back as best as we could,” Saleh said. “But I give him credit. He fought so hard just to give us something. Unfortunately, we couldn't get him healthy enough to finish the season. I could not do it.”

Health wasn't a big issue for Cook, who also just returned from offseason shoulder surgery.

Duane Brown was placed on injured reserve last week. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

When starter Breece Hall hit a slump in his first season after tearing his ACL, he had only 67 carries despite showing fresh legs at times.

“As I've said from the beginning, as long as Brees is healthy, Brees is going to have a bigger workload,” Saleh said. “Obviously, we had a pretty slow period in the middle of the year, but Brees is getting healthier and healthier, and he’s our bell cow.”

The Jets optimistically liked the idea of ​​having too many mouths to feed. Instead, the 29th-ranked scoring offense sputtered, and the logjam created at running back predictably cut Michael Carter (now with the Cardinals), de-emphasized it, then cut Cook and replaced the rookie five. The solution was to free up space for first-round pick Israel. Avanikanda at the back of the hall.

“I think it's good business for everyone,” Saleh said of Cook's firing. “Obviously, it didn't go the way any of us hoped. He's an unbelievably great teammate and I'm confident he'll be a great player whatever chance he gets. ing.”

Of course, the Jets were confident that Wilson, Cook, and Brown would make it once before, but it didn't turn out that well.

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