Joe Namath, the iconic figure in New York Jets history, voiced his dissent over the team’s decision to persist with Zach Wilson as their starting quarterback.
Namath, a Hall of Fame quarterback who guided the Jets to a Super Bowl triumph in 1969, expressed sharp criticism of Wilson following New York’s 15-10 home defeat against the New England Patriots on Monday.
“I didn’t take anything positive out of it. It was awful,” Namath said about Wilson’s performance, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
He added: “I wouldn’t keep him. I’ve seen enough of Zach Wilson.”
Wilson assumed the Jets’ starting role this season after Aaron Rodgers suffered an Achilles injury in Week 1. Against New England, he completed just 18 of 36 pass attempts for 157 yards and was sacked three times, including one instance where he appeared to go down without contact.
“You sit down on a play? You go right down? What happened?” Namath said. “I thought you’re trying to win and make plays. You quit on a play? What is going on? It’s disgusting.”
Through three appearances this season, Wilson has completed 52.4% of his passes for 467 yards and two touchdowns but has also thrown four interceptions, resulting in a meager 57.0 passer rating that ranks 34th in the NFL.
As the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, Wilson has struggled to meet lofty expectations. Under his leadership, the Jets, who had grand aspirations after acquiring Rodgers in the offseason, have achieved a record of 8-16.
Despite the mounting criticism, Jets head coach Robert Saleh remains supportive of Wilson, stating, “He’s not the reason why we lost (Sunday).”
Namath, however, expressed dissatisfaction with both the Jets’ front office and coaching staff.
“These guys aren’t picking the right players,” the 80-year-old said. “They aren’t doing a good job of coaching. It’s evident. … 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.”
Reports have surfaced that free-agent quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz have reached out to the Jets with potential interest in joining the team. Ryan, while not denying these reports, mentioned on Monday that he currently has “no interest” in leaving CBS Sports to become the Jets’ quarterback.