Head coach Robert Saleh reported that the unresolved situation at the offensive tackle position did not cause any doubts regarding the quarterback’s return. FLORHAM PARK — After sitting out the first three games with a knee injury sustained in the preseason, quarterback Zach Wilson has been cleared and will start for the New York Jets on Sunday, head coach Robert Saleh this Wednesday.
Wilson , who has practiced on a limited basis the past two weeks, is expected to get a full rep load as he prepares to return in a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Saleh was optimistic that would be the outcome, pending confirmation from Wilson ‘s Los Angeles-based personal physician.
Saleh said that Wilson will “absolutely” start, assuming he gets through the full week of training.
“He’s very, very comfortable,” Saleh revealed . “He’s in a great mental state. Everyone is very comfortable with where he is, physically.”
The former BYU star , drafted second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft , tore his meniscus and suffered a bone contusion on a no-contact play in the preseason opener. On August 16, he underwent arthroscopy on his right knee in Los Angeles, performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache .
The Jets expect Zach Wilson to make his season debut against the Steelers in Week 4. Getty Images
Initially, a two- to four-week recovery was expected, but the Jets announced on Sept. 7 — four days before the season opener — that Wilson would be back for Week 4, albeit quickly.
The Jets went 1-2 in Wilson ‘s absence , with Joe Flacco leading them to an upset victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. Flacco is fifth in passing yards (901), but has led the offense to just five touchdowns in three games, including two in the final 1:22 of the comeback at Cleveland .
“It’s exciting to have him out there again,” admitted Saleh . “But at the same time, it’s not all about Zach . It’s about making sure we’re running on all cylinders.”
Wilson returns to a unit that has struggled to protect the passer, allowing nine sacks. Left tackle George Fant (knee) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, meaning backup Conor McDermott could start in his place. McDermott , re-signed after being released at the end of the preseason, struggled notoriously during last week’s 27-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals .
Saleh said the unresolved situation at tackle did not cause any doubts about Wilson ‘s return .
“His knee is 100 percent,” Saleh said . “As far as tackle goes, we have all the faith in the world in the guys that we have. Max [ Mitchell ] is playing really well, and McDermott has played a lot of good football.”
The Jets face a Pittsburgh defense known for its exotic pressure packages, but it hasn’t been the same without elite outside linebacker TJ Watt (torn chest), who was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 15. . The Steelers are 0-6 without Watt , going all the way back to his rookie campaign in 2017.