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Jets eagerly awaiting clearance for Zach Wilson’s return


Will Zach be back?

The Jets expect to have starting quarterback Zach Wilson back within the lineup this week to face the Steelers, but as of Monday afternoon, coach Robert Saleh was still waiting to listen to that Wilson had been fully cleared to return from his Aug. 16 knee surgery.

“We’re on the lookout for confirmation,” Saleh said. “Once Zach’s doctors clear him, like we talked about, he’ll be able to roll. But I can’t really define that until we get clearance from them.”

Saleh said he expects to listen to something by the top of Tuesday about whether Wilson can return. It could be a surprise if he is just not cleared. The Jets have been pointing to this matchup against the Steelers as once they expected to have Wilson back for weeks, and so they fully expect him to be their quarterback Sunday.

The Jets need him, however the query is how much he can fix what ails the team.

The offense was brutal within the 27-12 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, failing to attain a touchdown and turning the ball over 4 times. It was backup quarterback Joe Flacco specifically who turned it over 4 times with two interceptions and two fumbles. Flacco didn’t play well, but you could possibly not pin all of the offensive struggles on him. He didn’t have much time to operate, getting sacked 4 times and hit nine times. There have been more drops and receivers failing to get open.

The Jets are waiting for official word that Zach Wilson is cleared to return.Bill Kostroun

Linebacker C.J. Mosley said Wilson’s return could provide a spark for the Jets, but it surely won’t matter in the event that they don’t play higher throughout.

“I feel it could bring some motivation,” Mosley said. “We all know Zach’s able to get on the market. He’s been ready this whole offseason. It was unlucky with the injury and all. It doesn’t really matter who’s at that spot. We’ve to execute regardless. We could have the very best quarterback on the earth, the worst quarterback on the earth, anywhere in between, if we’re not executing as a team, it won’t matter.”

Wilson injured his knee on the second series of the primary preseason game in Philadelphia on Aug. 12 when he scrambled and his knee buckled as he made a cut inside. He tore his meniscus and suffered a bone bruise in his right knee. He had surgery to repair the meniscus, and only rest can heal the bone bruise. Wilson missed the remaining of coaching camp and the preseason games.

Wilson returned to practice two weeks ago on a limited basis. He has been doing positional drills and a few 7-on-7 drills. The Jets do something called “Flight School” at the top of practice for players on the practice squad or the third team, who don’t get many reps in practice. Wilson has been participating in that.

“He’s been doing those 7-on-7 periods with all those guys and still getting the reps and dealing through dropbacks and all of the progressions and all the various things that we ask him to do,” Saleh said.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. ElAttrache is the one who now has to clear Wilson, but Wilson doesn’t have to return to Los Angeles to see him again.

“They’ve been keeping tabs close to his progress and his day-to-day activity,” Saleh said. “There’s been lots of detail on his day-to-day activity. It’s just more communication than anything, I feel.”

The offense doesn’t change completely going from Flacco to Wilson, but there are obviously things Wilson can try this Flacco can’t together with his mobility. You wonder, though, if the Jets will probably be cautious at first to see how Wilson’s knee responds before having him run an excessive amount of. Saleh said they’ll start game-planning for the Steelers before knowing Wilson’s status with any certainty.

“You’ve got your base game plan and the way you do things,” Saleh said. “Then, you make start adding based on players and all that stuff. There’s loads of time from a game-planning standpoint to do what we’d like to do to prepare for Pittsburgh.”

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