Jets not yet set on who'll start at quarterback Sunday against the Texans

This is where the New York Jets are at right now: Someone will start at quarterback Sunday against the Houston Texans.

Well, unless they run the wildcat all game.

You never know in what has become a brutally bad year on offense for the Jets (4-8), who have lost five in a row and appear headed to a 13th straight season without a playoff appearance.

Trevor Siemian could get the nod Sunday with a full week working with the starters. Or maybe Zach Wilson will be back from the bench. Probably not Tim Boyle, who struggled in his two starts.

“I’m still not there yet,” coach Robert Saleh said Monday when asked if he had decided on a starter.

And then there's Aaron Rodgers, who said last week “anything is possible” when asked if he could potentially return from a torn Achilles tendon this week or next.

“Well, I’m going to piggyback on what he told you guys and that anything’s possible,” Saleh said before chuckling. “But don’t hold your breath. How about that?”

In other words, no unprecedented quick return this week.

Wilson, who started nine games after Rodgers was hurt in the opener, is a possibility, especially given the struggles of Boyle and Siemian in New York's 13-8 loss to Atlanta on Sunday.

The Athletic reported Wilson expressed reluctance about starting again this season, something Saleh wholeheartedly dismissed.

“Well, let’s be clear: If he was reluctant to play, guys, he wouldn’t be here,” the coach said. "I actually coincidentally just got done speaking with him. He came in about a half-hour ago and we had a really good conversation.

“The young man wants the ball. He wants to start. He believes he’s the best quarterback in the room and best quarterback for this team and the guy who gives us the best chance to win and I’ll tell you guys the same thing I told him: I appreciate it. I appreciate the fact that he wants to play. I’m just not there yet.”

Saleh said the decision on who'll start this week will include input from “everybody” — presumably meaning general manager Joe Douglas, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and passing game coordinator Todd Downing, among others.

“I want to make sure nobody is acting emotionally,” Saleh said. "I want to make sure we’re making the right decision for this organization and team moving forward and making sure that the guy who's best ready to play is on the football field.

“We’re just trying to find a way to win a football game and whoever does that, I just want to make sure we cross our T’s, dot our I's and make the best decision possible.”

But the question at this point for the Jets is will anyone on the current active roster make a difference?

The Jets have scored fewer than two touchdowns on offense in eight straight games. They also have just two touchdowns total on offense in their past five games.

Their third down conversion efficiency (23.1%) and red zone conversion rate (27%) are still on track to be among the worst in recent NFL history.

Some of the blame rests on Hackett's shoulders, but a lot also can be attributed to the quarterbacks — whomever it is under center — missed assignments, an ever-changing offensive line and too many penalties.

“We just have to find our rhythm,” running back Dalvin Cook said. “We just have to find ourselves.”


The defense. Jeff Ulbrich's unit put together another solid effort against the Falcons, who were held to just 194 total yards. Even Atlanta's run game, which came in off a season-high 228 yards rushing against New Orleans, was mostly held in check while gaining just 90 yards.


Pretty much everything on offense. The offensive line could especially use some consistency, though. Because of a rash of injuries, the Jets have used nine starting combinations up front in 12 games — including each of the past eight.


DL Quinton Jefferson. In his first season with the Jets, the 30-year-old Jefferson has a career-high six sacks after getting 1 1/2 against Atlanta along with three quarterback hits. Jefferson has been one of Douglas' better free agent signings after adding him in April on a one-year deal worth $3.6 million.


RB Breece Hall. The second-year running back has slumped badly, running for just 72 yards on 43 carries in his past four games — an average of just 1.7 yards per attempt. Hall ran 13 times for 16 yards against Atlanta and could cede some carries to Cook moving forward.


Saleh said TE C.J. Uzomah (MCL in right knee) and DL Perrion Winfrey (right foot) will be placed on injured reserve with what appear to be season-ending injuries. ... WR Jason Brownlee (left ankle) will be evaluated during the week.


1989 — That's the last — and only — time the Jets started four quarterbacks in a season, when Ken O'Brien (12), Tony Eason (two), Pat Ryan (one) and Kyle Mackey (one) each took turns under center. If Siemian gets the nod Sunday, this year's QB carousel will join that one.


Once Saleh and the Jets decide on a starting quarterback, the focus will be on trying to beat the Texans to keep their minuscule playoff hopes alive — along with the dwindling hopes Rodgers will come back to lead the postseason charge.



Dennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press