While the Jets currently stand at 1-1, a large segment of the media has already written off Zach Wilson.
In terms of media critiques, rock bottom for the beleaguered quarterback came recently when Shannon Sharpe went on national television (ESPN’s “First Take”) and told the unwashed masses Wilson “couldn’t play dead in a horror movie.”
No one flagged Sharpe for “roughing the passer.” Even on the field that’s a call the Jets never get. Sharpe received a standing ovation in the Valley of the Stupid. Yet it’s not a reach to suggest that Wilson did not feel Sharpe’s stinging rebuke.
Wilson has played the role of human pin cushion for two seasons. It can reach a point where a stumbling quarterback becomes immune to the criticism. As soon as Aaron Rodgers went down, Wilson resumed his regular role as the guy with the “Please Kick Me” sign taped to his back.
Or as veteran local voice Russ Salzberg said on his recent YES podcast: “Zach Wilson is the reason for world hunger. He is the reason for inflation, the reason for everything that goes wrong.”
The blame, and the rest of the verbal head-hunting, will go away Sunday, win or lose, against Bill Belichick’s 0-2 Patriots. The signs are already there. Now, it’s the coach, Robert Saleh, who gets thrown into the deep end in preparation for being run out of town. The signs are there.
Like Gasbags shining a spotlight on their definition of the off-field “issues” Saleh is having with his Jets. That’s what WFAN’s morning show, featuring Norman Julius Esiason (the man who invented football) and his sidekick Gregg Giannotti did. They charged Saleh with a high crime for twiddling his thumbs while Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner and Breece Hall took their frustrations to X/Twitter after the 30-10 loss to Dallas last Sunday.
“When you think about the social media aspect of the Jets, and how they are so active after games, this is on the coach,” NJE said on the air, adding that Belichick (in his 24th season as Pats coach and 29th as an NFL head coach) would never allow this.
Giannotti contended the problem goes back to the 2022 season. “Either he [Saleh] hasn’t addressed it or the team doesn’t respect him enough to listen to what he’s saying about it,” Giannotti said.
Nowhere to be found in their brilliant critiques, was any mention of Saleh electing to treat his players like men, not children. Is it too hard comprehending that all organizations are not structured like Belichick’s Gulag?
The critiques of Jets players use of social media are petty. Especially when it comes from a variety of Gasbags who have already embarrassed themselves on X/Twitter. If the Jets lose on Sunday, it will have nothing to do with Twitter. Still, the media will be waiting for the coach. The heat on Saleh will be turned up to another level.
And the blame for everything — even inflation — will land on him.
Jets QB Zach Wilson hopes previous experiences vs. Patriots will help him in 5th career meeting
NO REPLAY NEEDED
Bottom line: If you are a member of Nick Chubb’s immediate family, or just a friend, would you have wanted to see a replay of the horrendous knee injury he suffered against Pittsburgh on ABC’s “Monday Night Football?”
Probably not. That could have been one of the reasons why the on-site production team made the right decision to withhold the replay. Why subject family members, and the rest of us, to a cringe-inducing moment.
There are some commentators who disagree, like Dan Patrick. They say the replay was needed, journalistically, to bring context to the moment. Yet sometimes, even in the serious world of “journalism,” one size doesn’t fit all.
EVAN GOES OVER THE TOP
Maybe he thought he was providing material for a movie.
That could be one explanation why FAN’s Evan Roberts, on Monday, said (in dramatic tones): “The Giants stared down death Sunday [in Arizona].”
The line devalues what “staring down death” really means. On a football field it rarely happens. And while we can’t provide direct evidence, anyone who has actually stared down death likely found it more frightening than having to score a fourth quarter touchdown.
From his perch in the radio booth, Carl Banks analysis of the Giants defense is sugar free.
His level of disgust was jacked up when the unit wasn’t executing the basics Thursday night, playing matador defense allowing San Francisco to convert nine of 18 third downs and holding a 78-46 advantage in offensive plays run.
“The Giants tackling is embarrassing. They are embarrassing themselves,” Banks said multiple times.
Banks got specific, naming names.
“[Linebacker] Micah McFadden could be a tackling machine — if he knew how to tackle,” Banks said. Ouch!
Bob Papa, Banks’ play-by-play partner, had some pointed observations too. Like where was the Giants’ effort? He also wondered why the Giants didn’t start “yapping” and showing some emotion until the game was out of reach?
AROUND THE DIAL
Christopher ‘Mad Dog’ Russo went on ESPN’s “First Take” Wednesday and said he plans on spending his Saturday afternoon getting loaded (via the booze/Gummy combo) and betting $10,000 on Colorado to beat Oregon. Yet the day before, he appeared on his SiriusXM radio show and said Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel “is a little strange.” Pot, say hello to kettle. … Unlike most of his fellow sports talk mouths, Tiki Barber doesn’t traffic in rants, contrived or otherwise. His game is more subtle, yet often eyebrow raising. Like Monday, when Barber was discussing Saquon Barkley’s sprained ankle. “When I played, you had to play with a sprained ankle,” Barber said. Is this about changing times? Or was Barber insinuating today’s players, including Barkley, are soft? … Jim Lampley, the distinguished blow-by-blow voice, has not been on the boxing scene since HBO bailed on the Sweet Science almost five years ago. Lampley returns to the microphone joining PPV.com to co-host the service’s Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo viewer chat Saturday, Sept. 30 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Lampley will also offer up on-site chatter the week leading up to the rumble. … Just wondering if Terrell Owens will be providing any analysis of the bouncing first pitch Stephen A. Smith threw Thursday night at the Stadium? Perhaps Max Kellerman will surface to provide some insight on Mr. Smith’s pitching form. … Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will be in the Meadowlands Sunday working Pats-Jets on CBS. They must be thrilled about working their second consecutive Gang Green tilt.
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DUDE OF THE WEEK: LEE CORSO
For persevering. The heart and soul of ESPN’s “College GameDay,” Corso, 88, made his 400th headgear pick last Saturday. He was eloquent when the network celebrated the landmark moment. After wiping away a tear he thanked his colleagues “for putting up with my shtick.” Vintage Corso.
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: SEAN McVAY
Ordering your field goal unit to kick with four seconds left in the game and down by 10 points is indefensible. That didn’t stop McVay from trying. His rambling explanation was hard to decipher. Nonetheless, it seems like the Rams coach was not concerned about his players getting hurt during the FG attempt.
What Brian Daboll said: “That’s a heck of a [49ers] football team there.”
What Brian Daboll meant to say: “From start to finish they kicked our butt.”
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