NFL: Bears, Jets meet with teams facing quarterback questions
Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus and New York Jets coach Robert Saleh had vastly different reasons for needing more time to decide who will quarterback their teams when they meet on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.
Eberflus will continue to monitor Justin Fields, who separated and partially tore ligaments in his (non-throwing) left shoulder against the Falcons on Sunday, to determine if he can start against the Jets.
Fields was limited in Wednesday’s practice.
“When you’re looking at injury for any player, what are the long-term effects of that and then where is it? Where exactly is it?” Eberflus said. “Is it something that we can play through or is it something that we can have rest? With any player, we take into the equation those two things.”
Saleh, however, made his decision on Wednesday. He told his players that Mike White will start over Zach Wilson after Wilson’s abysmal performance in a 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
“Zach’s career here is not over,” Saleh said, adding Wilson will be inactive against the Bears. “I know that’s going to be the narrative and I know that’s what everybody wants to shout out, but that’s not even close to the case. The full intent is to make sure Zach gets back on the football field this season. When that is, I’ll make that decision. I’ll take it day-to-day.”
Wilson went 9-for-22 passing for a career-low 77 yards, in addition to running for 26 yards on three carries, against New England.
The Jets (6-4) mustered two yards of offense in the second half against the Patriots and 103 for the game.
White, who hasn’t thrown a pass all season, completed 66.7 percent of his attempts for 953 yards with five touchdowns and eight interceptions in four games in 2021 while Wilson was out with a knee injury.
Joe Flacco, who started the first three games while Wilson recovered from a preseason knee injury, will be White’s back up.
Wilson went 5-2 as a starter, but he’s thrown just four touchdown passes, one fewer than Flacco, who has thrown for 901 yards and three interceptions.
Meanwhile, Fields, who like Wilson is in his second year, is playing very well for the Bears (3-8), who have dropped four straight games and seven of their past eight.
Fields went 14-for-21 passing for 153 yards with a touchdown and an interception against Atlanta, and rushed for 85 yards and a score on 18 carries.
Fields has completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 1,642 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. But he’s rushed for 834 yards and seven touchdowns on 122 carries, powering the league’s top rushing attack that averages 197.9 yards per game.
“I just feel like if I can play and that I’m not furthering the risk of injury and I can do what I need to do to be able to protect myself, I think that’ll be good enough for me to play,” Fields said.
If Fields can’t go, he’ll likely be replaced by Trevor Siemian, who has thrown one pass all season, a five-yard completion in Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Defensive backs Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon, as well as linebacker Sterling Weatherford, are in concussion protocol and didn’t practice on Wednesday.
For the Jets, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (elbow) and tight end Kenny Yeboah (calf) did not participate in practice on Wednesday and their status will be determined closer to game time.
Offensive tackle Duane Brown (shoulder), cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (calf), guard Nate Herbig (shin) and linebacker Quincy Williams (ankle) were limited at practice and their availability for Sunday is uncertain.
–Field Level Media