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Jets’ Zach Wilson to start vs. Jaguars with Mike White still not cleared for contact

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will have a second shot at redemption after being named the starter in Thursday night’s primetime game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Head coach Robert Saleh opened up Tuesday’s press conference with an injury update on White, who, for a second game in a row, has not been medically cleared for contact after suffering a rib injury in the Jets’ Week 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

“Mike will not be cleared for contact, so Zach will again be the starter,” he said.

JETS’ ROBERT SALEH LAMENTS ‘INSTANT-COFFEE WORLD’ AMID ZACH WILSON SCRUTINY’

Saleh said Monday that he was impressed with Wilson’s performance in Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions, praising his seemingly newfound ability not to get derailed when he hits a “speed bump.”

“Thought he had a really nice first half. Came out, we started a little bit slow in the third quarter. Really pumped for him, though, because in the past, when he hits a speed bump in a game, it kind of derails, but I thought he did a really good job of getting back on the rails and swinging back up in the fourth quarter to lead a touchdown drive.”

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Saleh slammed the scrutiny surrounding Wilson this season, characterizing it as the “instant-coffee world.” On Tuesday, he once again preached about patience.

“There’s ebbs and flows all the time. Every quarterback goes through them. It’s very rare that you just have a perfect game all the way through,” Saleh said.

“Like I said, Zach is growing. He’s growing with this team, he’s growing with all of us. And so it’s just a matter of reps, and the more he sees it, the faster he’ll play. The faster he plays, the faster he’ll get the ball out.”

Wilson’s growth comes at a time when the Jets are hoping to break an 11-year playoff drought. New York will likely need to win its next three games to secure a spot, but for Saleh, his approach will be to “win the moment” and not look ahead.

“You’ve got to stay in the moment and stay process-driven. If you start thinking, ‘We’ve got to win this one, this one, this one’ – you got to win the moment.”

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