Despite “MNF” Debacle, Zach Wilson Isn’t Graded as NFL’s Worst QB

ESPN's Total Quarterback Rating has one player ranked below Wilson

November 7, 2023 12:03 pm
Zach Wilson of the Jets reacts after a loss.
Zach Wilson hasn't taken off for the Jets this season.

New York’s 27-6 home loss to the Chargers on Monday Night Football dropped the Jets to 4-4 on the season, in a game that saw an underachieving Los Angeles defense collect eight sacks and two fumbles from quarterback Zach Wilson. Troy Aikman roasted Gang Green’s entire offense for their ineptitude on ESPN after the defeat.

“If you can’t even get lined up without getting a penalty, then you’ve got no chance. You’ll never have a chance,” Akiman said. “The focus is always Zach Wilson, the offensive line, yes, because of the injuries, but anyone who has anything to do with this offense, coaches included, they have to look at themselves in the mirror because everyone has to be better than what we’ve watched tonight…No. I think they’re a bad team with a great defense is what I think they are. I don’t know if they were a playoff team coming in. I didn’t see anything tonight that suggests they’re a playoff team.”

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Wilson, who threw for 263 yards against the Chargers but was held without a touchdown for the fourth time in eight games, is considered by many to be the NFL’s worst QB. But ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) actually has one QB ranked below the third-year player. Per ESPN’s QBR, Bryce Young grades out as the worst QB in the NFL.

Drafted No. 1 overall in April by the Carolina Panthers, Young had his worst game of the season in Week 9 in a 27-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Held below 200 yards on 24-for-39 passing, Young threw a three-pack of interceptions, two of which were returned for scores, and just one touchdown. The Panthers have no choice but to ride things out with Young and should certainly expect more growing pains along the way, but the early returns from the No. 1 pick have not been encouraging — especially when compared to the success of other members of his rookie class, including C.J. Stroud (Houston Texans) and Will Levis (Tennessee Titans).

Given how much draft capital the Panthers invested in him, Young is going to get the chance to ride it out for the rest of this season and likely at least two more. The same cannot be said for Wilson, as Aaron Rodgers, claims he’s nearing a return from the torn Achilles he suffered minutes into New York’s season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Seen throwing a football and moving fairly comfortably on the field during pregame warmups, the four-time league MVP hinted he could be coming back to take his job in weeks, not months. Hugging it out with Los Angeles safety Derwin James after Monday night’s game at MetLife Stadium, Rodgers told the All-Pro defender to give him “a few weeks” to get back on the field.

New York’s defense, which held Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert to a career-low 136 passing yards on Monday, is doing enough to keep the Jets in the playoff hunt. But the team will need to win some games moving forward to make it worth Rodgers’s while to return early from an injury that would end the season for most players. At 4-4, a full-on collapse or a late-season run to the postseason are both on the table for New York.

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