Lifelong Jets Pundit Makes Wild Declaration on Zach Wilson QB Controversy

Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson gets some rehab work in before Week 2.

Don’t you just love the NYC media? There are rarely ever conservative sports takes in New York Jets land — it’s always one extreme or the other and that goes double for the quarterback position.

The Jets have not had a true franchise QB since Chad Pennington, or maybe even Ken O’Brien depending on how you define the term. 2021 No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson could buck that trend. He could also become the next failed signal-caller in a long line of busts.

That uncertainty tends to drive Jet fans to say and do crazy things — like back the same 37-year-old gunslinger that they wanted to bench the week before. And that’s exactly the type of chatter that we’ve heard from certain NYJ diehards as we head into Week 3.

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Different Jets pundits have praised Joe Flacco for his Week 2 performance but a couple have gone a little overboard with their opinions. Chief among that group is former WFAN radio host and lifelong Gang Green supporter Joe Benigno, who sounded off on the discussion during a guest spot with WFAN’s “Tiki & Tierney.”

“This is the kind of game that maybe — and I’m not saying it’s going to be — but maybe, you look at and say boy, maybe this changes the karma of the franchise,” Benigno began. “You never know.”

That’s when the legendary “Joe B” got a little bold with his words.

“Let me start with this — and I’m going to blow your mind with this comment,” Benigno continued to Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney, “Joe Flacco’s the quarterback until further notice. That’s it. Until I see Joe Flacco [lose] — no, wait a minute — he’s gotta play against the [Cincinnati] Bengals, I don’t care if Wilson’s healthy or not, Joe Flacco has earned the start next week against Cincinnati because let me say this Tiki and [Tierney]. I could care less who my quarterback is, I want to win. If you tell me that I’m getting 10 or 11 wins — nine wins from Joe Flacco — then he’s the quarterback all year.”

Barber and Tierney both countered Benigno on that. The former New York Giants star running back started with a smile: “But don’t you need an answer on Zach Wilson?”

Benigno wasted no time responding in his famously brash style. “I don’t care. I don’t care. I want to win football games,” he voiced. “I don’t give a you-know-what about who my quarterback is, I really don’t — and I don’t know if Wilson’s any good… Wilson does not win this game yesterday.”

Tierney, a Jets fan, agreed with his co-host and attempted to bridge the gap between the two. “Here’s where I do really disagree,” he chimed in. “Nine or 10 wins, I know it’s all la-la land, it’s a pipe dream in all probability but I get it, wins are mesmerizing. I get that but when you’re talking about a quarterback that was taken number two and let’s just say he didn’t play much this year and Flacco rolled them to some unexpected wins, you’re going into year three with a big contract looming and you don’t know a damn thing about Wilson. You can’t have that Joe.”

Zach Wilson Must Play Once Healthy

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Fans may be seeing through green-tinted glasses after a miraculous victory but even talking about starting Flacco over Wilson highlights the short-sighted nature of this franchise over the past two decades.

At times, coaches and general managers have been fired too quickly. Prospects have not been developed. Quarterbacks have been drafted and discarded like lotto tickets.

In the end, it has amounted to zero sustainability. Fans like Benigno may be frustrated and rightfully so, but Flacco is no more of the future than Mike White was last season. It’s possible Wilson isn’t the future either, but you need to use the 2022 campaign to figure that out. That’s why you brought in all the offensive weapons and safety nets this spring.

Another media talk show host and Jets fan, Rich Eisen, echoed that sentiment this week during his nationally syndicated show after a co-host suggested Flacco should start all 17 games.

“No, no, no, because you can see that with some of the roll-outs and [mobile] stuff, Joe’s not escaping anybody and he’s not making plays with his legs,” Eisen responded before adding: “Jets need Zach Wilson [but] take note, watch Joe Flacco and what he did.”

Another NYJ supporter in the media realm, Mike Greenberg, had a similar opinion on the matter during “Greeny” on ESPN. After listening to an ESPN radio quote from former NHL goaltender turned sports analyst Rick DiPietro, Greenberg said this:

“I completely agree [with DiPietro that Wilson must start in Week 4]. Here’s the only caveat to it… If Flacco plays out of his mind — the Jets won last week because a bunch of miracles fell into place. Flacco played a good game, he didn’t play a great game until the very end… Prior to that, the Jets had scored 14 points. So if Flacco plays an unbelievably good game then maybe you give it some thought — the [Pittsburgh] Steelers are a very good defense, on the road against them is a tough place — giving [Wilson] a week. The danger of that is, now you start kicking a can down the road — but what if Flacco plays really well there, but what if Flacco plays really well there? The future of the Jets is Zach Wilson [and] they have to find out one way or the other whether he is the goods.”

Where do you land on the latest “quarterback controversy” in New York?

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