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Want a clue the remainder of a team’s NFL season is in some peril before Thanksgiving? Watch the head coach to make a quarterback change like was made Monday by the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons.
The Jets are going to start Tim Boyle at quarterback against the Miami Dolphins on Friday, per a source.
In confirming the move, Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters Boyle would start, Trevor Siemian would be the backup and Zach Wilson would be the third quarterback after starting the past nine games.
All that comes after Falcons coach Arthur Smith announced he’s going back to Desmond Ridder as his starter beginning with Sunday’s home game against New Orleans.
Desperation Leads Jets, Falcons To QB Changes
It should also be noted the Cleveland Browns are sticking with rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson as their starter although Joe Flacco was officially signed to the practice squad Monday morning.
The Browns, however, are unlike the other two in that DT-R started Cleveland’s game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team beat the Steelers. And the Browns are actually a solid team sticking with their backup to Deshaun Watson — at least for now.
The Jets and Falcons?
The Jets are starting Boyle for the first time this season after coach Saleh benched Wilson in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Boyle will be the Jets’ 15th starting quarterback in the past 15 years.
Jets Bench Zach Wilson Indefinitely
The Wilson benching is warranted because the Jets offense has been mostly inept with him as the starter. Wilson replaced Aaron Rodgers, who went down the fourth play of the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Wilson, in his third NFL season, has been frustratingly unable to develop to any significant degree. He was benched multiple times last season and finished 2022 with 6 TD passes and 7 interceptions in 10 games.
Wilson has played nine games this season. And he has 6 TD passes and 7 interceptions.
Wilson has never in his three season raised his completion percentage to 60 percent, which is a bare minimum expected of current era NFL quarterbacks.
Wilson’s benching is obviously a search by Saleh to find a spark on offense as his team prepares for a Friday home game against the Dolphins.
And, yes, the Jets need a nuclear blast sized spark.
Jets Turn To Tim Boyle For Needed Spark
Because they have scored only nine offensive touchdowns in 10 games.
They’ve converted a shockingly low 22.9 percent of their third downs. They’re averaging only 15 points per game, which is third-lowest in the NFL. And they’re consistent only in their inconsistency, which is why they average only 270.3 yards per game, also third-lowest in the NFL.
So, yeah, go solve it Tim Boyle.
Boyle, 29, has played in 18 NFL games during his five-year career. But he’s started only three games.
And his quarterback record (if you believe in that statistic) is 0-3.
Saleh will speak to reporters on Monday and perhaps explain if Boyle is the starter unless/until Aaron Rodgers returns or if Wilson has a chance to regain the job if/when Boyle fails. Yes, a lot of contingencies in that last sentence.
The Falcons would have you believe there are no contingencies in their move back to Ridder.
Falcons Sticking With Desmond Ridder
Smith told reporters he decided over the team’s bye week that a move back to Ridder was the way to go for the remainder of the season.
“Absolutely, yes,” Smith said. “We have a lot of confidence in Des moving forward.”
Ridder, 24, lost his starting job to Taylor Heinicke during a 28-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 8. Heinicke took over that game and seemed to provide the much sought after spark all coaches want.
Then Heinicke, not a long term answer if history is an indicator, couldn’t do a whole lot with his opportunity in games against Minnesota and Arizona.
Ridder Could Lead Falcons To Division Lead
The Falcons lost both games. Heinicke completed under 60 percent of his passes and threw 2 TD passes and 1 interception in the games combined.
The Falcons were 4-4 in the games Ridder started. But like the team, Ridder was good-and-bad in his time as the starter, delivering 6 TD passes and 6 interceptions.
Despite all this the Falcons see this move as part of an opportunity to do something important. The club is 4-6 but a win against New Orleans would vault them into a first-place tie in the NFC South.
Doesn’t say a lot about the NFC South. But the door is open for Ridder to solidify himself as a quarterback who can win an important game given the opportunity.
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