FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Even though all signs point to Joe Flacco as the New York Jets' season-opening quarterback, coach Robert Saleh refused to rule out Zach Wilson, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles.
"I don't know if I have an opinion on that one," Saleh said Thursday, commenting on whether he expects to start Flacco against the Baltimore Ravens in the opener -- his first public remarks since Wilson's procedure. "If Zach is ready to play, he's going to be the Week 1 starter. If he's not, Joe will. That's no secret.
"We're going to take it by how Zach looks, how he feels, how he moves, what the doctors tell us. Whenever that moment is, he'll step on the field."
Wilson flew back from Los Angeles on Wednesday night and was back at the team facility by Thursday morning. He's "already walking" and looking forward to beginning his rehab, according to Saleh.
The calendar is working against Wilson, who tore his meniscus and suffered a bone bruise last Friday night in a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jets open the season in 24 days against the Baltimore Ravens. The initial timetable was two to four weeks, and there was no additional damage discovered in the arthroscopy, sources said.
But the Jets are planning to be cautious with their second-year quarterback, who got three weeks of practice last season before returning to the lineup after spraining his PCL in the same knee -- and that was a non-surgical injury.
"We're going to do right by him in terms of making sure he's 100% healthy," Saleh said.
Even though Wilson avoided a season-ending injury, the time lost will be a setback. He will miss preseason games against the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants, plus joint practices against those teams.
Wilson, 23, the No. 2 overall pick in 2021, is an inexperienced quarterback who needs as many practice reps as possible. He struggled last season, losing 10 of 13 starts and throwing only nine touchdown passes with 11 interceptions.
"If you want to get good at football, you have to play football. You have to practice football," offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said. "That can't happen for him, obviously. So he's going to go and he's going to attack it the best way he knows how. He went through this last year, unfortunately. He knows what to do, what to watch, what to say and what to do in the meetings. He's going to make the most of the situation, just like we all will.
"The show goes on, right?"
In Flacco, 37, the Jets have a 14-year veteran and Super Bowl XLVII MVP for the Ravens. But Flacco has struggled in recent years, having lost 14 of his past 16 starts. Next on the depth chart is Mike White (three career starts).