A future Hall of Famer tried to quarterback the New York Jets this season but was injured after four snaps.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft tried to quarterback the New York Jets this season but has been benched with seven games still to play.
The swings and misses by Aaron Rodgers and Zach Wilson, amid a 4-6 start for the New York Jets, have led to this: A former Eastern Kentucky University signal caller will take over a position the Jets have rarely gotten right since Joe Namath led them to a Super Bowl after the 1968 season.
That quarterback, Tim Boyle, replaced Zach Wilson during the third quarter of the Buffalo Bills’ 32-6 drubbing of the Jets on Sunday.
Now, Boyle, who led Eastern Kentucky in 2017, will get his first start of the season on a short week.
Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday that Boyle will start Friday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. Trevor Siemian will be the primary backup to Boyle on Friday, Saleh said, and Wilson will be the team’s No. 3 quarterback. The game is the NFL’s first ever on “Black Friday” — the day after Thanksgiving — and will be televised nationally by Amazon Prime.
“Different style of quarterback,” Saleh said. “So really it’s just to give him an opportunity to see if we can do something with the offense.”
Saleh replaced Wilson with 2:17 left in the third quarter against the Bills after he completed 7 of 15 passes for 81 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Boyle didn’t perform any better after replacing Wilson. He finished 7 of 14 for 33 yards and an interception.
“I thought Tim came in, he was decisive and got rid of the ball. He did a good job,” Saleh said after Sunday’s game. “The fourth down throws at the end of the game was a bit of a force, just trying to get the ball out of his hands to give someone a chance being fourth down. He did some good things.
Throughout the ups and downs of the 2023 season, Saleh has been committed to Wilson after Rodgers’ Achilles tear in Week 1 against Buffalo. However, Sunday finally was the breaking point for him and the Jets.
Since replacing Rodgers, Wilson has thrown for 1,944 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He is tied for 32nd in the NFL in completion percentage (59.2%) and ranks 30th in Total Quarterback Rating (30.8).
The Jets offense ranks 30th in yards per game (170.5) and points per game (15). They’re also on a pace to have the lowest third-down conversion rate in NFL history (22.9%).
New York has just nine touchdowns in 10 games, which is the worst in the league. To put that in perspective, the Dolphins scored 10 touchdowns in their 70-20 Week 3 route of the Broncos.
Boyle signed with the Jets in April and was supposed to be their third-string quarterback. But he was moved to backup when Rodgers tore his Achilles four plays into the season.
Rodgers underwent surgery with a technique designed to speed his recovery and has taken an aggressive approach to his rehabilitation process. He has left open the possibility of playing again this season, perhaps as soon as the middle of next month. Whether or not such a target is realistic, a prospective return by Rodgers would be contingent upon the Jets remaining in the playoff race. They are teetering on the edge of that.
Friday will mark the fourth career start for Boyle. In 2021, he started three games for the Detroit Lions in place of an injured Jared Goff. That season, Boyle finished with 526 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions. In five NFL seasons, Boyle has thrown for 607 yards, three touchdowns and nine interceptions for the Green Bay Packers, Lions, Chicago Bears, and Jets.
Boyle played one season at EKU after transferring from the University of Connecticut. He started all 11 games in 2017, leading the Colonels to a 4-7 record. He completed 201 passes in 327 attempts for 2,134 yards and 11 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
It remains to be seen whether Boyle can perform better than Wilson. However, at 4-6 and 14th in the AFC standings, the Jets’ season is on the line in a critical matchup against a 7-3 Dolphins team leading the AFC East.
“We got to get going on offense,” Boyle said Sunday. “Our defense is playing absolutely incredible. Special teams, it’s awesome. They got that conversion for us on fourth down with the fake punt.
“We just got to hold up our end of the bargain. There’s no magic pill. We just got to go out there and execute and communicate.”