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Raiders to host Jets team that’s lifeless without Aaron Rodgers

The New York Jets were supposed to be quarterbacked this season by perennial All-Pro Aaron Rodgers, meaning they weren’t supposed to have the NFL’s 30th-ranked scoring offense or 31st-ranked total offense.

“Obviously, it’s not the Greatest Show on Turf,” said Jets coach Robert Saleh, whose 4-4 team visits Allegiant Stadium for a “Sunday Night Football” matchup against the Raiders. “There’s a lot of things we can all do better.”

Stuck with third-year quarterback Zach Wilson behind center, the Jets lack the firepower to buoy what has been a bona fide defense. They rank ninth in total defense (312 yards allowed per game) and eighth in scoring defense (19.5).

No matter when they’re totaling 272.9 yards and 16.5 points per game.

“Very optimistic, I am, about what we have as an offense,” Wilson said. “Every week, we’re right there. We’re close. Eventually we’ve got to turn the page. But I still feel that way, and I’m excited for this next week, this next challenge.”

Benched last season amid a lack of improvement, Wilson was summoned as the starter again this season after Rodgers tore his Achilles on the first drive of a Week 1 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

But he isn’t improving this season, either, and Jets haven’t added a viable replacement.

Prone to panic while pressured in the pocket, Wilson ranks 31st in completion percentage (59.9) and touchdown percentage (1.9), and 30th in quarterback rating (75.4) among qualified passers.

Only Sam Howell of the Washington Commanders has been sacked more often than Wilson (31), who has five touchdown passes against five interceptions — and one game with multiple scoring passes.

“(Our defense) is obviously playing lights out, and we need to be better for them,” Wilson said. “We need to do something. We need to score points. It’s not good enough, and we understand that.”

For better or worse, Saleh is steadfast in his commitment to Wilson as his starting quarterback, saying he’s on the “same page” with the franchise’s brass about playing the former Brigham Young star. Veteran Trevor Siemian operates as the backup, but Saleh maintained Wilson will continue to handle every repetition with New York’s first offensive grouping at practice.

“My job as a quarterback is to 100 percent focus on how can I put this team in the best position possible?” Wilson said. “I want the Jets fans to hang in with us and believe in us, and I hope they know as frustrated as they are, we’re even more frustrated. We’re the guys out there where every week, it’s felt like that. It needs to be better.”

The Jets do have some weapons on offense. Running back Breece Hall has rushed for 493 yards and is averaging 5.2 yards a carry, and wide receiver Garrett Wilson has caught 46 passes for 549 yards.

Contact Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on X.

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