Where Have You Gone Al Woodall? Jets’ Lack Of A Backup Quarterback Has Haunted Them.

Where have you gone, Al Woodall?


If you’re a Jets’ fan that goes back to the late 1960s and early 70s, you know who I mean.


Woodall was the dependable backup to the oft-injured Joe Namath during that period,and his claim to fame was an upset of the ”FearsomeFoursome”  Rams in the 1970s. He led the team to three straight victories over the Rams, Patriots,and Vikings.


Today, if they had their chance, the Jets may have preferred to have Woodall under center instead of going back to Zack Wilson. 


Zack is back…again.. He’s back again, likely for the last time. Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian couldn’t cut it. The obvious void for a backup quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers surfaced. By the way, we won’t see Rodgers this year. He won’t come back for a non-playoff bound team. 


GM Joe Douglas fumbled the ball on this move, especially with an array of options during the summer. Yes, all Jets’ fans figured Rodgers would lead them to the postseason, and Wilson was the safety valve. 


During the summer, I suggested the Jets sign Gardner Minshew. They didn’t, and Minshew is guiding the Colts toward a playoff berth. There were other options out there. The Jets did sign veteran Brett Rypien off the Seahawks practice squad. Why wasn’t someone like Rypien considered earlier?


Now, Wilson has the controls for the final five games.and the Jets probably are headed toward the end of another season with a postseason bid since 2010.


Bringing Wilson back does give the Jets their best chance to win against the Texans Sunday at MetLife. But, it won’t be easy.


Wilson faces a Texans’ team that is hungry for a playoff bid, and star rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud is making a strong case for Rookie-Of-The-Year honors. The Texans have won four of their last five and have averaged 30 points per game in each of their last three.


Houston’s defense is ranked ninth against the run , allowing an average of 97 yards per game, and they are 26th against the pass, allowing 295 yards per contest. 


So, Zack, pass the ball. Running back Breece Hall was questionable all week and will likely be a game-time decision. Yet. Hall’s productivity has severely diminished mainly due to the awful state of the offensive line. 


Hall hasn’t had more than 50 yards in a game since Oct. 8 when he rumbled for 177 in Denver. Last week, he had 16 yards on 13 carries for a 1.2 average per carry.


Bringing Wilson back can be a plus because of his chemistry with Garrett Wilson. Tight end Tyler Conkilin will play, and other tight end Jeremy Ruckart has emerged as a prime target. Xavier Gipson suddenly has been a regular contributor. The real enigma has been the lack of production from Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard, who both may be past their prime.


The Jets’ playoff hunt is over, and now it is a matter of seeing how Wilson can increase his market value for next season. He has the stage for the next five games. In Wilson’s defense, he hasn’t had a good offensive guru in his corner.


Imagine having a proven backup like Minshew here for the past 12 games, and what the scene might have been. 


If you are a Jets fan over 55, you’ll know how valuable Woodall was.


About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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