The Jets’ Zach Wilson franchise needs to start playing like a QB


Zach Wilson finally gets the ball back on Sunday, and the good news is that he has no good reason to fail. The selectors have watched three different quarterbacks with three different football journeys, run the Jets offense with three different levels of success.

But they are all successful. One of them, Mike White, was one of the league’s best players memorably Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium … with this offense. The Jets look like a legitimate NFL team, with White, Josh Johnson and Joe Flacco directing traffic from one end of the field to the other. Mike LaFleur, formerly the most compatible coordinator, was quicker when he left Wilson’s side, moved up to the booth, and watched the other quarterbacks perform tasks assigned to Wilson.

The Jets have cautioned that once Wilson got down with a knee injury in a blowout loss to the Patriots, he did not necessarily improve in the sport’s leading position.

“The talent around him has been great over the last four weeks,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday.

No, the 2021 Jets don’t remember the 2007 Patriots. But if the receivers are playing fast and the backs are doing well and the offensive linemen are more purposeful, as Saleh said, it’s time to prove that Wilson is a special player sworn by his bosses from the night he was drafted. He’s second overall.

Zach Wilson should start showing signs of becoming the Jets' franchise quarterback, writes Ian O'Connor.
Zach Wilson should start showing signs of becoming the Jets’ franchise quarterback, writes Ian O’Connor.
Bill Costroun (2)

Wilson said he no longer cares about his knee. He told his coaches, “I’m 100 percent confident in my ability to go out there and play football.”

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson talks with coach Robert Saleh during practice.
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson talks with coach Robert Saleh during practice.
Bill Coastrun

Good to hear. Wilson announced that he had indeed amassed a ton of intel as he watched White, Johnson and Flacco relocate the team that hired Wilson to relocate them.

“I feel like every rep they go through, I was able to learn it and apply it to my game,” he said.

In September, his BYU coach Kilani Sitake told the Post about his former star’s ability to channel information into improved performance: “He’s a learning machine. He’s getting better every day since I know him.

To that end, Wilson probably spent more hours in the film room watching Mc Jones, who was drafted 13th place after him, running back Bill Belichick’s offense for 15 years. Jones is expected to be his AFC East rival for a long, long time, and he’s already figured out how to lead a first-place team.

2-8 jets may be in the same category as the Patriots, but they are not in the same league. Wilson needs to start cutting the valley divide between the two franchises and the two quarterbacks. The upcoming schedule looks as smooth as BYU’s schedule last year, when Wilson improved to 33 touchdowns against three interceptions and had plenty of athletic games to develop to become the first franchise player to lead him (not Jones). To the Super Bowl in more than half a century.

The Jets start with the 2-8 Texans, still a ugly team despite the Titans’ upset. Then it was Philly, New Orleans, Miami and Jacksonville. These are five games that can be won against opponents with undefeated records, and after sitting and watching, Wilson should be good enough to win some of them before facing Tom Brady’s Buccaneers at home and the Bills on the road.

When he lost four of his starts, the Jets did everything to keep Wilson locked up in a hermetically sealed room. Saleh did not wait for his quarterback’s knee to throw him in there to fully recover; He waited for the “confidence” of his knee rookie to fully recover. It is hard to recall that the last time a coach talked so much about a player’s confidence in the healing body part. On Wednesday, Saleh said the decision to launch Wilson against Houston included a ruling that the quarterback was “mentally good.”

Be that as it may. After going 1-5 and throwing nine interceptions and only four touchdown passes, Wilson should now spend his time in the classroom studying his older, more efficient peers. Saleh said he thought there was great value in observing Wilson’s time from the sideline, but he acknowledged, “How he can interpret everything, I think he can only answer.”

Wilson begins to answer Sunday. He said he doesn’t feel any pressure to increase his game to match other jets’ quarterbacks, but whatever human nature is, it’s a tough right to buy.

The child is modeled as a special player. It’s time for Wilson to begin to climb toward that prospect.

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