Jets OTAs: Zach Wilson Excites, but ‘Defense Wins the Day’

Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson warming up at BYU.

Today’s latest round of New York Jets OTAs (June 2, 2021) was open to the media, which meant a ton of coverage from our dedicated beat reporters.

A couple of tweets stood out, but the bulk of the focus was of course on rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. Here were some of the other stories that we’ll dive into below:

  • Elijah Moore, Michael Carter making reps count.
  • Young defense stands tall behind Michael Carter II, Lamarcus Joyner.
  • Need for a backup quarterback grows.
  • Missing names at OTAs.

Wilson ‘Up & Down’ Despite Touchdown-Heavy Day

Jets New York Post and WFAN beat reporter Brian Costello described Wilson’s day as “up and down as you’d expect,” but certain instances seemed to really exhilarate the core of media personnel.

The red zone offense in particular seemed efficient. During 7-on-7 red-zone drills, Wilson linked up with three different weapons for touchdowns during his five attempts but was also nearly intercepted on one of the two incompletions.

The New York Daily News’ DJ Bien-Aime also elaborated on this segment illustrated above by Connor Hughes of The Athletic. Bien-Aime outlined that the first pass from the 10-yard line was a Tyler Kroft touchdown. After the near-interception, broken up by rookie corner Jason Pinnock, Jets X-Factor co-founder Robby Sabo described the final two scores.

“No. 8” is Jets second-round pick, Elijah Moore. Bien-Aime categorized his touchdown as an “easy score.” Undrafted rookie cornerback Isaiah Dunn finished off the session, ripping a fade route free from D.J. Montgomery.

Later, the Jets ran a different set of 7-on-7’s in the red zone. Hughes had the analysis yet again.

The interception Hughes referred to came on a deflected drop off the hands of Vyncint Smith. Based on the media coverage, it seemed to be on the receiver, not Wilson (more on this play later). Mixed in was a touchdown to tight end Chris Herndon.

One segment in the second set of 11-on-11s definitely caught the eye of multiple reporters as well. Hughes described it best.

The ability to put the proper touch on a pass is sometimes more key than arm strength itself, and Hughes notes that above: “It’s not fastball every time. Knows when to throw change up.”

Bien-Aime also commented on the touch pass to the rookie running back, highlighting a blitz read Wilson made prior to the release: “Jets defense sent Heat but Zach Wilson made a quick read and floated it to Michael Carter with a deep ball for a big gain.”

Generally, the bad throws don’t get talked about as much as the good ones, but it seems like Wilson had a positive outing overall. The arm talent has to be the number one takeaway, as Wilson continues to prove that he can make any throw at any time.

Carter II & Joyner Get Picks, Defense Victorious

According to Bien-Aime, the “defense won the day.”

That’s definitely a credit to this young secondary that has been questioned throughout the offseason. One stand-out in particular seemed to be the fifth-round pick out of Duke. Carter II was not only the beneficiary of the deflected interception, but three different reporters made it a point to mention his snap count.

Hughes and Costello joined Sabo on that front. A veteran also shined with Marcus Maye missing in action, and that was fellow safety Joyner. The former Los Angeles Rams star and Las Vegas Raiders burn-out looked more like his old self during 11-on-11s.

With encouraging signs from the secondary, and more specifically rookies like Carter II, Pinnock and Dunn, you have to agree with Bien-Aime that Robert Saleh’s defense got the edge today.

Moore & Carter Impress While Backup QBs Flounder

Another player that saw universal praise today was Moore. Whether it was Sabo talking about his “phenomenal route-running” or Costello complementing his hands on the touchdown, the wide receiver appeared to do no wrong this afternoon.

With Jamison Crowder still a no-show and possible cap-casualty, Moore’s success will be something to monitor closely this next week or two. Braxton Berrios also found the end zone today, which is more bad news for Crowder.

The other offensive camp battle that should garner intrigue is at running back. Both Carter and Tevin Coleman had their moments today, but the rookie seemed to get the lion’s share of the playing time. Here was Carter’s best highlight from Sabo, outside of the wheel route reception that we discussed above.

Bien-Aime also described a link-up between Mike White and Coleman, and the touchdown sounded like a play that would have been nice to catch live.

This battle is just getting started, as Ty Johnson, Josh Adams, La’Mical Perine and Austin Walter will hope to factor in the running back conversation as well.

Outside of the score Bien-Aime just outlined, the mentions of backup quarterbacks White and James Morgan were mostly negative. There was the Joyner interception on the White “deep shot” and here was the only tweet about Morgan.

It’s becoming more and more evident to most fans that the Jets need a proper veteran backup for Wilson, and these two aren’t it.

Notable Absences From OTAs

A veteran of the industry, Costello was sure to notice which Jets were not in attendance.

We already know that Corey Davis picked up a minor shoulder sprain, but Denzel Mims seems to be working through an issue of his own. Neither is cause for concern at this point. Then you have Crowder, whose home is currently on the chopping block rather than Florham Park.

Someone like Maye is less surprising being that he’s in the midst of contract negotiations, but Mekhi Becton and Carl Lawson’s absences have gone unexplained. Combined with the visit from veteran offensive tackle Morgan Moses, Becton’s recent time off has raised the most eyebrows.

The Jets’ next OTA media session is this Friday, June 4. Stay tuned Jets fans!

Which of today’s performances are YOU most excited about? Let us know on Facebook @HeavyOnJets, or Twitter @obermuller_nyj and @BoyGreen25.

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