In 2022 it is put up or shut up time with raised expectations for the second-year passer. This week a member of the team issued a very strong message to the former BYU product to reiterate that level of importance.
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You Have to Cut Those Back
In a weekly predictive style question-and-answer, several members of the Jets media team were asked “what would” a Wilson leap in year No. 2 look like?
Randy Lange who has worked for the team since 2007 in a variety of roles including senior reporter, editor, and currently as a consultant gave a very blunt response in his answer:
“Without question, Zach Wilson showed progress over the second half of his rookie season compared to his first five-plus games before his knee injury. Also without question, Wilson needs to make more progress. The Jets know it, the fans know it and he knows it.”
Lange then went into great detail about what he would like to see improved upon during the 2022 season.
“Accuracy — At BYU in ’20, Zach completed 73.5% of his passes. Last season he completed 59.2%. Yards/Attempt — His 6.09 average was better than only fellow rookie Trevor Lawrence’s 6.05 last season. Drive Production — Wilson’s plays/drive (5.3), yards/drive (24.8), and three-and-out rate (30.7%) were all near the bottom end among qualifying QBs.”
During the predictive portion of his answer, Lange believes Wilson will improve in these three areas due to a variety of factors:
- Second year in Mike LaFleur system
- New toys on offense
- The extra workouts this offseason
Lange said he expects an increase in those three areas and “Jets victories to follow.”
There Are Breadcrumbs There
If you are a believer in a Wilson year two leap, there are breadcrumbs to follow that will make you feel good about it happening.
After being an interception machine early in his rookie campaign, Wilson totally flipped the script to end the season. According to Lange, Wilson ended the season with 156 consecutive passes without a pick and that covered the final five weeks of the season.
The other stat that some Jets fans may be unaware of is Wilson’s prowess in the red zone. Lange revealed in that same column that the former BYU passer threw six touchdowns to zero picks where it matters most and finished with a 102.9 QBR which placed him eighth best in the NFL.
Some social media criticism of these statistical milestones suggested that the Jets slapped training wheels on Wilson during the second half of the season which led to fewer interceptions.
“It is pretty simple for me and that’s command and composure. There is a little bit of a difference from last year with him coming from Utah and when he entered that locker room in 2021 it was probably a bit of a culture shock. At BYU he was the man and then he comes into New York and we know being the quarterback in that market is tough.
He is coming off of a year where he took his lumps, especially in that first half of the year. It was a little disappointing because I thought he looked really good in last year’s preseason. At the end of the day, he really figured it out in the second half of the year with limited turnovers and managed the game. You’d like to see more explosive plays from him but he had a second half that gave you a lot of promise heading into this year.
I think there is a little street cred with Wilson coming into camp this year where guys are going to look at him with a little more confidence not like who is this 20-something-year-old kid. If he can step up and show command of the offense and composure when things aren’t going your way then that is going to lead to a very big year from Wilson.”