The rookie addressed the media on May 27, 2021, and he came off wise beyond his years. It’s no surprise that veteran teammate C.J. Mosley described Wilson in one word, “composed,” during his own press conference.
Head coach Robert Saleh couldn’t help but rave about his new signal-caller either, using terms like “relentless” and “mental horsepower” to describe Wilson. Listening to the young quarterback talk, it’s easy to understand where these compliments are coming from.
Wilson on Mike LaFleur’s Offense
When asked what he likes about the new Jets offense, Wilson gave a pretty unique answer that focused around the word, “detail.”
He seemed thrilled to discuss Mike LaFleur’s system, noting that there wasn’t much he didn’t like about it. Specifically, Wilson said that “one play compliments another,” which “keeps the defense on their toes.”
Wilson also noted that the offense is “definitely going to be a challenge” to learn, but that he’s “excited for it.” He cited his “strong passion for this game,” stating that his extensive preparation is motivated by the fact that he “doesn’t want to let his teammates down.”
There are few wrong answers in a situation like this, but these were without a doubt the right ones. Wilson seems to get ‘it,’ and like the “bowl of cereal” analogy he uses, being a franchise quarterback appears to just come naturally to the well-spoken rookie.
Adjustments From BYU to Florham Park
The media was also curious about how Wilson was adjusting to his surroundings, not only in a new state, but a new level of competition.
Although Wilson has seen “similarities in almost every aspect,” the main difference for him at the NFL level has been the speed. By this, he didn’t only mean player speed but processing speed and game speed as well.
The move from Utah actually might be the larger adjustment for the Draper native, but Zach seems to have taken that in stride too. Other than a joke about the “aggressive drivers” in New Jersey, Wilson told the fans that he feels “at home” in his new environment.
Aside from his appearance at the New York Islanders playoff game, Wilson had a shortlist of activities since he arrived in the NYC area. It mainly consisted of trying out new restaurants downtown and “grinding on offense.”
For a city and a fanbase that has seen many athletes get swept up in the bright lights, Wilson’s mindset is definitely encouraging so far.
Week 1, Pressure & Sam Darnold
Wilson has been clear from day one that he doesn’t expect to be handed the starting job, he wants to earn it. Having said that, it’s a near-lock that the rookie is out there in Week 1 against Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers.
Jets media asked Wilson about the matchup against the ex-franchise quarterback, and his candid response was a bit unexpected: “Well my first reaction was just typical NFL right?”
He went on to say that he loves it, voicing his enthusiasm for the matchup: “Sam’s a great guy… I’m excited because the Panthers are a great team and it’s a great challenge for us. You know it has nothing to do with him. He’s a great player and he’s going to handle his own, but it has nothing to do with the fact that he was here in New York.”
Wilson finished by saying he was happy for Darnold and his opportunity in Carolina. Of course, in Zach’s mind, he may not even be out there Week 1: “That’s definitely not my concern right now… my goal is to go in every single day, how can I get better from the day before? You know, what things can I clean up? How can we all just keep pushing each other in the quarterback room?”
In terms of putting pressure on himself, Wilson said this: “Yeah I mean I don’t… I think the game of football brings pressure in general, so I think that’s what makes it fun, that’s what makes it exciting. You know you come out every day and it’s something new. I think where pressure comes is when you look to the future… there’s no pressure when you just look at it a day at a time.”
Wilson on Organization & Teammates
After complimenting the quickness and route-running of his new wide receivers, Wilson went on to talk about the system that’s being built around him.
The trust he has for colleagues already extends way past his coaches, as the BYU product noted that he’s being taught to let his skill positions “make a play for him” if they have the right matchup. He also commented that he doesn’t need to be a “superhero” on the field.
On his offensive line, Wilson called Mekhi Becton a “special player.” He talked up how well the left tackle moves for his size, and “how bad he wants to be the best,” which struck a chord with the young quarterback more than anything else.
Wilson didn’t leave anyone out though, saying that he’s not just excited about the left side, but the “whole O-line in general.”
It was all maturity and professionalism from Wilson’s first word, which is exactly what Jets fans want to hear from the new face of their franchise. In a bizarre twist of fate, the interview was oddly reminiscent of New York’s greatest foe of the last two decades, Tom Brady.