Jets Analyst Credits Unsung Hero of Week 4 Win: ‘He Was Damn Good’

Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson throws from the pocket in Week 4.

It’s another victory Monday for New York Jets fans as Zach Wilson led Gang Green over the Pittsburgh Steelers with a tremendous fourth-quarter performance in the clutch.

Back again to discuss and debate all the burning Jets questions of the week are our expert writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller. This edition of our NYJ mailbag column will center around Week 4 game reactions, including Zach Wilson’s performance, 2022 overreactions, unsung heroes, coaching adjustments, and a look ahead to Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins.

Most recent mailbags:


Jets, Zach Wilson ‘Empty the Tank’ in Pittsburgh


"Empty The Tank ⛽⛽⛽" | Victory Speech vs Pittsburgh Steelers | The New York Jets | NFLSubscribe to the New York Jets YT Channel: bit.ly/2KRtBJd For more Jets NFL Action: bit.ly/2rkCbal #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL For more Jets action: newyorkjets.com/2022-10-02T21:45:00Z

1. After another thrilling win, give me your biggest Jets overreaction right now.

Boy Green:

The Jets have a franchise quarterback. Some will look at the boxscore and see an unappealing statistical pile. However, anyone who actually saw the game could tell you the intangible moments and throws were enough to convince you that he is the guy.

Essentially, Wilson has missed nine months of action from the end of the 2021 regular season to the Week 4 matchup versus the Steelers. If he was able to deliver and get a win in unideal circumstances, just imagine when he gets more reps under his belt.

I’m giddy — and every Jets fan should be about his potential.

Obermuller:

My overreaction is that the Jets can sneak into the playoffs in 2022. Let me preface this explanation by saying I’m not the typical homer fan that sees everything in green-tinted sunglasses. In fact, I’ve picked against them three out of four games so far this year (aside from Week 4).

From the start, I said this summer that if the Jets can make it through the early season nine-game gauntlet with four wins, they should have a legitimate chance at the postseason based on their lighter second-half schedule.

They have already won two inside the AFC North and the road may be easier than we initially thought. Green Bay struggled to beat New England with Bailey Zappe at quarterback. Denver has looked terrible. Even Miami will be forced to start Teddy Bridgewater next week.

That’s before two games against the Patriots and one against the Bears, Jaguars, Lions, Seahawks and Vikings — yawn. A confident Jets team can make a playoff run in 2022.

2. How would you describe Zach Wilson’s 2022 debut?

BG:

A freaking roller coaster man. I audibly gasped when Wilson was evading pass rushers and fell awkwardly down to the turf. From the moment he hit the ground to the moment he brushed himself off felt like a million years.

I think it was beneficial for him, the fans, and everyone involved to see him get hit and survive it. Not that you ever want to see your QB getting hit, but he needed that.

There were incredible highs — the crazy comeback and BIG BOY throws. And lows — inaccuracies and the questionable interception at the end of the first half. The good news is, Wilson will only get better from here and it’s better to learn lessons from a win than a loss.

MO:

Rusty — and that’s actually a good thing. If a rusty Wilson can lead his team to two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a win, a mid-season form version should be thriving in this Mike LaFleur offense that is tailored to a lot of his strengths.

We saw the mobility and the play-action design on full display in Week 4 — stuff that did not work with Joe Flacco at quarterback. With its best group of playmakers in a long time, this Jets’ offense has the potential to be scary if they can just put together some consistency on the line.

Back to the question. Wilson had nervous moments and made some unnecessary and inaccurate throws but I also thought he managed constant pocket pressure pretty well throughout the game. Most importantly, his play was in another universe compared to Flacco and there’s zero question that he is the guy moving forward.


Redemption Wears Green & White in Week 4


"It Shows The Grit We Have" | Alijah Vera-Tucker Postgame 1-on-1 | The New York Jets | NFLTeam reporter Caroline Hendershot speaks with Alijah Vera-Tucker following the team's week four game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Subscribe to the New York Jets YT Channel: bit.ly/2KRtBJd For more Jets NFL Action: bit.ly/2rkCbal #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL For more Jets action: newyorkjets.com/2022-10-02T21:34:41Z

3. Who was the biggest unsung hero of the Week 4 victory in Pittsburgh?

BG:

Lamarcus Joyner. This dude has been straight-up roasted — and rightfully so — for his crappy play, missed tackles, and miscommunications on the backend.

Fans were calling for his head, asking for him to be benched, and most even said they wish he would’ve retired instead. For the veteran to respond with one of the best games of his career is magical, and quite frankly, was paramount in the victory.

Hopefully, he can build on this moving forward, but man that dude deserves his roses!

MO:

Mine is Alijah Vera-Tucker. Head coach Robert Saleh held an ace up his sleeve until just before kick-off and a credit to the staff for attempting something bold.

AVT played offensive tackle in college, this was a known fact. Many fans suggested the Jets move him back to the position at the NFL level and finally, after countless injuries and failed replacement plans, they did.

Was he perfect? No — but considering what the Jets asked him to do in a short week, he was damn good.

Jets postgame analyst Connor Rogers tweeted out his stats on October 3: “Alijah Vera-Tucker with 67 snaps at *left tackle* yesterday. 0 sacks, 0 QB hits surrendered, 3 hurries per PFF. His value to play either guard spot at a high level or emergency tackle cannot be given enough credit.”

4. The coaching staff appeared to have a much better day against the Steelers after a rough week on social media. What did you like about the Jets coaching game plan in Week 4? Anything that’s still bugging you?

BG:

Yeah, I’m still puzzled about what transpired at the end of the first half, honestly. Here is the situation: third and 11 from the Pittsburgh 29 with 20 seconds remaining. The Jets had the lead 10-3 and got the ball to start the second half.

If they play it safe, they go up 13-3 and that is likely the score at the half. Instead, they go aggressive with the play call and Wilson throws an interception that is returned for 26 yards. The Steelers end up getting a long field goal and it’s 10-6 instead. What was LaFleur thinking?

It was a bad play call, a terrible throw by Wilson, and I just didn’t understand the risk versus reward. Just a boneheaded move and it highlights the up-and-down season it has been thus far for LaFleur.

I think he has a bright future but he can’t keep having these great games versus bad games, he needs consistency.

MO:

Wow, Boy Green is out for blood! No positives, just straight for the kill.

I’ve said in the past, the plan is way too rigid at times but in Week 4, fans finally saw a taste of what the Jets system is supposed to look like on offense and defense. The O wants to run the ball and hit pass-catchers in space off play-action — they did that pretty well considering the OL deficiencies and absences.

The D wants to play behind a lead, rush the quarterback with fresh pass rushers, and create turnovers. Again, they did that for the most part despite a slight hiccup in the second half. It was nowhere near perfect but for every time Saleh or Jeff Ulbrich has said ‘wait for it, the plan will work eventually,’ I finally saw it happen for the first time in 2022.

Now, I’m not saying they get a pass. I thought Saleh had a smart game from a head coaching and motivational perspective and I disagree with my partner, I thought this was LaFleur’s most creative game as a play-caller and overall I give him a positive grade. I’m still iffy on Ulbrich’s snap share but there were signs of improvement today.

5. The Jets have their first divisional game in Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins. Give us the weekly prediction and score (Obermuller leads Boy Green 3-1 to 2-2 on the season).

BG:

Gang Green has lost 12 consecutive divisional games, which means they have been swept by every team in the division for two straight years.

This is the time for a change and the Jets are at home. They have the good vibes after the thrilling win over the Steelers and of course, the Miami Dolphins are dealing with some QB issues.

It won’t be easy, but I think Gang Green finds a way. Saleh is intimately familiar with Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel from all their time together in San Francisco. I’ll take the Jets winning this game 28-26 over the Dolphins and pushing above the .500 mark.

MO:

I’m still waiting for Boy Green to pick AGAINST the Jets in 2022, but I guess that’s how he earned his nickname. As for me, I’m coming off two straight wins after my only incorrect selection came in Cleveland.

This is a game I’ve flip-flopped back and forth on the past few months and I’m actually going to be in attendance for the first time this season — but something is telling me to take the upset here.

Miami started the year hot at 3-0 but they didn’t do so dominantly. You could argue that they should have lost against Baltimore and Buffalo if not for mistakes by their opponent and Bridgewater’s arm limits their greatest assets at wide receiver.

This will be a coming-out game for Sauce Gardner and another strong effort from D.J. Reed. The Jets’ pass rush will also get to Teddy B and force critical errors. Lastly, this Dolphins defense doesn’t scare me at all. Play that video of Tyreek Hill laughing at — “Who? The Jets?” — in the meeting room all week on repeat Saleh and let’s shut him up at MetLife Stadium. Gang Green 33, Miami 24.

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