The mood of an NFL locker room is always a bit lighter after a victory Monday. For the New York Jets, it’s only the fourth time this youthful roster has experienced that feeling this season.
Eight-year veteran Morgan Moses has seen it all. He’s been through the highs and lows of this game throughout his career and although he’s never reached a Super Bowl, he knows what it takes to make the playoffs.
The Jets won’t be involved in the postseason in 2021 but they are building towards playing “meaningful” December football in 2022 and beyond. That culture change all starts with leadership and hard work, something Moses sees in his rookie quarterback.
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Moses Impressed by Wilson
In a press conference on December 29 ahead of a matchup with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the starting right tackle highlighted a couple of Zach Wilson’s veteran traits.
“You see a guy that’s getting better every week,” Moses began. “He’s a professional on and off the field and he comes in every day and he demands— the thing I’m starting to learn about him is as he’s getting comfortable he’s learning how to demand greatness out of everybody around him. When you do that and you have that type of player under center, that demands greatness from every position, the sky’s the limit for our offense.”
Over the past two decades, I’ve heard similar quotes about Wilson’s Week 17 counterpart Tom Brady, who Moses referred to as “a walking Hall of Fame.” The legendary QB is known for his intense drive and his high expectations that seem to elevate those around him.
Wilson may not have Brady’s track record but he does have a bit of his personality. Moses elaborated on the demanding greatness comment, noting that the rookie has become more vocal in recent weeks.
He explained: “Definitely became more vocal, he knows the play calls, he knows what [routes] his receivers [have], and he knows he wants them ran a certain way so he speaks up about that and guys — when you have a quarterback that’s young and he’s demanding greatness out of everybody else… it becomes contagious and becomes something that you want to be a part of. So, when you have a quarterback like that [who] speaks up… it makes the offense run a lot smoother because there [are] expectations that you have to be [great].”
That’s the exact type of culture that head coach Robert Saleh is hoping to build in Florham Park. People forget that the first-year signal-caller was voted as a captain by his teammates before Week 1.
Wilson seemed to lose his confidence early in the year after a dreadful outing against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots but now he’s finally gaining it back and as Moses voiced, confidence is contagious.
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Wilson Registers Best Grade of Season
Based on Pro Football Focus’ algorithm, the number two overall pick had his best performance of his rookie campaign against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16.
The grading site awarded Wilson with an 80.5 overall, including a 91.7 as a runner and a 64.8 as a passer. NFL Next Gen Stats clocked the rookie at 19.19 MPH on his 52-yard touchdown run, adding 38 yards over the expected 14 they calculated.
The BYU product has earned two better passing marks against the Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles in year one. His second-best overall grade was 71.3 in that Week 4 outing versus the Titans.
One thing we’re learning, when Wilson plays with moxie, the rest of this roster does too. That could be the winning combination in 2022.