Others have faith in Wilson as the new QB1, however, and running back Breece Hall led that charge on September 13. “We ALL believe in 2🤞🏾,” the second-year playmaker voiced on X (formerly Twitter) while quoting NYJ podcaster Matt O’Leary. “2” is referencing the young signal-caller’s jersey number.
O’Leary’s initial post read: “Garrett [Wilson], [Allen] Lazard, and [Nathaniel] Hackett in Zach’s ear [throughout the Buffalo Bills game]. Love it. Really, really hope it finally clicks.” The response from Hall blew up for 17.5K likes and counting in less than 24 hours.
Jets Coaches Robert Saleh & Nathaniel Hackett Talk Up Zach Wilson Ahead of Week 2 vs Cowboys
The locker room appears to be rallying around Zach Wilson after the Aaron Rodgers news, and the coaches have set that tone.
“Everyone’s in really great spirits,” head coach Robert Saleh relayed on September 13. “I’ll speak for the locker room; everyone believes in themselves, and we believe we have a really good football team.”
Saleh also mentioned that the team and organization have “a lot of faith in Zach.” He reasoned: “I think people forget that he was 5-1 before the bye week and before half the offense was decimated with injuries from a year ago. So, got a lot of faith in the group that we’ve got.”
Wilson’s new offensive coordinator, Hackett, voiced a similar show of support on September 14.
“I’ll tell you, my respect for him is off the charts,” Hackett stated. “For a guy to not have any practice, to come in there and execute the way that he did, was just so great to see.”
He added later that “I think Zach did a really good job [versus Buffalo]. I think he kept his composure and that’s all you can ask.”
In terms of the gameplan with Wilson rather than Rodgers, Hackett acknowledged that “every quarterback’s different.” He continued: “I want Zach to be Zach and Aaron to be Aaron… I want all the players to be who they are. My job is to try to put them in the best position so that they’re successful.”
“There are certain things that Zach can do that are really exciting,” Hackett explained. “And we want to take advantage of that. Every guy is different, so we’re going to try and do what’s best for them [as a coaching staff].”
Within the Q&A, Hackett also described Wilson as an “incredible” teammate, “confident” player and “eager” pupil. Lastly, he didn’t think much of the prospect’s 2022 struggles.
“Again, that’s the past, this is the future,” the coach said with conviction. “This is a guy that’s been training his butt off and learning a new system and growing within it. And I think everybody can say that they’ve seen him grow, and that’s all that we can do every game. There’s gonna be ups and downs with all quarterbacks and with all players, especially young players. And there’s always gonna be questions. For me as a coach, I just want to keep teaching him, I just want him to feel more and more comfortable, and keep growing.”
Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett: ‘Of Course’ NYJ Is Still Playoff Team With Zach Wilson at QB
Later, during Hackett’s media availability session, a reporter asked point blank if the Jets are still a playoff team without Rodgers.
“Of course,” the NYJ OC responded without hesitation.
“I wish everybody could have been there at halftime,” he went on. “We’re down to a very, very, very good football team — and we all know how good that team is… [and] just watching the offensive guys, the veteran leadership, we didn’t skip a beat. And I think that’s what was so great to see.”
“No one man makes a team,” Hackett concluded, “it just doesn’t. I’ve been on teams that have gone very, very far that might not have [had] a lot of star power, and I’ve been on teams [where] there is star power and you do good or you do bad. So, I think that in the end it’s about how a team plays together.”
Among other achievements, one of Hackett’s claims to fame as an offensive coordinator is leading the Jacksonville Jaguars to a near-AFC championship victory with Blake Bortles as his QB in 2017. The former top-three draft bust went 10-6 that year, with a 60.2 completion percentage behind a run-heavy strategy.
It was Bortles’ only above-500 campaign as an NFL starter, and that team had a very similar makeup as the Jets.