Jets’ Robert Saleh Gives Honest Assessment of Zach Wilson, Offense vs. Cowboys

Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson surveys the field versus the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2.

It’s very easy to look at the final box score and say that Zach Wilson and the New York Jets offense played poorly in Week 2.

However, head coach Robert Saleh challenged that belief at the start of his postgame press conference. “I don’t know if we gave them much of a chance,” the Jets HC replied when asked for his honest assessment of the offense after a 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

“Defensively, we just couldn’t get off the field on third down today,” he explained. “Had our opportunities — give [Dallas] credit — they were efficient, they were ahead of the chains and when we did catch them in third and long situations, they were still able to capitalize. Had a [pass interference] in the end zone, had a third and 12 to start the second half, I believe. That just allowed them to keep the drive going and when you’re racking up plays — I think we saw almost 90 of them today — you’re going to run out of gas.”

“We just didn’t give ourselves a chance defensively to get off the field to give our offense a chance to get any kind of rhythm going,” Saleh concluded.

Jets HC Robert Saleh Thought QB Zach Wilson Did a ‘Really Nice Job’ Up Until Offense ‘Had to Force It’

On his young quarterback, Saleh said the following: “Up until we had to force [the passing game], I thought [Wilson] did a really nice job.”

Continuing: “He hit the strike route to Garrett [Wilson] for that big touchdown. I thought he did a really nice job at the end of [the first] half, moving the chains, getting us some points. Like I said — that [Cowboys] team, when you have to get into a drop back game with those guys consistently it’s just not going to be pretty.”

Dallas flaunts one of the best pass rushes in the NFL, if not the best. Typically, the best way to attack a defense like that is with a strong running presence — but none of the Jets ball carriers even reached 10 yards rushing on the day.

“I thought [Zach Wilson] did a nice job [under pressure],” Saleh noted later. “Obviously, late in the game had to force the ball to try to make something happen — obviously didn’t go our way. There was a miscommunication on one of the interceptions between him and the [running] back, but they’ve got a hell of a front. They did a good job applying pressure and like I said, I thought he did a really nice job in the pocket extending plays, scrambling, had a couple of nice off-schedule plays. Just wasn’t good enough.”

The Jets HC added that he thought Wilson had another passing touchdown lined up at the end of the first half if his arm was not hit on the throw.

Jets Must Win Games Following a Defensive Script

Now, some of what Saleh said could be considered “coach speak,” but his general point was obvious. The NYJ defense did not do what the coaches expected it to do today, and it threw everything else out of whack, especially the offense.

The Jets want to grind out wins with Wilson at quarterback, utilizing a top-three defense and a run-heavy offense — which includes the mobile QB. When that defense allows long scoring drives right out of the gates on the first possession, and then again later after the offense puts a touchdown on the board, that forces OC Nathaniel Hackett and Wilson to go off-script.

You always hear the term “complimentary football” around the NFL, and the Jets performance in Dallas was the opposite of that. When the defense made a stop, the offense punted or committed a turnover like veteran running back Dalvin Cook coughing up a fumble in the third quarter. When the offense scored points and got the game within a possession, the defense broke down allowing a 13-play, 75-yard drive.

Yes, Wilson threw three interceptions, but they came in the final three possessions after the score was already 27-10. A two-score game is not out of reach, to be clear, but it’s not the script that the Jets had planned heading into a tough matchup on the road either.

This team must work hand in hand if they want to contend against difficult opponents going forward.

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