Apparently, New York Jets fans aren’t the only ones asking pressing questions.
Head coach Robert Saleh admitted during his Tuesday, December 20 press conference that multiple members of his family have been peppering him with questions after the game on Sunday.
Why isn’t the coaching staff using Zach Wilson outside of the pocket more?
“That’s fair. I feel like I’ve answered that question this week, not with you guys, but with all my family who has been asking. It all depends on what the defense gives you. Obviously, you want to do as much of that as possible but at the same time, you got to pick and choose your battles. You can’t just play for that because it will create just a lot of chaos.
So that stuff you can’t teach. Some of that is impromptu where he’s improvising and he’s just doing it. Some of it is designed and it is what it is with that.
At the end of the day being able to stand in the pocket, deliver the ball, 2-minute, third down, that’s what makes great quarterbacks and he has all that stuff. He does have a special skillset so obviously, we try to maximize that as much as we can but you just got to make sure you pick and choose your battles because the defense has something to say about that stuff too.”
The Numbers Back up Jets Fans and Family Members
On the Flight Deck Podcast, Rich Cimini of ESPN revealed the numbers on Zach Wilson both inside the pocket and outside of it versus the Detroit Lions and the results were stark.
When he [threw] from inside the tackle box, he was 13-for-29 for 183 passing yards with one touchdown and an interception.
However when he was outside of the tackle box “he was a different quarterback” according to Cimini. Wilson was 5-for-6 for 134 passing yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
In the game, it seemed obvious that when Wilson was either on designed rollouts or bootlegs he appeared much more confident, and the numbers back that up.
However, when he was forced to play within the structure of the Mike LaFleur offense doing normal quarterback things, he struggled.
The Jets Have to Figure out the Formula With Zach Wilson
Zach Wilson’s performance on Sunday versus the Lions was a bonkers roller coaster. Or at least that is how our Heavy Jets contributors described it in their Monday mailbag column.
There were some incredible highs.
“A fun little fact on it [Zach Wilson’s performance versus the Detroit Lions], he averaged over 14 air yards per completion,” Rich Cimini said on the Flight Deck Podcast. “That was the most by any quarterback in the league with 15 or more completions since Russell Wilson back in 2012.”
However, there were also some incredible lows.
According to Cimini, 35.3 percent of Wilson’s passes “were off target” in the Lions game. Believe it or not, that is actually slightly worse than the infamous New England Patriots game that got Wilson benched in the first place (only 35.0 percent of those passes were off-target).
The solution to the problem is somewhere in the middle.
Jets fans and members of Saleh’s family are right, the offensive coaching staff needs to get Wilson on the move more. Although the entire game can’t just have him on the move that isn’t very realistic.
Ultimately if Wilson wants to be the long-term answer at quarterback for the Jets he will have to learn how to play from the pocket and deliver the ball consistently.