Quarterbacks are perceived to be pretty soft.
During practice, they wear a different colored jersey where its’ sole purpose is to scream “hey don’t touch me or else.”
Although how many stories have you ever heard that feature your starting quarterback trucking a linebacker? I’d imagine not many.
“[Wilson] gets flushed out of the pocket and he starts running. Our middle linebacker steps up to take him on and, rather than dodge him, he just runs our middle linebacker over”, said high school coach Cary Whittingham. “Our middle linebacker was actually hurt and laid on the field for a long time. He was taken off in an ambulance to the hospital. At the end of the day, he wasn’t injured — he was stunned! He was literally destroyed by the quarterback. At that point, I thought, ‘Game over.'”
The saddest part of this story is there’s no video footage documenting the event. This simply means we must let our imagination fill in the gaps.
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Zach Wilson Is a Tough Son of a Gun
If you judged a book by its’ cover, you’d likely say Zach Wilson is nothing more than a baby-faced pretty boy. You’d think maybe he’s a model for some fancy clothing line, surely not a football player, let alone a quarterback.
Despite his boy-band-like looks, Wilson has proven to be far tougher than given credit for.
Throughout his collegiate career, he has battled injuries and high expectations. Although none higher than what he’ll experience as the highest-drafted quarterback in Jets history.
Wilson, whether fairly or unfairly, is deemed the savior of the franchise.
Joe Douglas has put his career on the line by trading away the incumbent Sam Darnold and getting his own guy in Wilson. The former BYU passer’s success or failure will ultimately define the legacy of Douglas as a general manager in the NFL.
If Wilson was looking for advice, there’s none better than from Aunt May to Peter Parker in the Spiderman movie, “you do too much, you’re not Superman you know?”
Sure Wilson was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, but he doesn’t have to turn this entire organization around by himself.
Douglas did a great job surrounding him with a ton of talent on the offensive line and with a ton of new skill players. Wilson doesn’t have to hit a home run every time he comes to the plate. The Jets can win football games if he hits a single, an occasional double, or heck even a triple every blue moon.
What Are Fair Expectations for His Rookie Campaign?
That’s a question that every Jets fan has probably asked themselves at some point since Wilson was taken this past April.
Your first initial thought may be some sort of statistical projection of this or that. Perhaps your mind expands to a record prediction and how will the team do?
Although the expectation that first comes to mind for me is participation.
An athlete’s best ability is availability. It doesn’t matter how good you’re if you can’t stay on the field the rest is irrelevant.
Wilson’s biggest concern coming out of college was about his size. No not necessarily his height or weight (6-foot-2, 214 pounds), but more so his “slender shoulders and build.”
When you look at his past at BYU, Wilson has had a torn shoulder labrum. It gave him some problems in college.
Now he’s coming to the NFL where the game is faster and everyone he will face is 1000 times better than anyone he played in college.
On top of all those factoids, the 21-year old will face the stiffest challenge of any rookie quarterback in the history of professional football. A 17 game schedule.
Based on that alone, it’ll be even more difficult to suit up for an entire season. We haven’t seen that kind of attendance from a Jets quarterback since 2015 when Ryan Fitzpatrick started all 16 games (even still he got injured and Geno Smith had to come in for a handful of snaps vs the then Oakland Raiders).
If Wilson suits up for all 17 games, that’ll be more than enough for me in 2021.