The New York Jets are once again embarking on a new journey with a brand new quarterback and head coach combination heading into 2021.
Despite owning the NFL’s longest active playoff drought, optimism is anew on 1 Jets Drive with the team sitting at 0-0.
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Source of Overflowing Optimism
Part of that optimism stems from the Jets’ selection of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.
The talented gunslinger out of BYU has drawn lofty comparisons to some of the NFL’s best in Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers, and yes even Patrick Mahomes.
Those spectacular off-script plays where we are taken back to football in the backyard of Draper, Utah leaves most of us with our jaws on the floor. The arm talent, arm angles, and of course the swagger that is oozing out of every pore is impossible to miss.
It isn’t arrogance, but a confidence that he can get the ball where it needs to go.
Even with all of that obvious talent, there is clearly going to be growing pains for a passer who played at BYU with a significantly lower level of competition than he’ll face in the NFL.
But just because there are going to be growing pains, doesn’t mean there can’t be levels of success achieved in his rookie campaign.
A Bold Proclamation for the Ages
Every ESPN NFL Nation reporter was tasked with providing a bold prediction ahead of the 2021 season and Rich Cimini provided exactly that for the green and white:
“Wilson will become the franchise’s first quarterback since Joe Namath (1967) to throw for 4,000 yards.”
To the average NFL fan, throwing for over 4,000 yards wouldn’t quite reach the “bold prediction” category.
As a matter of fact, 12 quarterbacks accomplished that feat last season, and with the NFL’s recent expansion to a 17-game regular season, that number is inevitably going to increase even more this upcoming season.
Although to Jets fans and this organization it would absolutely be historic for Wilson to achieve that milestone.
Not only would the former BYU stud become the first quarterback in team history to throw for 4,000 yards in over 53 years, but he would also be only the second Gang Green quarterback to ever do it.
Joe Namath was the first to do it back in 1967 in just a 14-game season. Here’s an NFL fun fact, did you know that Namath was the first quarterback in league history to throw for 4,000 yards? It’s true.
A lot of people may scoff at the possibility of a rookie quarterback accomplishing that, especially a player that is on the Jets, but it’s completely viable.
To accomplish that feat Wilson would have to average 235 yards passing per game which is below the league average from last season (240), per ESPN Stats and Information.
The key will be health.
Wilson battled a few of those demons during his time in college, but a vastly improved Gang Green offensive line should quell any of those concerns.
The Jets PR staff provided this great nugget from the game notes that should be an encouraging sign heading into Week 1:
“In six drives during the preseason, the first-team offensive line (MEKHI BECTON, CONNOR MCGOVERN, GREG VAN ROTEN and GEORGE FANT/MORGAN MOSES) allowed zero sacks and zero quarterback hits when on the field with ZACH WILSON.”
Expectations are all over the place for a team coming off of a 2-14 season, but optimism is high that Wilson can finally be the savior Jets fans have been looking for since Namath hung up his cleats.