Jets Experts Examine Kicker Mess & Zach Wilson’s Ongoing ‘Process’

Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson exits NRG Stadium after a victory in Week 12.

The New York Jets were defeated in Week 13, 33-18, and the result came with a mixed bag of pros and cons to digest.

On one hand, the offense and Zach Wilson showed major strides but on the other, the defense was absolutely atrocious and special teams had clear ups and downs. As we always do on Mondays, our expert writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller will dive into all the hot-topic questions that are at the forefront of this fanbase right now.

This week will focus on Wilson’s positive performance, how to solve the mess at kicker, what’s wrong with the run defense, whether Elijah Moore has surpassed Corey Davis, and a unique fan hypothetical that has created some buzz. Here are the links to our most recent Heavy on Jets roundtable discussions.

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Digesting Week 13 vs. Philadelphia


Jets Overtime | New York Jets vs. Philadelphia Eagles | 2021 | NFLReview the Jets' Week 13 game against the Philadelphia Eagles with instant reaction and analysis. #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL Subscribe to the New York Jets YT Channel: bit.ly/2KRtBJd For more Jets videos: bit.ly/2rkCbal For more Jets action: newyorkjets.com/ Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/jets/ Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/nyjets Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/nyjets/ Get the App:…2021-12-05T22:49:35Z

1. Many are calling Week 13 Zach Wilson’s best game as a Jet, do you agree?

Boy Green:

1000%. Was it as splashy as Tennessee? No, but it showed the maturity and natural progression of a rookie who is learning how to be a professional quarterback.

For the first time in his rookie season, he scored passing touchdowns in the first half, which hadn’t happened on his best day. Wilson got off to a hotter start overall and so did the team. Through the first 11 weeks of the season, the Jets had only scored 24 total points in the first quarter. On Sunday versus the Philadelphia Eagles, they scored 12.

Was it perfect? Absolutely not — he had a back pick where he overthrew Jamison Crowder — but it was super encouraging and clearly the best game of his rookie career.

Obermuller:

While I loved to see this performance, I’m actually going to say no. He may have started slower against the Tennessee Titans but he finished stronger and sometimes finishing is more key.

For example, the Jets were victorious that day and the lasting effect of those Josh Allen-type throws resonated with the fanbase. There was a ton of juice after that outing and while the Eagles loss was not on Wilson, there is much less excitement today than there was after Week 4.

I’ll rank this as the rookie’s second-best performance of the year and a really nice bounce-back after the shaky return in Houston. Like Wilson stated during the postgame presser, I still need to see that blend of check-down awareness and playmaking ability.

We saw a glimpse of that against the Eagles but I believe we saw more against Tennessee.

2. The defense couldn’t stop the run once again against the Eagles, why would you say the D-line has been so poor in this regard under Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich?

Boy Green:

Just a quick aside, it is stunning they were able to do that without the presence of Jalen Hurts. I know the Eagles offensive line is world-renowned but Gardner Minshew doesn’t have the same dual-threat ability.

Anywho back to the point, I think part of it is personnel — they don’t have the necessary horses — but more of it is a brand new scheme. These players are learning on the fly and haven’t been able to absorb the concepts.

You have to blame coaching, Ulbrich and Saleh are failing to translate practice to the field and it is costing them on a weekly basis.

Obermuller:

The Jets were outpassed 233 to 211 in total yardage but they were outrushed 185 to 70. This has been a glaring issue all season as this Ulbrich defense can’t seem to get themselves off the field.

In Week 13, that put the offense behind the eight ball after two punts! When you score touchdowns on your first three possessions, two punts shouldn’t mean the game is over. This piss-poor effort was unacceptable and while I defended the defensive coordinator in the past, I cannot do so today.

Boy Green is right, the current personnel is not clicking in this new system. Ulbrich may get one more chance and Saleh will definitely be here in 2022 but I expect this half of the roster to be gutted and rebuilt.

Outside of Quinnen Williams, Carl Lawson (injured), John Franklin-Myers, Bryce Hall, and the rookies drafted in 2021, no one is 100% safe on defense as far as I’m concerned.

3. The Eagles were treating Elijah Moore as the Jets’ top receiver with Darius Slay shadowing him, would you say the rookie has surpassed Corey Davis already?

Boy Green: 

I would in this sense — he is the new focal point of this offense, and rightfully so. Davis is better suited in a No. 2 role as a Robin to someone’s Batman.

Moore has all the physical traits to be a true No. 1 wide receiver and he has to achieve consistency to earn that reputation across the NFL. He battled through several drops in this game, but also made a ton of plays. Moore is a dynamic player and the Eagles recognized that and I’m not surprised.

Hopefully, the former Ole Miss product learned a thing or two going against a savvy veteran like Slay who knows every trick in the book. I know this, Moore is going to be a star with the Jets and that brings me great joy!

Obermuller:

I criticized Moore for a couple of those drops that Boy Green mentioned but the fact of the matter is, he’s already the top wide receiver in this offense. Davis was battling a groin injury and he’s the much better run-blocker but he’ll never take over a game the way the rookie can.

Size is not a major issue with Moore because, on most plays, he works himself open with his speed and route-running prowess. Think Tyreek Hill or Antonio Brown on his best day.

Davis is more of a play-action option that doesn’t do anything poorly or spectacularly. He’s an above-average receiver and a really useful role player, no doubt, but he’s not the perennial top-10 NFL threat that the Titans once drafted him to be. Is Moore becoming that? There’s only one way to find out.

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Have the Jets Solved Kicker, Quarterback?

4. The Alex Kessman experiment went up in flames, leading to an Eddy Pineiro signing. Has Joe Douglas found the answer at kicker?

Boy Green:

Isn’t that the million-dollar question? What an epic disaster, my word. As coach Saleh said after the game, they’ll keep bringing guys in until they figure this thing out and Pineiro is the next in a long line of scratch-offs.

Is the ex-Bears kicker the answer? No probably not, but it would be ironic if Douglas stumbled into the answer at kicker this late in the season.

The position is something that has been completely overlooked at 1 Jets Drive since Nick Folk was let go. This offseason, Douglas needs to do a complete evaluation because this is unacceptable and has cost the Jets a few games this season.

Obermuller:

I second the frustration because I KNEW this was going to happen when the Jets began training camp with Sam Ficken and Chris Naggar. At the time, I suggested players like Zane Gonzalez — now thriving with the Carolina Panthers — among others, but Douglas gambled with this issue over and over again.

I understand that his goal was probably to find a diamond in the rough but in the end, we are left with a retread anyway, so why not just start with one at least for the sake of competency? That’s no offense to Pineiro because I actually like this signing more than the past two (Matt Ammendola and Kessman), but this could have been avoided.

That’s the part that’s infuriating for fans. We all saw it coming and Douglas allowed this to happen. I mean Kessman was actually WORSE than Kaare Vedvik and I thought that was impossible.

Pineiro has some potential for upside but he’s been unable to stay healthy throughout his career. I believe we should trade down once in the draft for an extra late-round pick (sixth would be ideal) and use that pick on a kicker like Cade York or Will Reichard (if he declares).

5. Some fans have suggested trading Zach Wilson in 2022 along with a package of first-round picks for a proven veteran like Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson. Would you ever consider a bold move like this at QB?

Boy Green:

Absolutely not. I said this prior to this game and I reiterate that message now. From a cap perspective, the Jets would be screwed if they hit the eject button on Wilson just a year after taking him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Over $17 million in dead money screwed according to Over the Cap.

I was open to a Deshaun Watson trade prior to the draft, but once they drafted a guy, that fantasy was over. Wilson is an ascending player with an unbelievable ceiling and the draft picks should be used to surround their team with star talent, not on frivolous trades chasing a star quarterback.

Obermuller:

If you’re a more patient person wondering where this question came from, some fans have floated this question to me recently and after agreeing with Boy Green that I would never trade Wilson at this stage, I decided to voice the question to the fanbase on Twitter. The polarizing topic ended up exploding with opinions.

Having said that, I would not consider replacing the rookie after one season like Miami rumored with Tua Tagovailoa and the Arizona Cardinals did with Josh Rosen. In my opinion, Wilson has actually shown much more long-term traits than both those prospects did in year one and I had not even thought of the cap hit, to be honest.

The other reasons I’d want no part of it are; you’d have to extend Russell Wilson or Watson to make it worth it and they’re going to make a boatload of money, you’d be sacrificing much-needed draft capital when there are roster holes everywhere, and Zach Wilson is only 22 years old.

Realistically, this hypothetical has a 1% chance of happening if Douglas and Saleh are retained but since it struck a chord on Twitter, we figured we would officially tackle it today.

Follow @obermuller_nyj and @BoyGreen25 on Twitter for all the latest New York Jets breaking news, rumors, fresh takes and more!


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