The first five weeks have not gone as planned for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and he’s learning very quickly that this leads to a ton of questions in a city like New York.
Fortunately, the young signal-caller appears to have the right mentality to handle the pressure that comes with the media capital of the world, but that doesn’t mean a little downtime isn’t just what the doctor ordered.
During a press conference on October 12, Wilson told reporters that he’ll be heading home for the bye week to see his family and “get away from football for a little bit.” The rookie added that it would be good to “clear [his] mind.”
This is interesting, being that this offense could use all the practice it can get and the quarterback leaving won’t help get everyone on the same page. It’s also of note that Wilson will be spending the time off with a different coach than OC Mike LaFleur.
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Wilson Seeks Guidance From Guru
This summer, we talked about the BYU product’s close relationship with John Beck. The quarterback trainer has mentored many of the NFL’s finest before entering the league and Wilson was a recent prize pupil.
Well, perhaps there’s some sort of disconnect with the Jets coaching staff because the youngster would prefer to spend his bye with Beck rather than LaFleur, Rob Calabrese and Matt Cavanaugh. “I’m excited, you know, I’m going to go work with my quarterback coach John Beck that I train with, he’s obviously super close with our staff as well so I’m excited to go and just work on some of the things that I feel like I can clean up.”
Now to be fair, this is not all that uncommon. The league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement requires four mandatory days off from team practices (including the weekend) according to head coach Robert Saleh. What you do with that four-day vacation is entirely up to you.
Family is also an important part of this decision, but the Jets QB did note that he chats with Beck on the side throughout the season, along with Steve Young and his family. At the end of the day though, he voiced that “no one really knows what [the team] goes through except for the people in [the] building.”
Dedication and hard work have never been issues with Wilson. When asked if the rookie could use a mental break, Coach Saleh said this: “It’s during the week too. [I tell him] ‘dude go home, enough is enough,’ but there’s always going to be a balance and he’s going to find it. He’s got to find his way, he’s got to find a routine, he’s got to find study habits, he’s got to understand how to filter what he’s seeing on tape [and] take what’s important versus what’s not.”
All this is true, but you still want Wilson to work on his rapport with his coaches and his teammates as well. There’s certainly a lot to improve on and it starts in New Jersey, not California.
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Draft Analyst Backs Wilson
Another prominent figure came to Wilson’s aid on Twitter after the offensive struggles in London, draft analyst Matt Miller.
“I think Saleh is right to point out that quarterbacks need time to develop — especially traits based guys like these two [Wilson and Josh Allen]. The key will be building a team around Wilson like they have in Buffalo — a collection of draft, trade and FA hits.”
These tweets came after Saleh made comments comparing the BYU product’s start to the Bills’ star quarterback. Miller also commended the job done by general manager Joe Douglas.
“I liked the 2021 Jets draft a lot,” he added, “think they have a start to a good foundation. Gotta keep hitting though while knowing when to be aggressive ([think] Diggs trade).”
Gang Green has a plethora of draft capital in the coming seasons with 14 selections to choose from in 2022 and more on the way after that. Douglas could even choose to trade a player like Jamison Crowder this season to acquire more picks if the team continues to lose games.
At the end of the day, Wilson knows the onfield product hasn’t been good enough, and hopefully some time away from New York can help his psyche. The rookie concluded that in the following remarks.
“My expectation for myself is to do better than this, my expectation for the team is to have won every single game just because I know that we can and I know that we have the ability to do that, but we also know that this is a process and just like you said, we’re getting better each and every week so that’s not something we can necessarily worry about or get down on ourselves for.”