The New York Jets brought in a brand new offensive staff this offseason.
Quarterback Zach Wilson has noticed a lot of key differences between the old regime and the new one and wasn’t shy about sharing those feelings during his media availability.
“Yeah, I think maybe just from a trust aspect of just really buying into what they’re saying,” Wilson explained on June 9 to the media. “I’m learning a lot from him [Nathaniel Hackett] and [Todd] Downing in the room. They’re doing a great job of our indy [individual] drills and applying it to the on-the-field work and I’m really enjoying those guys really knowing what they’re talking about. It’s very refreshing and fun for us.”
Wilson didn’t directly name members of the former coaching staff, but he made it fairly easy to read between the lines.
Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic documented the frustrating and complicated relationship between Wilson and former offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur on January 19.
Hole in the Jets Initial Plan for Zach Wilson
Gang Green wiped the slate clean during the 2021 offseason. The old coaching staff was kicked out and Robert Saleh and company replaced them.
One of the key decisions made by Saleh came on the offensive side of the ball. Instead of bringing in a slew of guys that had done the job previously, he chose to swing for the upside.
That plan was built around offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. He was considered a prodigy that had learned a ton under Kyle Shanahan. However, he had never called plays before being hired by the Jets.
In addition to a first-time play caller, Saleh hired three first-time position coaches:
The Jets were hoping to pair all of this youth with someone who has been around the block in Greg Knapp. He was hired with over 24 years of NFL experience and was brought in to oversee the offensive operation.
He tragically died on July 22 after being hit by a car while riding a bike in California.
The Jets didn’t have a great plan to replace that glue on the team and the inexperienced offensive staff struggled mightily throughout the 2021 season.
Zach Wilson Has Renewed Energy With Jets in 2023
Friday, June 10 was the first time Wilson has spoken to the media since the end of the season.
He was blunt when talking about the lack of fun he was having over the last two years. When things went bad, Wilson described it as a “snowball” effect and things would progressively get worse.
Now the pressure of being QB1 and the savior of the franchise is over, at least for the time being.
Gang Green shocked the NFL world by pulling off one of the biggest trades in history when they acquired veteran passer Aaron Rodgers.
With Rodgers here for at least 2023 and maybe more, he will be the main man in the spotlight. Wilson will be forced to adjust to a new role as an understudy and QB2.
It is still incredibly early, but it seems like it is off to a roaring start.
Rosenblatt of The Athletic said he seems to be “handling the demotion well” and has fully embraced the opportunity to “learn from Rodgers.”
He noted that isn’t necessarily a guarantee that Wilson will evolve into the franchise quarterback the Jets were originally hoping for when they selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2021. However it “can’t hurt” to have a four-time NFL MVP big brother to learn from.