Outraged Jets Fans Call out Selective Reporting on Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson at training camp on July 30, 2021.

After the draft in April, the New York Jets were the talk of the league, and for once it was all positive headlines that were being written. Now that we’ve reached June, however, it appears things have begun to correct themselves as headlines have erupted based on a small portion of a recent practice.

To explain, we have to go back to the beginning. Zach Wilson displayed what beat reporter Connor Hughes described as expected “rust” at organized team activities (OTAs) on June 1 after the 22-year-old quarterback went “3-of-8 passing” during his first set of 11-on-11 drills of the offseason.

Members of the Jets beat appeared unconcerned by this early showing from Wilson and fans agreed. It’s June, after all, and the same NYJ reporters called the youngster “more decisive” the week before. DJ Bien-Aime of the New York Daily News even wrote that his “mental growth was evident” during the first round of media availability.

Despite all that, a member of the national media decided to run with a different narrative on Wilson — one that many Jets fans are tired of.

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Tweet Draws Ire of Fanbase

This recent social media feud all started with an article from Mike Kaye of Pro Football Network, but to be fair, it was NFL reporter Dov Kleiman that chose to be selective with his words after digesting Kaye’s OTA notes.

“Zach Wilson has struggled with accuracy in Jets OTAs, according to @mike_e_kaye,” voiced Kleiman. “Worth noting that as a rookie Wilson had the worse completion rate over expected. He was also second behind only #Bears Justin Fields in adjusted completion rate, per @PFF.”

The problem is, that was only a brief snippet of what Kaye wrote, and the majority of Kleiman’s 73,000-plus followers will most likely take his word for it. Here’s what the article actually said:

Are you buying or selling that Zach Wilson will make enough improvement for the Jets to be a more competitive team this season?

I got a close look at Wilson on Wednesday during OTAs at the team’s facility, and I came away with a shoulder shrug of sorts. Wilson got off to a rough start in team drills as his first four passes were as follows: a throw behind Corey Davis, a throw that hovered over everyone, a clear throwaway after being flushed out of the pocket, and another bad misfire.

That said, Wilson rebounded in his second round of 11-on-11 plays, making a trio of nice throws over the middle of the field. He also had some positive moments in the 7-on-7 period, as he continued to target wideouts near the sideline and commit to his chemistry with wideout Elijah Moore. He also had a nice touchdown pass in red-zone 7-on-7 to Ty Johnson.

Wilson only completed 55.6% of his passes last season and had a 9-to-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio as a rookie. Both of those stats are concerning, but Wilson seems to be a lot more confident this year. He wasn’t facing contact or really anything notable during the OTA workout, but he clearly looked the part in the huddle. He also kept his eyes down the field and flashed his trademark athleticism. That said, it was one workout out of 10.

Wilson isn’t at the point where he can raise the performances of others, and I think ultimately, that’s where the Jets want and need him to be.

Kaye added later in the section that “the recipe is there for Wilson to make a major jump” in year two, but that fans should “have tempered expectations” as the season progresses. A fair assessment.

For the record, the “hometown” reporting from Hughes was similar.

He stated: “Zach Wilson looked (as expected) rusty during his eight passes in those 11-on-11 drills. He missed Davis and Moore badly on his first two passes, then overthrew Berrios on a scramble drill. Rookie Garrett Wilson slipped on an out route, which is likely why Wilson’s next pass sailed wide to him. He finally connected on a 5-yard out to Moore, who beat corner D.J. Reed. Wilson was much better on his next set of passes, finding Moore and Berrios on intermediate routes. He then overshot Davis on a streak. Wilson finished practice 3-of-8 passing.”

Both were in attendance, Kleiman was not and it showed. Fans are less willing to tolerate this sort of selective reporting as the digital age expands, but misleading reports can still sway the masses and any observers that are waiting on Wilson to fail.

To the true Jets fans out there, know that he hasn’t, at least not yet.

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Jets Fans Know Better

This type of reporting may get by in another state but it won’t fly in New York. Fans quickly rallied to shoot down what many felt was a false narrative.

“Lol it’s June this is based off 4 passes and we haven’t seen what he has done every other day. Just stop,” commented one fan.

“Someone’s just looking for clicks,” said another, “[Wilson] then goes 2 for 3 then 5 for 6.”

A third response was really aggravated: “FOUR PASSES. FOUR DOV. What in gods name are you even doing?”

Another noted accurately: “Calling it OTAs after one practice seems like poor journalism… it’s an OTA.”

“LMAO, the hate for Wilson is out of control… he threw five passes,” replied another.

One fan was sick of this popular storyline on Wilson: “Jesus Christ, Dov. Give it up. This report is literally coming up [because] he went 1-5 in one drill lmao. This ragging on [Wilson] and not on any other rookie from last year is really getting old.”

There were countless responses supporting Wilson, but here is one final tweet: “Instead you write Clickbait crap but you don’t write this which is what he also said: However, after that initial set of misfires, the second-year QB found his groove, consistently hitting receivers over the middle.”

To his credit, the original writer, Kaye, even responded to add some important context.

“To clarify, this was one workout,” he admitted. “I’m not sure he’s struggled throughout, as they’ve only had one other open workout (I was elsewhere) and several other private ones. I thought he regained his footing after the first series, as I wrote.”

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