Jets OC Mike LaFleur Makes Brutally Honest Admission on Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson walks off the field after a loss in 2022.

New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur addressed the media on January 5 and in theory, it could be the final time he does so as a member of the organization.

It’s no secret that LaFleur is on the proverbial hot seat considering the lack of efficiency on offense. The Jets currently rank 27th in points scored per game, and offensive draft picks like Zach Wilson, Elijah Moore, and running back Michael Carter among others have seemingly regressed under this coaching staff.

LaFleur took ownership of that on the Thursday of Week 18, stating: “The execution has been off, and execution is coaching.” Going one step further, the Jets OC even made a brutally honest admission on how they first decided to handle Wilson as a prospect.

“In hindsight, it probably would have benefited [Wilson] just to sit back and learn a little bit, and watch a veteran [quarterback as a rookie],” LaFleur replied when asked about handing the BYU selection the starting job in 2021. “But again, that wasn’t the course that we went and from here, we got to pick it up. We got to pick up the scraps and get back to work.”

Mike LaFleur on Whether or Not He Should Be Fired

Credit the NYJ media members for going after LaFleur with the tough questions today because this presser was hard-hitting. Reporters actually dove into the topic of his job security and head coach Robert Saleh’s vote of confidence earlier this week. LaFleur didn’t shy away from the subject either, tackling it head-on.

“I appreciate [Saleh’s words] but when you sign up for this [job] at any level, you understand [that] this is a production-based business and you’re not going to run from that,” the play-caller voiced. “I grew up in a family of coaches. My dad’s been fired, my brother’s been fired, every coach is going to be fired at some point, and then [re-hired] — it’s just the cycle.”

He continued: “That doesn’t keep me up at night or put me to sleep, it doesn’t matter. What matters is these players and that last question of the execution part of it.”

Later, LaFleur declined to comment on why he’s the right man for this job moving forward. “My words don’t matter there, and I really mean that,” he explained. “I’m going to give everything I’ve got for these players and this organization, and that’s all you can do.”

“If that’s not good enough, so be it,” LaFleur pushed on. “You can walk into the building and walk out of the building with your head held high, knowing that you put [in] everything you can for these players. Again, I’m not going to try to advocate for [my job] one way or the other, I just know that we’re going to continue to grind until they don’t allow us to grind anymore.”

Mike LaFleur Insists That Zach Wilson Does Fit His Scheme

One other theory circulating Jets Twitter and social media is that Wilson is just not a fit for the offense LaFleur wants to run. After all, quarterbacks like Mike White and Josh Johnson have thrown for big yardage in this system and even Joe Flacco has had his moments.

At the same time, LaFleur’s staff hand-picked Wilson out of BYU — or so we were told.

LaFleur backed that latter theory on January 5, insisting that Wilson’s skill set is a great fit for his scheme. “At BYU, when we watched the tape, we all agreed he could sit in the pocket, hit his back foot and deliver the ball,” LaFleur responded. “He’s shown that he’s talented and he’s smart and he’s willing to work [hard], so I do believe he’s a scheme fit. I believe he’s a scheme fit for a lot of different offenses, so we got to continue to work and see what works best for him.”

As for Wilson’s confidence, which appeared to be shot in Week 16 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, LaFleur told reporters that the youngster is “man enough” to bounce back from that effort and any criticism from New York fans and/or media.

“He’ll have time to reflect and think about [the noise],” the coordinator concluded, “and how he’s going to stand up to it.”

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