New York Jets’ Zach Wilson ‘don’t need to be Tom Brady’ but must show progress – Reuters Sports News
FLORHAM PARK, NJ – A preview of what’s going on around the New York Jets:
1. QB Rating: Robert Saleh is a media-savvy coach who knows how to control the message, and that’s exactly what he tried to do with this comment about quarterback Zach Wilson: “He doesn’t have to be Tom Brady this year.”
It was an overstatement of saying it’s unfair to expect stardom in Year 2, even if he was the second pick in the 2021 draft.
Perhaps trying to contain outside expectations, which have been building amid a heavy offseason, Saleh provided a reality check at the end of the offseason. It may also have been advice to Wilson, who too often tried to play hero ball as a rookie.
“People forget he has a young attacking supporting cast,” Saleh said as the minicamp wrapped up. “His receivers are young, his backs are young, the O line is just gelling. It is Young.”
This led to Brady’s quote.
“Now if ends up being [Brady]it’s great, but it’s not what is expected of him,” Saleh said. “We expect him to keep climbing that mountain.”
Over four weeks of training, Wilson delivered some Tom Brady, with a bit of Brady Quinn mixed in. In other words, its performance ranged from very good to jerky.
According to the coaching staff, his decision-making, command and general sense of the progression-based passing system is significantly better than last season. He looks like a different quarterback from the rookie who was so overwhelmed at times that he wasn’t able to recognize his own mental errors. Now he doesn’t need coaches to tell him when he’s wrong; he knows it immediately. This shows a better understanding of the position.
On the other hand, Wilson is still missing too many routine pitches. That was a problem last season, when his shot completion rates from behind the line of scrimmage (74%) and from within 0-9 yards (62%) were the worst in the league, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. . Saleh called it a “difficult” rookie year. Coaches believe those numbers will go up as Wilson improves his eye discipline, which is a fancy way of saying he needs to do a better job of getting his eyes in the right place at the right time. It’s at the top of her to-do list. A quarterback can’t afford to miss that many layups.
Do not worry. It’s only June, but Wilson’s level of consistency should increase as the year progresses. No one expects a miracle turnaround, but he has to be better than a 56% passer, his overall completion rating.
“I really have a lot of confidence in myself,” Wilson said. “Obviously I think I can be one of the best. If someone doesn’t say that, they’re not a real competitor.”
2. Unstoppable? The fans are excited about the team, as are the players. Speaking of the receiving corps, Elijah Moore said “there’s no way the teams can protect all three of us.” He thinks they have three potential WR1s, adding: “The way we’re going, the way we’re flowing, I just feel like it’s going to be unstoppable.”
You like enthusiasm, but let’s put the brakes on. The host body is very young. Corey Davis is a seasoned pro, but Moore (11 games) and Garrett Wilson (rookie) are developing players. The same could be said for running backs, Michael Carter (14) and Breece Hall (rookie). Four of their top five fullbacks/receivers are under 24. Same with the quarterback.
There will be growing pains.
3. Camp Wilson: In mid-July, Wilson and his receivers will gather at an undisclosed location for a few days of pitch-and-catch. It won’t be just work, no play. He said fun activities are planned.
4. Monetary position: The Jets are keeping their Mekhi Becton-George Fant plan close to the vest. Offensive line coach John Benton said it doesn’t matter who plays left tackle because the two tackle points are interchangeable. Easy for him to say; the amount of his salary does not depend on it.
The fact is that there is is a difference in positions when it comes to salary. The five highest-paid left tackles average $21.3 million per year; the five highest-paid right tackles average $18 million, according to Over The Cap. So even though Becton has said he’d be fine with a move to right tackle, you can bet he wants to stay put. He has two years left on his rookie contract, but his fifth-year option for 2024 must be decided by next May.
Fant, who has made it clear he prefers left tackle, is in contract talks for an extension. Perhaps this explains the team’s secret. It would give him more clout if he anoints the left tackle. It could also be a way to keep Becton motivated during the break for an impending left tackle competition.
It would be a defeat for the front office if Becton started on the right side. The Jets drafted him 11th overall in 2020, in part because they saw him as a potential franchise left tackle. It was, in their eyes, one of the factors that separated him from Tristan Wirfs, who they considered as a possible right tackle or guard.
Wirfs, picked 13th overall, is a right tackle, okay — an All-Pro right tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
5. Becton 2.0 turnaround? A final thought on Becton, who has six weeks to lose weight and get his body in shape for training camp: yes, there is frustration within the organization about his conditioning, but there is also has hope that he can bounce back and reach his potential, like he did. at the University of Louisville.
After two lackluster seasons, Becton took a leap forward when the Cardinals brought on a new coaching staff in 2019. That seemed to ignite his fire. As Saleh & Co. enter their second year, they’re pretty new to Becton, having only played one game for them in 2021.
Becton, planning to make haters “eat their words”, has already reached a pivotal stage in his young career.
6. Meet Mims: Another highly watched player in training camp will be receiver Denzel Mims. The feeling inside the building is that Mims, after a disappointing year, has turned the corner. The 2020 second-round pick is physically in a better place than a year ago, which bodes well for his chances of making the team.
Mims was drafted as a classic X (split end) receiver who, after the coaching change, was forced to learn all three receiver spots in a new scheme. It was a fit, and he struggled. Now it seems to buy. Unfortunately for him, it might be difficult to enter the pitch due to the upgrades in the position.
7. Remarkable under the radar: A handful of lesser-known players stood out in practice, including wide receiver Jeff Smith (caught one-handed TD in minicamp), tight ends Trevon Wesco and Lawrence Cager, fullback Nick Bawden, safety Jason Pinnock and cornerback Isaiah Dunn.
Keep in mind there was no contact, no running game, and no crash coverage (well, maybe a watered down version). June stars may fade in August. Tight ends coach Ron Middleton said it best. Referring to Cager, a converted receiver who made a lot of catches, Middleton said: “When we put the plastic on (the shoulder pads), that’s when you have to show that you belong.”
8. Gourmet preparation: When do NFL teams start preparing for their season opener? The Jets’ defensive coaches have already given their players a taste of the Baltimore Ravens, their Week 1 opponent.
The defense “faced” about 25 to 30 running plays from Baltimore during passing periods this offseason, according to defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. The Ravens have a unique running game, with quarterback Lamar Jackson and a wide range of away patterns. You can’t prepare for it in days, so the Jets started early.