The Zach Wilson Era Will Be Over Soon in New York

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Zach Wilson Era Will Be Over Soon in New York

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The Zach Wilson Era Will Be Over Soon in New York

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Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, many draft experts and pundits had high praises for New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. Former NFL quarterback and current NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms believed Wilson was the best quarterback out of his class which included Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

In an interview he did with Sky Sports back during July of 2021, Simms said this about Zach Wilson. “I love Zach Wilson. For my money he is the best quarterback in the draft,” Simms said. “He has a really special arm, he is a really good athlete, with great feet and he can scramble and extend plays. But, when he gets outside of the pocket, he doesn’t necessarily want to run, he wants to make a big throw and only runs if he has to.”

It’s a wonder if Chris Simms still believes Zach Wilson is the best quarterback in his draft class when Wilson makes plays like this.

Regardless of how the season ends for the New York Jets, Zach Wilson will not be the quarterback for the Jets in 2023. It’s year two and he hasn’t made any progress and that is troubling for someone who was taken second overall in the first round. Rarely have we seen teams give up on quarterbacks after their second year but the New York Jets should break that trend and move off Zach Wilson after this year. The Jets offense was abysmal on Sunday in their loss to the New England Patriots and Zach Wilson didn’t play well at all. His statline looked like this.

  • 9/22 passing completions
  • 77 passing yards
  • 26 rushing yards
  • Quarterback Rating (QBR): 19.6
  • EPA/per play: -0.31

The Jets defense played a flawless game in which they sacked New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones six times and got stops when they needed to. However, the Jets offense as a whole was terrible. Offensively, the numbers for the Jets stunk. 

  • 3 for 14 on 3rd down (Only converted 21%)
  • 103 total yards (only 2 yards in the second half)
  • Six first downs (second fewest in franchise history)
  • 59 yards rushing (26 of the yards came from Zach Wilson)

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh gave a blunt response for how the offense played in the second half.

After the game, Zach Wilson had an opportunity to make things right and own up to the bad offensive outing and take responsibility but instead he gave this answer when asked if the offense let the defense down.

New York Jets teammates also didn’t take kindly to Zach Wilson’s comments and some had a problem with how he carried himself after the loss. New York Jets defensive end John Franklin-Myers liked a tweet that compared how Josh Allen took responsibility for the Bills loss to the Jets and how Zach Wilson did the complete opposite.

New York Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner also joined in on the fun when he liked a tweet Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis put out when he criticized Zach Wilson.

Both Franklin-Myers and Gardner clarified on Twitter that they didn’t mean to like those tweets that criticized Wilson but I have skepticism about it.

Gardner tweeted “I swear I didn’t mean to like this tweet. I only found out because yall started tagging me. We gon’ be straight,” Gardner said on Twitter. “If I liked it purposely, I just wouldn’t have said anything. I always mistakenly like tweets on here, but y’all made sure y’all caught this one. Y’all toxic on here.” The tweets were later deleted.

Zach Wilson’s comments have brought some friction in the locker room because as the franchise quarterback you have to be mature and be able to own up to your failures when you play poorly. Wilson as a quarterback hasn’t made any strides either. His decision making is not good, when he is pressured statistically he is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league, and he is not scanning the field and going through his progressions. 

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Rarely have we seen a team surround a quarterback with quality talent and not improve with said talent. Look at Justin Fields in Chicago, his wide receiver room is not nearly as good as the Jets, his offensive line is also not really good, and he is making strides in his performance. You can make the same argument for Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville.

If the New York Jets had a chance to do a redo on the 2021 NFL draft, they wouldn’t draft Zach Wilson 2nd overall. Justin Fields would thrive in this Jets offense, you could make the case Mac Jones could do a better job as well. I do not believe Zach Wilson is a bust, he has talent but I believe people got misled by his last season with BYU. His stats looked good, but he benefitted from a COVID abbreviated schedule in which BYU avoided the PAC-12 and played against Group of five schools. The toughest team BYU played that season was Coastal Carolina from the Sun Belt conference and Wilson looked rough in that game. 

The Jets should look to move off Zach Wilson this offseason and acquire Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr. His contract is cap friendly and acquiring him wouldn’t cost the Jets more than a few second round picks. Acquiring someone like Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is more of a pipe dream at this point. 

I don’t believe drafting a quarterback is the option the Jets should explore because of draft position and overall waiting to see if the guy who they drafted is the franchise guy or not. Quarterback play is holding back the Jets from reaching their potential as a legitimate playoff threat and it’s been obvious for some time now. New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh didn’t commit to Wilson starting this upcoming Sunday against the Chicago Bears and that isn’t good news at all.

New York is talented enough to make the playoffs and do more than just that in future years, but with Zach Wilson under center this team will not go far. Come 2023, the Jets will have a signal caller under center and it shouldn’t be Zach Wilson. The Jets made a mistake and they need to own up to the mistake and move on. When your numbers look like this in year two, it’s best that a change is needed.

  • 35th in Completion Percentage (dead last out of the starting quarterbacks)
  • 34th in Touchdown to Interception ratio
  • 26th in QBR
  • 32nd in EPA/per play

The Jets must look to improve the quarterback position this offseason if they want to be a legit contender.



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