It’s been a very uneven rookie campaign for Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. There is a lot of pressure on the young man’s shoulders. Not only is he the starting quarterback in the top media market in the country, let alone the world, he is piloting a franchise known for breaking rookie quarterbacks.
Sam Darnold. Geno Smith. Mark Sanchez. They have all come and gone mostly with a whimper as Jets’ quarterbacks.
As talented as Wilson is, he admitted this week that he is “overthinking” on his throws in game action. Wilson has quickly built a reputation as a student of the game. Head Coach Robert Saleh and Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur have noted that Wilson keeps his head in the books per say by constantly studying his own tape. Unfortunately the results aren’t there yet.
The Jets sit at 1-4, and Wilson leads the NFL with nine interceptions and is ranked 31st in the league in quarterback rating at 23.9.
Robert Saleh preaches patience with Zach Wilson ⌛ pic.twitter.com/NhQIuV7Rjk— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 13, 2021
According to Jets beat writer Rich Cimini, Wilson has completed only 61 percent of his passes that are 10-yards or less, which is ranked 27th in the League. By comparison, another rookie, Mac Jones has completed 77 percent of his short passes.
In sum, Wilson has certainly seen first hand what the slings and arrows of life as a rookie in the National Football League is like.
“I would just say I’m overthinking them,” Wilson said Tuesday. “I would just say, to an extent, I’m aiming the throw rather than just throwing it, like I’ve always done my whole life. […] I just have to throw it and rip it.”
Keep in mind the Jets are in a full rebuild, and have a rookie quarterback learning the ropes along with a rookie offensive coordinator in LaFluer, age 34, and a rookie head coach in Saleh.
Fans have called into question the play-calling of LaFluer already this year, especially the usage of speedy receivers Elijah Moore, who hasn’t seen much time on the field, and Denzel Mims, who has spent most of his time this season on the pine.
It’s going to take time. Patience – at times – can be a virtue.