The New York Jets may not be totally finished with Zach Wilson even after a disastrous second season that saw him start the year injured and later lose his job to third-string quarterback Mike White.
The Jets have no plans to move the 2021 No. 2 overall draft choice in the offseason, the NFL Network reported Sunday. The organization reportedly views the former BYU standout as “an incredibly hard worker, a good teammate and very smart.” The team allegedly believed he “handled his demotions well” and kept working with the goal of getting better in mind.
Wilson started the season on the mend when he suffered a knee injury in the preseason. He got his first start in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and had a touchdown pass and two interceptions. He would break out against the New England Patriots in Week 8 with a 355-passing-yard performance with two touchdowns and three interceptions in a loss.
His year took a rocky turn after the team only mustered three points in a Week 11 loss to the Patriots. He completed only nine passes for 77 yards during the game. He took incredible heat afterward for failing to take responsibility for the loss and was subsequently benched for White.
When White broke his ribs against the Buffalo Bills, Wilson got a chance to play against the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars but didn’t win either game.
In between that, Jets coach Robert Saleh bemoaned the pressure quarterbacks face to perform as soon as they hit the NFL.
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“The frustrating thing is that this kid’s going to be a good quarterback,” Saleh said after a loss to the Lions. “The NFL and this new instant-coffee world that we’re in just does not want to give people time. So, we look at him, and he is just nitpicked with a fine-tooth comb, everything he does, and rightfully so. It is what it is. He did a lot of really good things, so we’re going to try our best to focus on the things he did good and make sure that we kind of bring that to life, and we’ll continue to work on the things he needs to improve on.”
If this season’s any indication, sometimes it behooves an organization to wait and see with a quarterback. Geno Smith has been the best example of that.
He was thrust into a starting role with the Jets in 2013 and barely got two seasons as the starting quarterback before he was benched. He ended with the New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers before he joined the Seattle Seahawks and made his way back to the starting role. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2022 after throwing 27 touchdown passes with 3,886 yards.
Wilson still has two years left on his rookie deal.
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