Zach Wilson has been a terrible quarterback since the Jets took him with the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but horrific performance is far from the biggest problem now. Teams have an immense amount of patience when it comes to bad quarterback play, assuming the player is still growing, they’re well-liked, and most importantly that they take accountability for their actions.
It’s that final element for Wilson that’s crumbling under pressure, and it’s going to kill his career if he doesn’t step up and admit that he’s been sucking. On Sunday night, after a pathetic 9-for-22, 77 yard passing game, which was 100 percent his fault, Wilson was pointing fingers at ... the weather.
On multiple occasions in his post-game press conference Wilson wanted to remind reporters that it was windy on the field. That the wind caused the ball to get away from him, that it was difficult to throw in the wind, and that it was “windy as hell.” While certainly true there were blustery 17 mph cross winds in Foxboro on Sunday, Wilson was blowing nothing but hot air.
“I think you have to take into account it's windy as hell out there too, guys,” Zach Wilson said after the #Jets loss.— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) November 21, 2022
Noodle-armed Mac Jones, with far less talent around him, completed 23 of 27 passes (85.2 percent) for 246 yards in the same conditions.
In the second half Wilson was so ineffective that the Jets would have been better served without a quarterback at all. Coming back from halftime he was functionally useless on the field, throwing 4-for-10 for 12 yards. Then, when asked whether he felt like the offense let down the defense, which held New England to three points before their game-winning punt return, Wilson offered a single word in reply.
Wilson is the leader of this team, and the focal point whether he likes it or not. It doesn’t matter if he’s 22-years-old, or 32, or if he has a championship ring or not. Time and time again we’ve seen that handling adversity in the NFL is more important to team unity and progression than anything else. While Wilson was terrible explaining himself to the media, it might have been worse behind the scenes. Wilson rubbed his teammates the wrong way with his attitude in the locker room following the Jets’ loss, according to SNY.
Wilson’s stance at the postgame news conference wasn’t just to spurn the media. Sources inside the Jets’ losing locker room told SNY that Wilson was walking around after the game “like he isn’t the problem.” It rubbed more than a few the wrong way, frustrating several others.
If you watch post-game interviews with other Jets players you hear anger in their voices. Emotion. Frustration at playing poorly, and looking like a joke. Meanwhile Wilson is taking the podium like Teflon, blaming the wind and insisting he isn’t the problem. Then you see clips like this and they defy belief.
I'm out on Zach Wilson after seeing this one.— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) November 21, 2022
Wide. Open. Denzel. Mims. Touchdown. Missed. pic.twitter.com/wd2lxee73G
This is quarterbacking 101. We’re not talking about some wild, advanced pass that only Patrick Mahomes could pull off. This was blown coverage, Wilson had a clean pocket, Denzel Mims could have walked in for an easy touchdown ... AND WILSON WAS LOOKING RIGHT AT HIS RECEIVER!
I’ve seen young quarterbacks miss reads, or fail to see an open target because they’re responding to pressure and not looking downfield — but I can honestly never recall seeing a quarterback with an obviously open receiver for a sure-fire touchdown, and choose to ignore the throw. Wilson tucked and ran instead, gaining six yards.
So, when you juxtapose this with Wilson saying the offense didn’t let down the defense? What planet are you living on my dude, because it sure as hell isn’t earth. Rex Ryan ripped Wilson’s lack of accountability on Monday morning as well, and he was spot-on.
Rex Ryan also with some strong comments about Zach Wilson pic.twitter.com/KgfKV49olq— Antwan V. Staley (@antwanstaley) November 21, 2022
“This guy isn’t close to Mark Sanchez” is both a hell of a line, and absolutely true.
Part of this is on the Jets. It was obvious to anyone who saw Wilson play at BYU that he was going to be a project. He spent the majority of his college career beating up on garbage teams and stuffing his stat sheet against terrible competition. There were pro tendencies there, but the NFL was never going to come quickly and easily to him. Robert Saleh and the Jets named him starter in his first year, deciding to throw him to wolves — and that’s rough. However, since that point there’s been absolutely no improvement or progression in Wilson’s play. He’s still the same mediocre, doe-eyed quarterback who makes bad decisions with the football, responds to pressure poorly, and is far too comfortable tucking the ball and running instead of taking a shot and trying to make a play with his arm.
At this point it’s hard to see how this turns around. If reports are true that Wilson is rubbing his teammates the wrong way with his lack of accountability there needs to be a serious mea culpa and efforts to fix things — or this whole mess is over. It won’t turn Zach Wilson into a successful NFL quarterback, but it might repair fractures in the locker room created by the team’s “leader.” Of course, things aren’t looking great when Sauce Gardner is out here on Twitter liking tweets about how bad Wilson played.
Every player has growing pains as they adapt to the NFL, but Wilson needs to grow the hell up as well.