The times are great for the New York Jets! 5-2 as they head into the biggest game against the Patriots in close to 7 seasons! Not more you could ask for...right?
I didn’t care much about the record heading into this season to be completely honest. I just wanted to see improvement from Zach Wilson. It’s a QB league and seeing him take the next step would be massive for the future of the franchise.
Right now? That step has not been taken.
Context matters of course: last season he did not have many weapons and 2022 started with a knee injury sustained in the preseason. These stats also matter. Ranking 32nd among qualifying QBs in PFFs QB grades is not great. His 48.6 QBR is not as bad, ranking 21st in the NFL. That's in front of Aaron Rodgers, Russ, Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan and Mac Jones.
At points he still shows the athleticism everyone saw at BYU:
However, the Jets told him to be more careful with scrambling after the knee injury. Maybe that’s just for this season? But it was immediately mentioned on the TV broadcast yesterday after the run above.
Yesterday, Zach was not great. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering the Broncos defense may be elite:
The pressure was insane:
And we know he struggles under pressure:
The “under pressure” stat is not made equally. Due to injuries throughout the offensive line, it’s often not one guy pressuring Zach Wilson, but 2-3. Easier to avoid one pass rusher, but 2-3? Impossible.
I’m still a believer in Zach. Unfortunately, I don’t have the best track record when it comes to Jets QBs. I believed in Mark Sanchez and Sam Darnold for way too long. That being said, it’s too early to write off Zach Wilson. 17 games in the NFL (not in a row) is not a big enough of sample. He’s still progressing and very young. You could point to say a Josh Allen and show how he struggled in his first 17 games, but that’s survivor bias. How many guys struggled in their first 17 games and became lifelong backups? A lot.
For now, we have to believe. That’s what being a fan is. We know it’s an uphill battle for Zach and the challenge just became harder with Breece Hall out for the season, but his mindset on it all seems sharp.