The Jets never expected to have to go back to Zach Wilson this quickly. Wilson himself probably didn’t expect it this quickly either. But now he’s back as the starting quarterback. One thing is for sure. His maturity level is much, much higher than it was last season.
It’s ironic that this week he is facing the Patriots. It was last season after the Week 11 Patriots game where the wheels fell off and Wilson practically deflected all blame from himself onto the rest of his team, seemingly turning the team against him and leading to the Jets turning to Mike White. Wilson discussed what he learned from that post-game incident during his media availability Thursday.
“Frustration, emotion, just things not going well, and as a quarterback, you have to understand that it’s on you, and you have to be able to be the guy who takes it, and it’s tough, and how can we just keep learning and getting better and always having each other’s backs,” Wilson said. “I think going forward, no matter what, I want these guys to know I always have their back.”
Fast forward to 2023: an offseason under Aaron Rodgers and with a veteran coach in Nathaniel Hackett, Wilson is back on the rise. Maybe not quickly, but he’s visibly better than last season.
“100% confidence in myself,” Wilson said about his confidence in his abilities. “As much as you want to get on yourself about making a mistake or whatever it is, you just have to keep learning, getting better, and trying to prove that you can do it.”
Still, he understands he is still working to earn the trust of the rest of his teammates.
“I think it is just trusting in the guys around me,” Wilson said. “I think it is more important to prove to the guys in the locker room that I can lead, I can be efficient, I can get the ball to our playmakers, and let those guys do what they are there to do.”
So far, he is doing that. Before the Jets turned to White in Week 12 last season, the locker room had basically turned against Wilson. They were more than supportive of Wilson following New York’s 30-10 loss in Week 2 to the Dallas Cowboys. That is a sign of Wilson’s growing maturity.
Wilson wasn’t perfect by any means Sunday. But he was far from the only reason the Jets lost. Wilson was 12/27 for 170 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, though they came when the Jets were pressing with the game just about out of hand anyway.
Wilson admitted that “regardless of the situation whether it was we’re up, we’re down, we’re losing, it doesn’t matter. You can’t give the ball to the other team, so that’s the message all around as a quarterback.”
Wilson is doing and saying all the right things. Now it’s a matter of going out and executing, especially in an almost must-have game for the Jets. It’s a chance to get to 2-1. including 2-0 in the division, end 14 games of misery against their hated rivals and send those same hated rivals to their first 0-3 start since 2000. It all starts with the new and more mature Zach Wilson.