Zach Wilson looking forward to his first bout with Mac Jones, Patriots

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Bill Belichick’s record against rookie quarterbacks is well-known. He’s 21-6 in his 21 years with the Patriots and his defenses chew up and spit out first-year passers yearly.

None of that appears to phase 22-year-old Zach Wilson, though. He’s seen the Patriots play in all nine of Belichick’s Super Bowl appearances and sounds more excited than anything to face one of the most historic franchises in NFL history for the first time in Week 2.

“It’s super cool,” Wilson said Thursday. “You think of the New England Patriots your whole life – my whole life – and how many Super Bowls they’ve won and how many they’ve been in. Obviously, the team is a little bit different now that Tom [Brady is] not there, but Bill Belichick’s still there and that dude’s one of the best coaches around.

“It’s tough. He does a good job. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.”

Wilson specifically pointed out how disciplined the Patriots are as a team and how they’re good at a lot of different things. He wisely refused to admit which aspects of the Patriots defense worried him the most, but Wilson maintained his respect for such a well-run and well-coached team.

“I’m excited for it,” he said. “I think it’s gonna be a great challenge for me. Tons of great learning, I’m sure. Also just, these guys are in our division so we’re going to be playing them a lot.”

Wilson, who will go up against fellow rookie QB Mac Jones, will be without starting left tackle Mekhi Becton. The Jets placed the pillar of their offensive line on injured reserve after Becton dislocated his knee cap in Week 1. The Jets’ offensive line gave up six sacks even with Becton for most of New York’s Week 1 game. His absence should only make things harder.

Belichick’s history against rookie quarterbacks cannot be denied either. Nor can his 10-game winning streak against the Jets. The Patriots also haven’t gone 0-2 since 2001 – the year Belichick won his first Super Bowl as a head coach.

However, all six of Belichick’s losses against rookies came on the road, which is where the Patriots will be in Week 2 against the Jets at MetLife Stadium. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was the last rookie passer to defeat Belichick, doing so in Week 15 last season. Two other Jets rookies beat Belichick: Mark Sanchez in Week 2 of the 2009 season and Geno Smith in Week 7 of the 2013 season.

Wilson just wants to win his first game in the league, though.

“A win in this league is so valuable and they’re hard to come by,” Wilson said. “I’ve already started to realize that record doesn’t matter. If a team is 0-14 or undefeated it does not matter. This is the NFL and everyone’s gonna be good. It’s a big win for us if we get there.”

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How did Zach Wilson's NFL debut compare to other rookie quarterbacks?