Zach Wilson has weapons. Now it’s time for him to shine

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Sam Darnold entered his second season with the Jets coming off an encouraging conclusion to his rookie year, but also saddled with obvious reasons as to why 2019 wouldn’t be the year he would take the next step.

New York’s wide receiver room was putrid beyond Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. Le’Veon Bell seemed poised to make an impact in his first year with the team, but turned out to be a shell of his former self. The offensive line was horrendous. To make matters worse, Darnold was learning his second offense in as many years after the hiring of Adam Gase. Darnold never complained or placed blame on anyone but himself, but the odds were stacked against him from jump street.

Now Zach Wilson is entering his second season in the NFL. The difference is he doesn’t have any excuses not to take the next step.

The Jets haven’t failed Wilson like they failed Darnold — although Darnold contributed plenty to his downfall on his own. Joe Douglas has beefed up Wilson’s offensive line through free agency and the draft. He has gotten him an assortment of weapons in the backfield and split out wide, too. If Wilson falls short, it won’t be because of his receivers not having the talent to get open or his running backs not being able to hit a hole.

Just look at what Douglas accomplished for Wilson this offseason alone. The GM spent the big bucks to land Laken Tomlinson to fill a major hole at guard. He fixed the tight end room by signing Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah and drafting Jeremy Ruckert. He picked Garrett Wilson in the top 10, raising the ceiling of a wide receiver room that already featured Corey Davis and Elijah Moore.

Heck, Douglas tried to shock the NFL by pursuing Tyreek Hill — and he was on the verge of pulling a trade off until the Dolphins got involved.

Coaching can’t be a scapegoat for Wilson, either, as he is well-versed in Mike LaFleur’s scheme now. LaFleur got better and better as his first season as a play-caller progressed. He is where he needs to be as an offensive coordinator at this point. Wilson just needs to follow his lead.

The Jets have a real chance to take a step forward in 2022, but that will not happen if Wilson doesn’t take care of business on his end. Now is the time for him to take advantage of the weapons he has and prove that he truly can be the face of the franchise.

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