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Zach Wilson goes off in New York Jets’ final pre-Giants practice

Zach Wilson had a good training camp practice on Thursday as he prepares for the NY Jets' preseason game against the NY Giants to open 2021.
Zach Wilson, NY Jets, Getty Images

Zach Wilson looks ready for New York Jets’ preseason opener

Zach Wilson enjoyed a crisp day of football on a scorching Thursday afternoon in northern New Jersey. He found a consistent rhythm as the New York Jets made their final preparations for Saturday’s preseason opener against the New York Giants.

Corey Davis was a fixture yet again. The big-money wideout has been dominant throughout the entire week. Blessuan Austin is having major trouble with him.

Overall, Wilson’s consistency throughout the afternoon was strong. He went 4-of-5 in an 11-on-11s period in which the only incompletion was a drop by Tyler Kroft. On the day, he went 18-of-27.

It’s great to see Wilson have eye-popping days like Thursday, but it should be kept in mind that he does not necessarily have to record great numbers on paper to have a great practice.

Some incompletions or “bad” moments in practice can be great learning experiences that will teach him a lot. Some completions could be routine reps that teach him nothing. Just looking at his stats does not tell us anything about how much better he is getting at the sport.

All that matters is whether Wilson is going about his business the right way and establishing a healthy developmental routine that features a good work ethic and a willingness to learn from mistakes.

As Wilson himself said yesterday, he is trying throws in practice that he knows for sure he wouldn’t attempt in a game because he is testing the waters of what he can and cannot get away with. That’s what practice is all about – challenging yourself to improve, not putting up good stats to appease people on the outside.

With all of that being said, Wilson’s impressive output on the practice field is certainly a pleasant sight for Jets fans. It sure beats seeing the opposite.

However, when Wilson does thrive on the practice field, it is important to evaluate his strong performances from a process standpoint, not a production standpoint. Forget the numbers – is he  doing things that can help him achieve sustainable success in real-game action?

Wilson has been consistently checking the “eye test” box. It is clear as day that his smooth, swift release is a legitimately special trait that will help him execute quick throws at a highly efficient level once the regular season arrives.

Robert Saleh revealed that Wilson will play “about a quarter, a couple of series” against the Giants on Saturday. Big Blue’s Daniel Jones will not appear in the contest.

Kicking update

Matt Ammendola had seemingly been gaining a lead over Chris Naggar in the Jets’ kicking competition, but the SMU rookie has caught back up to the Oklahoma State product with back-to-back even kicking sessions.

Both kickers followed up a 4-for-4 performance on Tuesday with a 3-for-4 performance on Thursday. Ammendola was good from 33, 40, and 48 yards while missing from 55. Naggar was good from 33, 40, and 55 yards while missing from 48.

Ammendola is on record with 14 makes and two misses (87.5%) in four reported kicking sessions since joining the Jets. Naggar has 15 makes and five misses (75.0%) in five sessions.


Alijah Vera-Tucker is all but guaranteed to miss Saturday’s game, but Saleh says his status is “more day-to-day” and nothing serious. Elijah Moore‘s status is up in the air after he left Thursday’s practice with a quad injury.

Braxton Berrios is also out on Saturday with a groin injury.

Quinnen Williams will not play but is expected to be back next week in time for the team’s second preseason game against the Packers.

Other notes

The Jets shook things up and had Carl Lawson move over to the left side on the defensive line on a few snaps, giving Mekhi Becton a little bit of a break.

Jeff Smith made some noise. In addition to the touchdown referenced earlier, he drew a pass interference penalty on Zane Lewis.

Jason Pinnock has not generated as much hype in recent days as other young cornerbacks such as Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols. He put himself back on the map with an interception off of James Morgan.

Michael Carter II also made some noise after being outshined by Javelin Guidry in recent days. (at least in terms of highlight plays). He broke up a pass intended for Jamison Crowder on a wheel route and positioned himself for an interception off of Wilson in red-zone drills, although he dropped it.

Hall continued his excellent camp with two pass breakups against Corey Davis.

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