Timidity, along with the Denver Broncos, is Zach Wilson’s newest opponent in Week 3.
FLORHAM PARK, NJ—The coaching points Mike LaFleur dished out to the very coachable (by most accounts) Zach Wilson this week are painfully obvious—for anybody that dug into the film showcasing the New York Jets‘ miserable 25-6 home-opening loss to the New England Patriots.
- Ball security.
- Accepting small victories.
- Quicker decisions via progression.
Wilson’s four interceptions flipped the Jets’ script in such a sudden manner that it felt nearly fictional. From a rookie quarterback battling through horrid offensive line play down in the Carolinas, to the rest of the Jets significantly improving despite their rookie gunslinger choking it up in his MetLife Stadium debut, no two games could contrast more.
Not only that, but the rookie on the other sideline did exactly what Wilson needed to do against Bill Belichick’s suffocating and technically sound man-to-man coverage …
Graciously accept the small victories.
Granted, Jones had an easier go of it than No. 2. New York’s defense—although much more aggressive and fancy up front—played a bend-but-don’t-break coverage that’s been in tow since the Robby Anderson chunk touchdown in Week 1. Nonetheless, Wilson had plenty of opportunities to make New England pay in the short-passing game.
He just couldn’t take his eyes off the downfield prize.
Now, the once clear-headed risk-taker that usually allows his talents to do the talking is faced with an invisible opponent subtly attached to Vic Fangio’s talented Denver Broncos defense.
Many a young quarterback has dealt with timidity. Jets fans know it well.
From Sam Darnold’s brain often putting him in-between aggression and a safe-to-a-fault mentality, to Mark Sanchez’s color-coded wristband (as only Rex Ryan’s old-school defensive brain could construct), the highly-drafted Jets quarterback that wanted to attack has often lost confidence along the way.
It’s something that simply cannot happen in today’s high-flying, pass-heavy NFL. Yards, touchdowns and chunks are required. Calculated yet routine aggression is almost always rewarded.
Yet, Wilson’s fearlessness is now, at the very least, a question after head coach Robert Saleh told the world that it’s OK for his rookie quarterback to be “boring.”
“I don’t think it’s necessarily challenging,” Wilson told the media Thursday when asked about Saleh’s “boring” comment. “It’s just being smart with the ball and then understanding sometimes those situations in games. (For instance), there weren’t check-downs in some of those interceptions, right. It’s not just, ‘Hey, check the ball down.’ It’s, ‘Hey, be smart with the ball; how can you throw it away or get rid of it?’ That’s what I’m applying to this next week; it’s just trying to learn and get better.”
As Jets luck would have it, Wilson readies himself for one of the NFL’s top defenses.
The Broncos currently rank third in yards allowed (251.5), fifth in passing yards allowed (184) and fifth in points allowed (13) per game. Then again, Denver has yet to take on the 1984 San Francisco 49ers. The always-interesting New York Giants and already-somewhat disastrous Jacksonville Jaguars are anything but world-beaters.
Interestingly, the Broncos’ defense might present a halfway decent matchup for the Jets in this specific situation.
Fangio is a Cover 4 defensive mind, similar to Saleh. If LaFleur and Wilson search for the short game early, they just might be able to capitalize if the Broncos don’t come out in an aggressive manner.
At the very least, the BYU product’s words don’t ooze timidity.
“Super anxious. It’s kind of what the coaches said too, just excited to move on,” Wilson said when asked how anxious he was to get back on the field. “(The goal has been to) prepare for the next opponent, learn from all of our mistakes and just apply it for this next week; and that’s what the focus has been all week in practice.”
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) September 23, 2021
NY Jets Thursday injury report
- Jamison Crowder: Groin, DNP
- John Franklin-Myers: Calf, LP
- Jamien Sherwood: Ankle: FP
- Zach Wilson: Groin, FP
Jamison Crowder is in serious danger of missing his third-straight game to open the season. He remained in the rehab area of practice all of Thursday. Since he remained in the rehab area on Friday, bet the house that he’ll miss Sunday’s contest.
John Franklin-Myers returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday and looks ready to roll for Denver. Jamien Sherwood, the rookie who missed Week 2 via an ankle injury sustained in Carolina, also looked pretty good in practice and was a full participant.
Also of note was Braden Mann walking around on the practice field with a knee brace. Although he’s clearly nowhere near ready to play, the idea that he’s out there is a positive one.
#Jets Thursday practice notes:
-LB Sherwood looks good on the field (limited on Wednesday).
-WR Crowder in rehab area.
-DL JFM back after missing a day.
-P Mann walking on the field in a brace (not practicing, still on IR).
-Signed FB Nick Bawden, placed DE Blair on IR. pic.twitter.com/Y5vNdQKBRC
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) September 23, 2021
The interesting injury-report addition is Zach Wilson, who apparently banged up a groin in the loss to the Panthers. Saleh announced his situation earlier in the week.
By all accounts, it’s a mild strain that hasn’t held him back in the least.
NY Jets week of transactions (newest at top)
- Signed FB Nick Bawden to the PS.
- Sent EDGE Ronald Blair to IR.
- Re-signed S Sheldrick Redwine to the PS.
- Placed LB B.J. Goodson on the Reserve/Retired List.
- Signed OL Isaiah Williams to the PS.
- Signed S Adrian Colbert to the active roster.
- Released OL Isaiah Williams from roster.
The Nick Bawden addition is an interesting move considering fullback/tight end Trevon Wesco didn’t play much against the Patriots. That’s one to keep an eye on moving forward.
Signing safety Adrian Colbert made all the sense in the world after he put forth a solid effort against the Patriots last Sunday.
The New York Jets seek their first victory of the season in Denver when they take on the Broncos this Sunday. Kickoff is slated for 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS).