It’s Aaron Rodgers followed by Zach Wilson on a key leaderboard
One of the most difficult skills for rookie NFL quarterbacks to grasp is the ability to limit turnovers. New York Jets fans know this well. From Mark Sanchez to Geno Smith to Sam Darnold, the Gang Green faithful have witnessed all too many game-changing blunders from their young passers over the years.
The Jets’ newest appointed savior, Zach Wilson, also dealt with turnover woes early in his career. Through his first five starts, Wilson led the NFL with nine interceptions and trailed only Trevor Lawrence (10) in total turnovers.
Most young quarterbacks need a year or two to get the turnover bug out of their system. Not Wilson, it appears. The BYU product has wasted no time making significant improvements to his ball security.
Over his last six appearances, Wilson has only three turnovers, tossing two picks and losing one fumble.
Those numbers put Wilson in elite company.
Here are the league’s best protectors of the football since Week 6, based on turnovers per game (out of 32 quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts):
- Aaron Rodgers, 0.11 (1 in 9 games)
- Zach Wilson, 0.50 (3 in 6 games)
- Russell Wilson, 0.57 (4 in 7 games)
- Tied – Kirk Cousins, 0.70 (7 in 10 games)
- Tied – Carson Wentz, 0.70 (7 in 10 games)
It’s Aaron Rodgers and then it’s Zach Wilson. Not too shabby. Russell Wilson joins them as the only other quarterback with under 0.6 turnovers per contest since Week 6.
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Now, a little more context would certainly be useful here, as it has to be noted that Wilson did only throw 10 passes in one of those six games – the Week 7 game against New England in which he left early with a knee injury. Obviously, that helps him out in a per-game stat.
But even when you contextualize things by looking at turnovers on a per-play basis, Wilson still ranks in the same spot.
Here is a look at the top quarterbacks based on turnover rate – the percentage of all plays (pass attempts, rush attempts, and sacks) in which the quarterback either threw an interception or lost a fumble.
- Aaron Rodgers, 0.28% (1 of 352)
- Zach Wilson, 1.55% (3 of 193)
- Russell Wilson, 1.57% (4 of 254)
- Kirk Cousins, 1.81% (7 of 386)
- Davis Mills, 1.95% (5 of 256)
Looking merely at interceptions, Wilson has the third-lowest interception rate (percentage of pass attempts resulting in an interception) since Week 6:
- Aaron Rodgers, 0.32% (1 of 312)
- Ben Roethlisberger, 1.25% (4 of 320)
- Zach Wilson, 1.26% (2 of 159)
- Kirk Cousins, 1.44% (5 of 348)
- Trevor Lawrence, 1.63% (6 of 368)
Wilson’s ball security puts him in exclusive company among Jets rookies. He has thrown one or zero interceptions in eight consecutive games – a new franchise record for rookie quarterbacks. The previous record was seven games, set by Joe Namath in his 1965 rookie season.
There is a long way for Wilson to go before he fulfills his potential, but he has shown a lot of noticeable progress throughout his rookie season, particularly when it comes to protecting the football.