Zach Wilson had an up-and-down year, but he still showed he can be the New York Jets’ franchise QB – specifically through these 10 plays
A rollercoaster season: that’s possibly the best way to describe Zach Wilson’s 2021 campaign.
The New York Jets’ rookie quarterback started the season hot against the Panthers, cooled down after facing Bill Belichick, and finished strong after coming back from injury.
Wilson’s early-season struggles were a mystery.
It was hard to figure out why, exactly, Wilson was struggling. There was no rhyme or reason: Wilson could go out and make the toughest throw with ease, but on the very next play, miss the easiest one.
More likely than not, Wilson entered a confidence funk after Bill Belichick got into his head in Week 2. It seemed he started to second guess everything – and his decisiveness ran out of the window.
It took Wilson time to get his moxie back, as he gradually improved after coming back from injury.
After being a turnover-prone player in his first five games, Wilson focused on limiting bad plays and “staying within the offense”.
Still, that robot-like thinking is not Zach Wilson’s game.
As much as Wilson needed to learn the offense and play within it, his best will always come on off-schedule plays. That’s where his talent shines the most. Wilson needed to find a middle ground.
By the end of the season, it seemed like Wilson was inching closer to his best. He finally showed the proper command of the offense and understood Mike LaFleur‘s goals with his playcalling on each down (simply, Wilson learned when he could be aggressive).
LaFleur’s willingness to often communicate with Wilson played an important role in Zach’s increased comfortability. Remember, the man stayed on the sidelines early in the season only because Wilson requested him.
Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur is up in the booth calling the plays today. He had been down on the sidelines because that's where Zach Wilson wanted him.
He may never be allowed on the sidelines again.
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) October 31, 2021
It is also important to notice how Wilson trusted his teammates more down the stretch. That made a huge difference, mainly because it stopped him from overthinking (thus, hesitating).
Wilson’s growth is proof of how time is always a factor. Only time can solidify relationships, and that’s what happened with Wilson, LaFleur, and his teammates.
By the end of the year, Zach Wilson finally looked like the New York Jets’ franchise QB.
Zach Wilson’s top 10 plays: Showcasing his processing ability
I selected my 10 favorite plays from Wilson this year.
Processing is the first criterion here. The play doesn’t need to be sexy. It’s Wilson’s football mind that is being evaluated.
Also, context and time are taken into account. Wilson made a few throws early in the season that became routine by the end of the year. Still, they deserve a spot in the top 10 because of what they represented then.
Have at it, Jets fans. The 10 Zach Wilson plays seen below were my favorite ones to break down in 2021: