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Chris Simms dying on the hill of Jets QB Zach Wilson’s stardom

Chris Simms, Zach Wilson, 2021 QB Rankings, NY Jets
Chris Simms, Zach Wilson, New York Jets, Getty Images, Jet X Graphic

Simms is as stubborn as the most ardent of Zach Wilson lovers

Prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, Chris Simms topped the list of the Zach Wilson hype train artists.

While many liked Wilson’s athleticism, arm, and off-platform magic, Simms went a step further and said that the presumed No. 2 overall pick would be better than Trevor Lawrence, who many were calling the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck.

Jets fans were certainly hopeful that this would be the case. However, after a dismal rookie season brightened by slight rays of hope at the end, there was reason to be concerned. Simms, though, looked at the end of the year as a shining beacon of proof that Wilson was on the upswing.

Simms has continued to excuse and defend Wilson throughout his struggles, pointing to the Jets’ offensive line, lack of a run game, the game conditions, and pretty much anything else but No. 2.

In fact, after Robert Saleh decided to bench Wilson in favor of Mike White, Simms heavily criticized the move, saying that it was going to ruin Wilson permanently.

Following White’s pinpoint performance against the Bears, Simms has continued to insist that the Jets are ruining Zach Wilson. It was ironic to hear that adamant statement in the same sentence as the admission that Wilson likely would not have played as well as White.


Simms’s reaction is human but can damage his credibility as an analyst. He is far from the first draft prognosticator to fall in love with a quarterback and be wrong. In fact, of the last 15 quarterbacks drafted in the top five picks of the draft, only four of them (27%) have been legitimate hits. Many gurus liked those failed quarterbacks and hailed them as the next great thing.

It’s one thing to just move on without admitting that you were wrong, but to double and triple down with increasing desperation as the player fails shows a certain level of ego. This is true in all areas of life, not just in sports media.

There can be a debate about whether Mike White has enough upside to make it worthwhile to play him for the rest of the season. There may be room to question the decision to take Zach Wilson out without giving him one more chance against the worst defense he would have faced in many weeks. But there isn’t room to do so simply because of a refusal to admit that one could have possibly been wrong.

So adds to the list of national analysts who are taking controversial stands and possibly making fools of themselves. Others include:

  • Daryl Johnston saying on the Jets-Bears broadcast that the Jets’ defense is not championship caliber because they do not have any elite finishers like Aaron Donald, then doubling down even while saying that Quinnen Williams leads all interior defensive linemen in pressures
  • Richard Sherman calling Mike White a clear franchise quarterback

Lesson for life: be willing to admit when you are wrong. I’m writing my apology notes to Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich as I type.

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1 year ago

Zach Wilson could ultimately fail as a QB in the NFL, but anyone with any sense and who knows anything about football knows that it’s WAAAAAAAAAAAAY too early to write him off. You clowns at jetsxfactor are going to look ignorant when Zach proves you wrong. You don’t give up on a QB with the talent and work ethic that he has. He’s still only 21 years old. Your article is awful, as is your take on Zach. I’m going to laugh mass off when you all have to eat crow.

1 year ago

Since I agree w/ your take here on Simms (both of them), I’ll take aim at the Moose Johnston comments.
I often notice announcers say something that is inaccurate, realize it, then do mental gymnastics to make the erroneous point anyway (looking at you Tony Romo). This I think was the case w/ Moose.
Clearly, the Jets have some elite players on Defense; Sauce, Reed and Quinnen are the obvious ones. Based on win/pressure percentages I think a case could be made for Huff too. Moose should have just corrected himself and went on, he dug the hole deeper.

We may not be the Steelers of the 70’s or Bears of ’85, but we are getting there.

Matt Galemmo
1 year ago

I think I am still a Zach believer (or apologist as some would say) but I’m not blaming his play on factors other than his own fragile mentality and maturity. It’s all his problem. Nobody is ruining him, and benching him was probably the best thing the coaching staff could do. Maybe he gets the lesson, maybe he doesn’t. He can still be great. It’s not a talent problem. I even disagree with many that say it’s a mechanical problem, although I’m not sure. Even if there is a mechanical problem to overcome, I am confident the number 1 issue is mental, and there’s no way to know if he can ever get past it.

So yeah, I agree, Simms take is just stupid. You can’t objectively watch Zach play and not notice his manic crumbling.

1 year ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

I’ve been saying that the Jets are ruining Zach, pretty much since day one. MLF was NOT the right OC for Zach or any rookie QB. I don’t care that MLF was supposed to be having Greg Knapp looking over his shoulder and helping him. It was a bad decision and hire imo.I never wanted Saleh. I wanted Brian Daboll, and I don’t think that Zach would have had these problems with Daboll.

Jim G
1 year ago

I have been thinking about Chris Simms’s comments ever since Zach Wilson’s second New England game performance. I thought back to Simms’s lofty statements, including that he would draft Zach Wilson over Trevor Lawrence. Very few draft analysts thought that way. But the rookie seasons of both QBs left the “who’s better” question up in the air.

Chris Simms would be better off slinking off into the sunset on this prediction. He may be proved correct over the long term, but until that long term day arrives, if ever, I would remain silent. Remember the old saying “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.”

FWIW, Phil Simms was replaced as Giants starting QB twice by Scott Brunner & Jeff Hostetler. Didn’t seem to permanently damage his father’s career. I was (and remain) a huge Phil Simms fan and both times when he returned as starter he did so with a vengeance and proved his doubters wrong.

Jim G
1 year ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

Yes, Phil Simms was replaced when Ray Hanley, the anti-Christ, became Giants the head coach, I guess to put his imprint on the team. An epic fail for sure.

Replacing Zach Wilson was a decision based on merit, not psychology. Starting pitchers who are ineffective get pulled from the rotation. When they get their mojo back they rejoin the rotation. Robert Saleh came from programs in Seattle and San Fran which believed success breeds success. He is trying to implant that belief system on the Jets. What better way to implant that belief system than by playing the players who give you the best chance to win?

Rob Marotti
1 year ago

Should Chris Simms admit Zach has played badly up to this point? 100%

Should he have to “die on a hill” after 20 career starts from a 23 year old? Absolutely NOT. There is still plenty of time for Zach Wilson to become a great QB.

If he figures it out by the time he’s 25 and plays 15 years at a Pro Bowl level, is Chris Simms still dying on the hill?

Jonathan Richter
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Marotti

I have no problem giving Zach Wilson a few more years to figure it out, but not while the rest of the team is ready to go for a Lombardi. Zach can develop on the bench the way Aaron Rodgers did.