The New York Jets’ ‘Zach Wilson’ does not have to be ‘Tom Brady’ but must show progress

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FLORHAM PARK, NJ – A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets:

1. QB evaluation: Robert Saleh is a media-savvy coach who knows how to control the message, and that’s exactly what he was trying to do with this comment about quarterback Zach Wilson: “He does not have to be Tom Brady this year.”

It was an exaggerated way to say that it is unfair to expect star status in year 2, even though he was the second choice in the 2021 draft.

Saleh may have tried to contain expectations from outside, which has grown in the middle of a rich low season, and provided a reality check at the end of the high season. It may also have been a message to Wilson, who all too often tried to play hero ball as a rookie.

“People forget he has a young offensive supporting cast,” Saleh said when the minicamp was completed. “His recipients are young, his back is young, the O-line is just jelly together. He is young.”

That led to the Brady quote.

“Now if ends up being [Brady]it’s great, but that’s not the expectation for him, “Saleh said.” The expectation is that he will continue to climb that mountain. “

Over four weeks of training, Wilson delivered something Tom Brady, with a little Brady Quinn mixed in. In other words, his performance ranged from very good to choppy.

His decision-making, command, and overall feel for the progression-based delivery schedule is significantly better than last season, according to the coaching staff. He looks like a quarterback other than the rookie, who at times was so overwhelmed that he was unable to recognize his own mental flaws. Now he does not need the coaches to point out when he is messing up; he knows it right away. It shows a greater understanding of the position.

At the back, Wilson still misses too many routine throws. This was an issue last season where his completion rates on throws behind the line (74%) and within 0-9 yards (62%) were the worst in the league, according to the NFL Next Gen Stats. Saleh called it a “hard” rookie year. Coaches believe these numbers will increase as Wilson improves his eye discipline, which is a smart way of saying he needs to do a better job of getting his eyes in the right place at the right time. It’s at the top of his to-do list. A quarterback can not afford to miss so many lay-ups.

Do not be alarmed. It’s only June, but Wilson’s consistency level should rise as the year progresses. No one expects a miracle turnaround, but he must be better than a 56% fit, his overall finish mark.

“I really have a lot of confidence in myself,” Wilson said. “Of course I think I can be one of the best. If someone does not say that, they are not a true competitor.”

2. Unstoppable? The fans are excited about the team and so are the players. Speaking of the receiving corps, Elijah Moore said, “there is no way teams should be able to guard all three of us.” He thinks they have three potential WR1s and adds: “The way we go, the way we float, I just feel like it will be unstoppable.”

You love the enthusiasm, but let’s hit the brakes. The receiving corps is very young. Corey Davis is an experienced professional, but Moore (11 games) and Garrett Wilson (rookie) develop players. The same could be said about running backs, Michael Carter (14) and Breece Hall (rookie). Four of their top five backs / receivers are under 24. Ditto, the quarterback.

There will be growing pains.

Camp Wilson: In mid-July, Wilson and his recipients will gather at an undisclosed location for a few days of pitch-and-catch. It will not be all work, no play. He said fun activities are planned.

4.Money position: The Jets keep their Mekhi Becton-George Fant plane close to the west. Offensive coach John Benton said it does not matter who plays left tackle because the two tackle spots can be replaced. Easy for him to say; the size of his payslip does not depend on it.

The fact is, there es a difference in positions when it comes to pay. The top five highest paid left tackles average $ 21.3 million a year; the five highest paid straight tackles average $ 18 million, according to Over The Cap. So even though Becton said he would be fine with a shift to the right tackle, you can bet he will stay. He has two years left on his rookie contract, but his fifth-year option for 2024 is to be decided in May next year.

Fant, who has made it clear that he prefers left tackle, is in the middle of contract negotiations for an extension. Maybe that explains the team’s secrecy. It would give him more leverage if he has anointed the left tackle. It could also be a way to keep Becton motivated during the break for a looming left-tackle competition.

It would be a defeat for the front office if Becton goes to the right. The Jets drafted him as No. 11 overall in 2020, in part because they saw him as a potential franchise left-handed tackle. It was in their eyes one of the factors that separated him from Tristan Wirfs, whom they envisioned as a right-wing tackle or possible guard.

Wirfs, who was selected as No. 13 overall, is a right tackle, okay – an All-Pro right tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

5.Becton turnaround 2.0? One last thought about Becton, who has six weeks to lose weight and get his body right for training camp: Yes, there is frustration in the organization over his conditioning, but there is also hope that he can rebound and reach his potential, which he did. at the University of Louisville.

After two dull seasons, Becton took a quantum leap when the Cardinals brought in a new coaching staff into 2019. It seemed to ignite his fire. Mens Saleh & Co. starting their second year, they are a bit new to Becton, who only played one game for them in 2021.

Becton, who plans to get haters to “eat their word,” has already reached a crucial stage in his young career.

6. Here comes Mims: Another highly scrutinized player in training camp will be wide receiver Denzel Mims. The feeling inside the building is that Mims, who is coming after a disappointing year, has turned around. The second round election in 2020 is physically a better place than a year ago, which bodes well for his chances of getting on the team.

Mims was designed as a classic X-receiver (split end), which after the change of coach was forced to learn all three receiver seats in a new scheme. It was an adjustment and he struggled. Now it looks like he’s shopping. Unfortunately for him, it can be difficult to get on the field due to the upgrades to the position.

7. Under-radar standouts: A handful of lesser-known players stood out in practice, including wide receiver Jeff Smith (one-handed TD catch in minicamp), tight-ends Trevon Wesco and Lawrence Cager, back Nick Bawden, safety Jason Pinnock and cornerback Isaiah Dunn.

Remember, there was no contact, no running games and no bump-and-run coverage (well, maybe a watered-down version). June stars may fade in August. Tight ends coach Ron Middleton said it best. Referring to Cager, a converted wideout who made many catches, Middleton said, “When we get the plastic on (shoulder pads), it’s when you have to show that you belong.”

8. Ravenousprep: When do NFL teams start preparing for their season opener? The Jets’ defensive coaches have already given their players a taste of the Baltimore Ravens, their opponent in Week 1.

The defense “met” about 25-30 running games from Baltimore during review periods during the offseason, according to defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. The Ravens have a unique running game with quarterback Lamar Jackson and a wide variety of gap schedules. You can not prepare for it in a few days, so the Jets got started early.

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