Jets acknowledge need for #2 wide receiver to complement Garrett Wilson’s success

Jets need to find receiver to complement Garrett Wilson
East Rutherford, NJ — November 24, 2023 — Garrett Wilson of the Jets catches a TD in the second half as the Miami Dolphins defeated the NY Jets 34-13 at MetLife Stadium on November 24, 2023 in East Rutherford, NJ to play in the first “Black Friday” NFL game.
Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

As top receivers go, the New York Jets have one of the best young pass catchers in the game today. 

The problem is they have little else around them. 

Garrett Wilson’s NFL career has been a roller-coaster, to say the least. He’s on pace to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with three different quarterbacks in each year. In 2023, he recorded 64 catches for 695 yards and three touchdowns. All for a team that may not have a 2,000-yard passer by the end of the regular season. 

Garrett Wilson, Jets look for offensive changes
New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson runs for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

New York’s offensive struggles are well known due to losing Hall-of-Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers to an Achilles injury in Week 1 and being decimated by the injury bug along the offensive line. If there’s been one constant though, it has been the play of Wilson. The reigning offensive rookie of the year has been the most consistent weapon the Jets have had this season – despite the win-loss record not being where the receiver wants it to be.

“I feel like it’s my job to how to do my job to the best of my ability to help us reach our team success,” Wilson said Friday. “The reality of the situation is that I play a position where it takes a lot of us. I can’t guarantee anything but I feel we have a good shot to win somehow.”

The bigger issue the Jets have on offense, outside of the obvious quarterback and offensive line problems, happens to be that the team does not have a quality second option to take the pressure off of someone like Wilson. As the Jets enter Week 13, tight end Tyler Conklin is second on the team in receiving with 420 yards. There is no other wide receiver on the roster with over 300 yards receiving yet this year. 

That’s something that will need to change going into the stretch run of the 2023 season.

“It can come from anywhere,” head coach Robert Saleh explained. “We’ve got guys here that we think are capable of it. We just have to continue to find ways to develop them, it’s an exciting time for the three undrafted rookies that we’ve got who are being thrust into the action to see if one of them can emerge over these next six weeks. So, there’s a lot of things to be excited about, but it is critical to find a number two option to relieve him of some pressure.”

Finding a second receiving option doesn’t necessarily mean that a receiver will NEED to step up though. With multiple undrafted free agents like Xavier Gipson, Jason Brownlee, and Irv Charles all expected to get more playing time, it could be a chance for the Jets offense to utilize other parts of their roster. 

“Garrett (Wilson) already garners a lot of attention,” Saleh added. “The number two can come in many forms. It can come in the form of run game, it can come in the form of the tight ends, backs out of the backfield in the passing game.”

New York currently has the 27th-ranked rushing attack this season. It, like almost every offensive statistic this year for the Jets shows that the lack of a true passing threat has made the group among the worst in modern history. 

For a player like Wilson though, there are reasons not to be discouraged. Gang Green is in the middle of welcoming Aaron Rodgers back to practice from his Achilles injury. So long as Wilson keeps his head down and continues to play at a high level, it will be a clear sign that the receiver knows things can and will be different once the Hall-of-Famer is back on the playing field.

“I feel like we’ve got a good group and no one has had the production or plays they want to make this season,” Wilson told AMNY. “That’s what happens when you’ve had the struggles we’ve had on offense. Hopefully these last six weeks we can put it all on the field and show our true ability.”

Until Rodgers is back though, Wilson will continue to get some of the tougher assignments in the NFL for the last month of the season. Allen Lazard is expected back to the active roster after a healthy scratch last week in Miami. 

The Jets may have hoped Lazard would have become the team’s #2 option, but that has yet to happen this season.

Until the $44 million receiver turns his career around in Gang Green, it looks like it’ll be more of the same for New York’s struggling offense. 

New York Jets wide receiver Allen Lazard (10) holds onto the ball before being taken down by Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Ja’Sir Taylor (36), in the fourth quarter, Monday, November 26, 2023.© Kevin R. Wexler / USA TODAY NETWORK

And that will only increase the eyes on Wilson’s performance in the last month of the year.

For more New York Jets news, turn to AMNY.com