New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh isn’t concerned about the minor groin injury that rookie quarterback Zach Wilson is dealing with ahead of their Week 3 meeting with the Denver Broncos on Sunday evening (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).
“He just woke up a little bit sore,” Saleh said. “Since they touched him in the training room, he has to go on the list. But it’s not a concern.”
The 22-year-old franchise-passing-hopeful is still expected to suit up on Sunday in an attempt to put a difficult showing against the New England Patriots last week in which he threw four interceptions firmly in the rear-view mirror.
“You look at his eyes. I judge whether or not a player has to come out based on the look in their eyes. He was fine,” Saleh said of Wilson’s mettle. “He was in great communication with the coordinator… At that point, it was let’s get him out there and get his reps and see if he can learn from all the different scenarios he’s being put in.
“It never got too big for him. He made a couple of mistakes… but a lot of growth was to be had in the fourth quarter.”
Denver poses quite a challenge though as they have one of the top defenses in the league through the first two weeks of the season after wins over the Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars.
For the Jets offense to find success, Saleh once again mentioned how Wilson needs to play “boring football” — a sentiment he brought up after the Patriots game and further expanded on ahead of Week 3.
“It’s not necessarily just throwing things away [when under pressure in the pocket],” Saleh said. “That’s his skillset, to get out of the pocket. When you look at [Chiefs QB Patrick] Mahomes and [Packers QB Aaron] Rogers, everyone celebrates how they’re off-schedule and the haymakers they throw and all the wild plays. What gets lost in translation is their ability to play boring football.
“If you watched Monday night, [Rodgers] was getting rid of that ball and taking what the defense gave him and every once in a while, he would feel the pocket. This is where Zach is special, and he’ll get better at this as he gets more reps.
“To be able to feel the pocket and know, alright the pocket’s good, I’m going to hold this for one more hitch and I’m going to gut the defense. He’ll learn that… All that spatial awareness… that happens naturally.”
It’s something that can’t really be taught, either.
“I think it’s instincts,” Saleh continued. “You have your game plan and it’s all feel. If the defense is giving you space, take it. If the defense is trying to take it away and you feel good with your protection, take your extra hit and beat them over their heads.”
One way to potentially neutralize the Broncos and other opposing defenses is by utilizing Wilson’s ability to scramble with designed quarterback runs, which is something that might be seen a bit more moving forward as long as the youngster’s groin is as little a concern as Saleh leads to believe.
“Not to say that they’re not up, but he’s not exactly Lamar Jackson,” Saleh said of designed runs for Wilson. “They’re in there, we just have to be smart and selective.”