Nowhere else to go but up for Jets’ Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson Jets
Sep 19, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) pursues New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) after throwing an interception during the second half at MetLife Stadium.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Wilson might not have many more worse days than he did on Sunday against the New England Patriots — which wasn’t the best way to formally introduce himself to Jets fans during the 2021 home opener. 

In their first live glimpse of the next perceived franchise quarterback, Jets fans watched in horror and shortly thereafter, frustration, as the No. 2 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft threw four interceptions while completing 19-of-33 pass attempts for 210 yards in a 25-6 loss.

As the Jets dropped to 0-2 on the season, the fans baptized Wilson with the all-too-familiar sound of booing that has seemingly adorned nearly every passer in green since Joe Namath left the organization.

Welcome to the Jets, kid.

“I’m not paying attention to it, but they should be booing, right?” Wilson rhetorically asked with a smile.

At least he gets it.

“This is what we signed up for. There are going to be games like this,” he continued. “I have to remember the situation I’m in. I’m an important piece in this whole thing, and I just have to keep learning and getting better. You have to keep that swag and that mojo every single week.”

Sunday could not have started worse for the 22-year-old, who was picked off on his first two passes of the afternoon before airmailing a third to JC Jackson, who had two of the first three picks. Wilson’s last of the day, which came in the third quarter, was sent down the left sideline right into the arms of Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty, who didn’t have a Jets receiver within five yards of him.
As the Patriots poured it on, Jets fans became restless and unleashed the boo-birds in the fourth quarter. So much for heeding to owner Woody Johnson’s pleas of being patient with the young passer.
But this is the kind of aggressive quarterback that Wilson is, which opens up the possibilities of outings such as Sunday’s.

“Obviously, you’re frustrated,” Wilson said. “There’s that switch inside where you’ve just got to hit the reset button. I’ve got to tell myself that I can’t be gun-shy. I’ve got to be aggressive down the field.”

But the Jets and first-year head coach Robert Saleh will have to institute a system that allows Wilson to at least pump the brakes — even if he said there will be none of that and all gas this season.

“It’s just having the confidence to know that it’s OK to play a boring game of football,” Saleh said. “He’s an electric dude. He’s competitive as crap and wants to win so bad. Sometimes, it’s OK to be boring. That’s probably the biggest lesson he can take out of this one.”

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