Robert Saleh, Jets ready for encore from Zach Wilson in Week 15 after career performance

Jets looking for encore from Zach Wilson
New York Jets Head Coach, Robert Saleh, hugs quarterback, Zach Wilson, before the game. Sunday, October 3, 2021 Nfl Week 4 Jets V Titans
© Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Jets couldn’t be happier for Zach Wilson after his career game against the Houston Texans last Sunday. 

Now the challenge moves to sustaining the high level of play from the former second-overall pick. 

When Wilson took the field in New York’s Week 14 contest, there were few out there that anticipated the former BYU product setting a new career high in completion percentage (75%) and putting up more points than the team has scored in the last five games combined. His 301-yard, two-touchdown performance not only kept the Jets alive in a crowded AFC Playoff room, but it showed the organization the kind of complete game they’ve been waiting for. 

Jets dominate Texans 27-6
Dec 10, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) throws the ball as Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard (52) defends during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

“No matter how confident you are, there’s nothing that boosts confidence more than affirmation,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday. “I don’t want to speak for him, but I would imagine that having the game he had is a new level of confidence that I don’t think he even realized he had and of knowing that he is capable.”

Finding the balance between playing aggressive and smart has eluded the 24-year old before, but that wasn’t the case against Houston. As New York prepares for another do-or-die game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 15, the team hopes to see more of the same from their starting quarterback.

“It’s wash, rinse, repeat,” Saleh explained. “It’s continue to have confidence in your ability, confidence in your teammates, confidence in your coaches, and confidence that he has the ability to take a game over when he’s clicking. You could say challenge, but in my mind, it’s more just have that continued confidence and swag and just play with that let it rip mentality.”

The “let it rip” mentality is one that Wilson has taken to heart the last couple of weeks. After being benched mid-game against the Buffalo Bills, he had to sit and watch the Jets roll out Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian to try and solve their scoring issues. 

In reality, the major solution to their offensive problems were solved by Wilson himself. 

His decisiveness, play-making ability, and overall arm talent were enough to lead New York to it’s highest offensive output of the season – and showed that they aren’t yet dead in the race for the playoffs. 

Gang Green is currently preparing for their upcoming contest against the Dolphins, but has two additional games against teams under .500 in Washington and New England coming up. An additional game against a battered Cleveland squad on Thursday night after Christmas is just another chance for New York reach their first season above .500 since 2015. 

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East Rutherford, NJ — November 24, 2023 — Jet fans late 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

To do that with the rash of injuries the Jets have suffered in key positions would be nothing short of impressive for the coaching staff and locker room. 

All their improvements though over the last week quickly goes away if they can’t beat a hampered Dolphins squad that sees Tyreek Hill dealing with an injury, and after losing center Connor Williams for the remainder of the season. 

In a league that is based on weekly performance, it’s that mindset that could be the important calling card for Wilson’s potential final few games as a starting quarterback with the Jets. 

“Every day is an interview. Every day is part of your resume,” Saleh concluded. “Consistency is the truest measure of performance, but Zach consistently prepares the right way and for Zach, it’s the same thing we’ve told him, that I’ll continue to tell him to just have confidence in yourself, have confidence in what you see, and let the thing rip. Usually, things will happen, so hopefully he’s able to do it again.”

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