Zach Wilson’s Rookie Season: Struggles or Bad Luck?

Zach Wilson’s Rookie Season: Struggles or Bad Luck?

by December 29, 2021 0 comments

When the New York Jets selected Zach Wilson with the second pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the team envisioned one of the better young quarterbacks in the league. Multiple pieces were put in place around Wilson to further his path to success. This included Mekhi Becton, George Fant, Morgan Moses, and Alijah Vera-Tucker on the offensive line. Weapons-wise, Denzel Mims, Michael Carter, and Elijah Moore were drafted and are complemented by Corey Davis, Keelan Cole, and Tyler Kroft to round out the offensive corps. However, has it been enough?

Early Struggles

This season has been full of disappointment, but bright spots as well. The former BYU star quarterback missed four games with a knee injury sustained in Week 7 against the New England Patriots. This led to Mike White getting his first shot under center. White threw for more than 400 yards in his first-ever start, a win against Cincinnati. At this point, Moore also was able to break out and turn into a difference-maker for New York. The experience was key for many of the young players’ growth.

Bright Spots

Moore has continued this success even with Wilson back healthy when returning for Week 12. In Week 4 when the Jets beat the Tennesee Titans for their first win of the season, the Utah native won his first of two Rookie of The Week awards. He threw for 297 yards with two touchdowns in the victory. Wilson claimed his second award after his Week 13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He won his second Offensive Rookie of the Week award in a Week 13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The play-calling hasn’t helped Wilson. The rookie has been forced by the coaching staff to use Moore as a slot receiver despite showing his flashes of big-time playability being as a downfield threat. He has had the coaching decisions also fall over similarly onto Mims, and when using him he has been used much like Moore. Davis and Cole have been used but they haven’t performed up to par when healthy. This isn’t all on Wilson as the coaching staff has held him back from playing his game. Wilson recently mentioned how he needs to just let it rip instead of overthinking. This goes along with the criticism from many media outlets regarding Wilson’s composure in the pocket.

Help Comes

Only after Wilson was injured did the Jets hire his personal coach John Beck. Beck has been helping Wilson get back to the basics he excelled at during his college days. Wilson has been fortunate to have some impressive young players to grow and learn with too. Moore won the Offensive Rookie of The Week honors in Week 11. Carter has also appeared on the ballot this season.

Vera-Tucker has been one of the best blockers for Carter and protectors for Wilson, consistently protecting better than 85 percent of snaps. He has done a great job in protection this season. Mims has been injured or inactive much of this season but will get many more snaps with Davis, Carter, and Moore out with injuries. Becton has been out most of this season but when healthy has been a big contributor.

The Future

Overall, the Jets have a great core around Wilson. Unfortunately, the Jets have been unlucky with the injuries, as well as poor coaching decisions. With a plethora of draft picks and high cap space, New York should be able to add even more playmakers. The current youngster will have another year and offseason of NFL experience going for them. Should luck prevail next season, all the puzzle pieces are there for Wilson to shine in the New York spotlight.

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Former Sports Reporter & Journalist For PrimeTime Sports Talk And Other USA Today Networks

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