New York Jets second-year quarterback Zach Wilson went up against the top two pass defenses in the NFL in his last two games. As it is fair to expect, things went less than ideal against the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos.
Over the last two weeks, Wilson went 26-44 (59.1%), for 231 yards (115.5 per game), with no touchdowns but also no interceptions.
Beyond the stats, though, it seemed as if Wilson did not have the same pocket presence as he did in his first two games. Especially in comparison to the confidence with which he let it rip in the beginning and at the end of the Pittsburgh Steelers game.
In order for Wilson to put together an efficient game tomorrow, some points will be key. Three in particular for success will be discussed below.
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Three keys for New York Jets QB Zach Wilson in Week 8:
1. Easy completions on early downs, establish rhythm early:
A lot of this first point comes down to the playcalling. The Jets did come out swinging with three passing attempts on their first three plays of last week’s game. However, none were necessarily easy schemed-up completions working underneath.
Wilson has shown some accuracy on quick hitters, whether it be stick or spacing concepts, with simplified reads, operating east and west, as shown in one play below.
Schematically, the 3×1 alignment with three wide receivers (all up top) gives a pre-snap man/zone indicator. With outside cornerback Damarri Mathis on the bottom, it shows zone. From there, Wilson makes an easy read, seeing if Mathis sticks with CJ Uzomah on the quick stop over the middle or brakes down on Michael Carter’s swing route.
Finding easy, well-schemed completions in which Wilson can quickly get the ball out can undoubtedly be a way to help him get comfortable early in this game.
Utilizing jet-motioning, swings (as shown above), and screens, especially if the Patriots run Cover-0 blitzes, Mike LaFleur could help Wilson establish a rhythm early.
2. Proper mechanics can lead to more consistent accuracy:
Some issues in terms of ball placement have come up. In particular, the one miss to CJ Uzomah last week was frustrating.
What it comes back to is improper mechanics with Wilson’s footwork. He has let the ball go while fading off of his back foot.
Routinely setting his base will enable Wilson to throw the ball exactly where he needs it to go. Some of this could come from Wilson looking to step up in the pocket more frequently.
Wilson’s internal clock in the pocket seems to speed up while he looks to be taking too long to make a decision when he escapes the pocket.
Whether he is in or out of the pocket, stepping into throws will allow Wilson to be accurate in tomorrow’s big division game.
3. Take one chance at some point:
Even without Breece Hall and Corey Davis, Wilson has incredible skill talent at his disposal. Relying on those players can help him gain more confidence.
As mentioned above, Bill Belichick will likely look to make it rough on Wilson by sending blitzes. As a result, 1-on-1 opportunities will be there on the outside. At some point, taking a chance to Garrett Wilson or a go or jump ball, Elijah Moore with his speed, or Denzel Mims with his size should be expected from Wilson.
The Jets have yet to get the chunk plays Wilson is capable of putting together with his mobility and arm strength. He has players on the outside who can win, trust them, and it will likely only make his life easier.