Are the New York Jets playing a risky game at quarterback?

new york jets, zach wilson

There is no doubt that the New York Jets will roll into the 2021 season with Zach Wilson as their primary starter, but behind him, they have a dearth of inexperience and talent.

Ultimately, the Jets had Joe Flacco behind Sam Darnold last year to help supplement injuries, and while their offense struggled considerably no matter the quarterback, new head coach Robert Salah believes that they are just fine at the position.

The New York Jets don’t have any qualified QBs on the roster:

Currently, the team has two quarterbacks on the roster that have never played a regular-season NFL game: Mike White and James Morgan. White is a former fifth-round pick in 2018, and Morgan was drafted last year in the fourth round.

One could make the argument that the Jets are taking a risky approach without any veteran experience on the team to help Wilson adjust and adapt, kind of like what Josh McCown did for Darnold. Of course, if the front office had actually provided Sam with a decent offensive line and weapons to utilize, this current Jets team could look a lot different.

“To just think that just because they’re a veteran it’s going to help a quarterback, there’s a match that has to happen, there’s a scheme familiarity that has to happen,” Saleh said. “If you just bring in a veteran who doesn’t know your scheme, he’s learning just like the rookie is. Aside from helping him with rehab and [regeneration] and study habits, which I think Zach and that entire quarterback room is already ahead of the curve on how they handle their bodies and study, I don’t know if there’s much value aside from being comfortable that if the crap hits the fan you have a veteran who has played football. It’s more of a comforting feeling rather than working your ass off to develop the quarterbacks who are already in the building.”

I agree with Salah to a degree, as Wilson will be the immediate starter whether or not the team has an experienced veteran on the roster. However, I believe he could’ve benefited from having a mentor behind him.

It is clear that the Jets are looking to develop their backups to fit their scheme, but they must be thinking about Wilson and his progression first and foremost. Salah did mention that the team could add another quarterback for training camp, depending on how the three quarterbacks looked this spring. Wilson has had his ups and downs during practice, but that was to be expected as he adjusts to NFL practices and intensity.

The Jets might’ve landed their next big pass rusher with Carl Lawson

carl lawson, new york jets

It has been quite some time since the New York Jets have had an elite pass rusher to lead their defense, and they might’ve landed one in Cincinnati Bengals star Carl Lawson. At 25 years old, Lawson is a former fourth-round pick out of Auburn, and he is just hitting his stride in the NFL, posting 5.5 sacks last year over 16 games as a defensive end.

With Robert Salah deploying a 4–3 defense with the Jets, Lawson fits the mold perfectly at DE. The Jets have a solid interior pass rush with Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins manning the interior. Williams is also capable of kicking out to DE and rushing from a 3-5 tech position.

The Jets also have Vinnie Curry, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles, in 2020. He posted a 70.9 overall pass rush grade with four sacks, per PFF, so pairing him with Lawson represents a solid duo.

In fact, Lawson believes he is capable of being one of the best pass rushers in football, and this season may offer him an opportunity to reach that goal.

“I feel like the sky is the limit,” Lawson said, “but, at the end of the day, this is life. Not every goal you set is going to happen because there are external factors. But I will do everything in my power possible to reach my highest level of potential and what I think I can possibly be, which is something otherworldly.”

As a player who posted 32 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles last year, there is no question that Lawson can maximize his game with a fantastic defensive-minded coach like Salah. The Bengals have historically been an inadequate team the past half-decade or so, as their defense ranked in the bottom half of the league last year in points allowed per game.

Lawson was one of their lone stand-out performers in the trenches, and he is looking to increase his sack totals with the Jets after posting just 5.5 last year. As a 6’2″, 265 pound DE, the sky is certainly the limit for a young player with the right mentality.

“I want the sacks to go up regardless,” Lawson said. “I have the mindset that no matter who is around me I should win my 1-on-1 [matchup]. That’s a great thing to have – great interior players – but the way I think of it is to produce no matter what the situation because what if everybody got hurt? Could I use that as my excuse for [fewer] sacks? No.”

Ultimately, if the Jets can command adequate double teams in the trenches and allow Lawson to capitalize on 1V1 matchups, he will feast in 2021. The Jets have had unfortunate injuries the past few seasons, so if they can remain healthy, he should be in great shape moving forward.