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Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, who were selected first and second respectively in the 2021 NFL drafts, met for the second time on Thursday night. The Jaguars’ win was a showcase that the careers of the two quarterbacks have sprung up dramatically in opposite directions since they were drafted.
Lawrence has played everything like the franchise quarterback he was drafted to be this season. Wilson played like a placeholder that the Jets had to replace in the off-season.
Lawrence appears to be on the verge of joining the elite quarterback club, and the Jaguars are heading towards a potential playoff spot. Wilson has shown virtually no growth over the past year, and Jets fans cheered for backup quarterback Joe Flacco into the third quarter on Thursday.
The Jets did not return to Flacco, but they did pull Wilson for former CFL quarterback Chris Streveler. While Streveler didn’t do enough to bring the win, he provided a brief but much needed offensive spark.
Wilson was 9 by 18 for 92 yards and intercepted before retracting. He was worse than even those numbers showed, repeatedly missing shots, ignoring open running lanes, and failing to notice the pressure.
Streveler designed a 13-game, 83-yard drive that resulted in an unsuccessful fourth down conversion. Up to that point, New York’s longest drive was nine games and 33 yards. Streveler was far from making a great shot, but he did the little things that Wilson couldn’t.
Streveler’s flashes should be the final proof that Wilson as quarterback is not New York’s long-term answer. This season – along with Flacco and Mike White – he’s the third quarterback to outrun Wilson cleanly.
Flacco was the start of Week 1 as Wilson injured his knee. He went 1-2 for a start and gave a passer score of just 77.0. Still, this was better than what we saw from Wilson, who had a Thursday night rating of 75.3.
White replaced Wilson, who struggled in Week 12, but missed the last two games due to a rib injury. He gave 85.8 passer points as he went 3-3 for a start. Wilson has a top-five record of 5-4 this season, but it’s clear that his career is still in development.
“It has a lot of things you can’t teach,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said earlier this week. Mark W. Sanchez From the New York Post. “He’s learning timing and rhythm direction for him.”
The problem is, there’s no rhythm in the Jets’ offense with Wilson in the center. He can provide occasional stack play due to his arm ability, but struggles to maintain rides and easy reads.
For Wilson, the on-court problems look twofold. He shows off the sloppy mechanics he did when he was still a rookie and has now lost confidence in his arm, eyes or legs.
Connor Hughes @Connor_J_Hughes
The basics were what was wrong with Zach Wilson. That’s what got him into the bench. #Jets said: Top & bottom half were not working in sync.
You can’t fix this in three weeks. The QB out there is no longer just dealing with fundamental issues, he’s overthinking.
Wilson doesn’t seem to trust what he sees on the field, doesn’t make quick decisions, and is incapable of overcoming his shortcomings with sloppy mechanics and raw talent.
And that’s how Wilson fails on the field. Off the field, he continues to show that he doesn’t understand what it means to be a team leader. Accountability escaped Brigham Young product in 2022.
After completing just nine passes for 77 yards in a Week 11 loss to the New England Patriots, Wilson refused to admit that the Jets had let his defense down.
More recently, Wilson”definitelyHe believes the Jets are the quarterback’s future.
If the Jets were a different team, or perhaps at a different stage of their own development, perhaps Wilson would still be the future. However, this New York team has proven extremely close to being a playoff factor.
It looks like the Jets have a coach up and running in Saleh. They have a solid defense, coming into Week 16 in third place overall and fourth in points allowed. They’re filled with young talented players like Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson, who are legitimate candidates for the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year respectively.
The Jets are truly a quarterback away from being a real threat in the AFC, and Wilson is not that quarterback. New York cannot continue to be patient while developing an underdeveloped player.
Patience advocates can point to the steps Lawrence has taken this year under Doug Pederson, or perhaps by Tua Tagovailoa under Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins. But the fact that players like White and Streveler are more adept at Mike LaFleur’s offense shows that the problem isn’t in the coaching.
Wilson’s supporting staff is absolutely okay.
At 7-8, the Jets now need a lot of help getting into the postseason. If and when healthy, they will undoubtedly revert to White. If White can’t go, they can start the Stereveler in Week 17. It seems unlikely that we will see Wilson again in 2022, unless New York has no other choice.
In the off-season, New York needs to find a more permanent replacement for Wilson. Whether it’s White, former Jet Geno Smith, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (a player LaFleur knows well), or a newcomer rookie, the Jets’ Week 1 start of 2023 can’t be Wilson.
Unplugging the No. 2 pick in the draft won’t be an easy thing to swallow, but New York has been here before. The Jets ran the third overall pick in the 2018 audition and were on their way after just three seasons.
The timeline here is a bit different because the 2021 Jets weren’t ready to win. These Jets.
Moe Moton @MoeMoton
#Jetssniffed the QB pick to take 2nd place in the overall standings in 2021.
But what you don’t want to do is complicate it even more by keeping a scent in the QB.
Admit that you made a mistake by continuing. When you’re stuck in denial, you make the initial smell much worse.
It’s time to move on to a quarterback who can rip the Jets’ notorious Band-Aid off and help propel them into the postseason.
As with the Jets and Sam Darnold two years ago, both sides need a fresh start. This may not work out for Wilson, but New York will at least have a chance to escape. Players will at least have the opportunity to believe in themselves.
It’s clear that no one in New York believes Wilson anymore.
If the Jets try to make a comeback with Wilson, they’ll likely have another season just like this one: a promising “what if” campaign that will ultimately end in disappointment.