Sports

Zach Wilson regresses as Jets offense has ‘confidence issue’

A week ago, Zach Wilson was the toast of the town.

In a 27-20 loss to the Falcons on Sunday in London, he was just toast.

Wilson was voted the NFL’s Rookie of the Week after leading the Jets to their win over the Titans.

Seven days later, Wilson looked like he regressed, completing 19 of 32 for 192 yards and an interception, but he had only 65 passing yards with 9 ¹/₂ minutes remaining in the game.

After the game, in which the Jets produced only 80 yards and five first downs in the first half, Wilson conceded that there’s a “confidence issue’’ on offense and admitted that the perpetual slow starts are “crushing us.’’

“It’s a block we have to get over,” Wilson said, referring to the Jets failing to produce a single point in the first quarter through five games this season and having scored only 13 first-half points. “We have to get out of that trend of starting bad. We can’t keep trying to come from behind. The NFL is too hard to always come from behind.”

Zach Wilson
AP

Wilson continues to struggle on the simpler, shorter passes, overthrowing receivers, throwing behind them or short of them.

“You always go back to your fundamentals,’’ Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “He’s working on it daily, I promise you. And he’s going to get better at it and he’s very deliberate about it. It’s trusting it when bullets are flying. It’s very easy to stand at the driving range and hit 300-yard drives.

“It’s: Can you do it when you’re on the tee box and there’s water to your left and sand to your right? And that’s just something that he’s got to work on, that’s something the coaches have to work on and everybody has to work on. When he hits it, it’s going to be pretty cool when it does.’’

One of the low points in the game was the interception, as Wilson forced a second-quarter pass down the field to Keelan Cole, but telegraphed it, looking Cole’s way the entire play.

“[It was] the frustration of just, ‘You know what, screw it, I’m going to rip this ball to the sideline and he’s wide open,’ ’’ Wilson said. “It wasn’t a bad decision. He was wide open. I’ve just got to make a better throw. I’ve got to come out and be ready to rip this thing. I can’t be hesitant on any of those throws.’’

Another low point came when, on a screen-pass attempt, Wilson’s throw hit right tackle Morgan Moses in the back of the helmet.

“The back was behind the tackle,’’ he said. “I have to do a better job of getting him the ball right there. We have a big play there.’’

Wilson, who remained remarkably upbeat as the Jets lost their first three games, appeared more frustrated than he’s been all season, mostly about the slow starts.

“We have to come out swinging from the beginning,” Wilson said. “I have to come out and just throw that thing and make the right reads. I missed some throws. I can’t come out and miss throws.’’

The Falcons’ defense played Wilson smartly. Knowing that his best success had come on the deeper balls, the Falcons gave him a lot of two-deep safety looks, forcing him to throw underneath the coverage, which has been a weakness. Atlanta, too, did a good job of hemming Wilson in the pocket, preventing him from making “off-schedule” plays.

“I have to make plays,’’ Wilson said. “We have to get this offense going.’’

via

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