1. Zach Wilson needs to get healthy and show superstar traits
Unfortunately, it's going to be a while before Zach Wilson takes the field in the 2022 regular season — perhaps not until Week 5 against Miami. But knowing the recent history of the Jets' medical staff, who knows if that's being optimistic?
No one knows how well Joe Flacco will play to start the season, and he might be a serviceable option or flop in his first two starts before turning things over to Mike White against his favorite opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, in Week 3.
The bottom line is that everything hinges on Zach Wilson. If and when he does return to the field, he has to become a star quarterback. He wasn't drafted second overall with the idea that he could be a game manager. The Jets anointed him as their franchise quarterback because of his dynamic skill set as a thrower.
Joe Douglas and his staff envisioned Patrick Mahomes, not Rex Grossman. In the NFL, you don't play meaningful games at the end of the season unless you have good-to-excellent quarterback play. The Jets will not be a winning team unless they get that level of performance from their quarterback.
Going into the 2021 draft process, one of the biggest concerns I raised about Zach Wilson was his size and durability. Thus far, staying on the field has been an issue for Wilson. Chalk it up to the Jets' lousy luck if you want to, but here we are.
Is it fair to expect Zach Wilson to come off a knee injury and be spectacular immediately? Probably not. But he has to show significant signs of progression.
He played tentative last season after struggling with his decision-making. Wilson avoided mistakes, but the traits that made him a tantalizing prospect were put under wraps.
The Jets, provided that their offensive tackle position holds up, have stocked up on promising weapons in the passing game. It's up to Mike LaFleur, and ultimately Zach Wilson, to make it work.
The entire current Jets scheme is going to sink or swim based on Zach Wilson. The likelihood is that they will not get another chance to draft a franchise quarterback if Wilson falters.