Wilson was a constant subject of criticism whether it was early-season comparisons to Sam Darnold or late-season comparisons to other rookie quarterbacks like Mac Jones. You need a thick skin to play in New York — especially if you're a starting quarterback.
Fortunately, the constant attention doesn't seem to faze Wilson, at least according to teammate and fellow 2021 draft pick Michael Carter.
Carter spoke with talkSPORT ahead of the Super Bowl to discuss the Jets, Wilson, and a variety of other topics. In the interview, Carter described why he feels Wilson is the perfect quarterback for New York.
"[Zach Wilson] doesn’t hear any of [the criticism]. He could care less. He’ll see it, and he’ll be like ‘Haha isn’t this so funny? They talked about how I threw two interceptions today.’ If that was me, I would be like ‘man, you better stop writing about me.’ He’s like ‘Haha. I’ll get better.’ His mindset is, like, he’s literally wired like that."- Michael Carter, on Zach Wilson
Michael Carter has high praise for NY Jets quarterback Zach Wilson
Wilson undoubtedly went through his fair share of rookie struggles. The No. 2 overall pick finished his rookie season with 13 touchdowns (nine passing), 11 interceptions, and a 55% completion percentage.
However, what was most promising were the signs of development he showed as the season went on. Wilson was one of two starting quarterbacks in the NFL to not throw an interception over the final five weeks of the season, along with 2021 MVP Aaron Rodgers.
It's clear Wilson still has a long way to go, but it was certainly encouraging to see him respond well to adversity and correct what was one of the biggest weaknesses of his game early in the year.
That's evidence of the exact mental makeup that Carter is talking about. Wilson responded to the criticism by playing some of the best football of his young NFL career down the stretch.
Wilson doesn't care about the external criticism. As Carter later detailed, Wilson is "internally motivated."
"He does not care what anybody thinks. And it’s so cool."- Michael Carter, on Zach Wilson
If Zach Wilson is going to succeed in New York, that's the mindset he needs to have. It remains to be seen if Wilson will actually live up to the hype of being the No. 2 overall pick.
But if he does fail, it won't be because he couldn't handle the pressure.