NY Jets QB Zach Wilson shines in first open-media OTA practice
By Justin Fried
NY Jets quarterback Zach Wilson vowed to make life difficult for any quarterback his team brought in this offseason. On Tuesday, he was presented with a golden opportunity to do just that.
Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered what's being described as a "minor calf strain" during the pre-practice conditioning period and was held out for the remainder of the day.
With Rodgers sidelined, Wilson was the quarterback who stepped in and took first-team reps over the likes of Tim Boyle and Chris Streveler — and he made the most of that opportunity.
Wilson finished the day 12-of-14, including a 9-for-10 performance in 7-on-7 drills. The highlight of the day was a tight-window pass from Wilson to second-year wideout Garrett Wilson who made a diving catch past cornerback D.J. Reed.
New Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was vocally supportive of Wilson throughout the day. Meanwhile, head coach Robert Saleh praised Wilson after practice for his professionalism and performance thus far this spring.
The NY Jets are encouraged by Zach Wilson's progress this offseason
Wilson has kept a relatively low profile this offseason while his team pursued a number of different quarterbacks. The former No. 2 overall pick is hoping to salvage his career after a difficult two years in the NFL.
The belief has been that sitting behind and learning from a future Hall of Famer like Rodgers could do wonders for Wilson's maturation and development as a quarterback. It certainly doesn't hurt that Rodgers is notably Wilson's childhood idol, either.
Saleh referred to Wilson as "a sponge" and reiterated that the Jets believe he can develop into the quarterback they always hoped he could be.
Of course, it's important to remember that it's still OTAs. Wilson has always thrived in practice situations without a legitimate pass rush. You'd expect him to perform well under these circumstances.
Still, it's encouraging to see Wilson taking the necessary steps to improve this offseason, and it's beginning to yield results.
Wilson still has a long way to go before he establishes himself as even an NFL-caliber quarterback, but stringing together positive performances like this one will certainly help his case.
For now, Wilson will remain focused on beating out Boyle for the Jets' backup quarterback job behind Rodgers. If he continues to impress into the summer, the Jets likely won't hesitate to hand him that role.