Zach Wilson took the field for his first training camp practice as a member of the NY Jets on Friday. And on just the second play of the day, he found fellow rookie Elijah Moore for a 40-yard connection downfield.
It was the excitement that had been missing from Jets practices as Wilson remained away from the team while dealing with contractual complications.
It was a necessary change of pace. A glimmer of hope that was preceded by general apathy. Unfortunately, it wasn't the start of the picture-perfect debut many Jets fans envisioned from their new rookie quarterback.
Wilson struggled on Friday. He looked like a rookie. He was overwhelmed at points, indecisive, and looked jittery as he missed multiple open targets.
But that's perfectly fine. All of that was to be expected.
What's important is that Zach Wilson has arrived. And with that, hope has returned to One Jets Drive.
Zach Wilson was far from perfect in his first NY Jets training camp practice.
Wilson failed to find the same success after his highlight-reel pass to Moore. Per The Athletic's Connor Hughes, Wilson finished team drills 5-of-9 through the air with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis, but that was coupled with a pair of sacks and an interception.
The interception was a particularly bad misstep as safety Marcus Maye perfectly telegraphed an errant throw from Wilson. It was a mistake — a rookie mistake.
Things didn't get easier for Wilson when it came to 7-on-7 red-zone drills. The 21-year-old completed just 1-of-6 passes, a swing pass to backup running back Austin Walter that came up well short of the end zone.
This was Wilson's first practice with the Jets. While his teammates, particularly the defense, had a few days to get acquainted with one another and install new elements of the playbook, Wilson was thrown right into the fire.
He wasn't given acclimation period. The Jets gave Wilson all the first-team reps on his first day on the job while his teammates had the tactical advantage.
Mistakes were inevitable. The Jets knew that Wilson would struggle. And that's perfectly OK.
Iron sharpens iron.
Zach Wilson's training camp debut was far from perfect. In fact, there was much more bad than good.
But none of that matters. Optimism has returned to Jets training camp. And Wilson is the driving force behind that.