These are the ups and downs as a rookie quarterback.
After a strong start from Wilson on Friday as the Jets finished their second week of OTAs he struggled throughout the rest of practice.
This week the Jets have focused on situational football with Wilson and the offense. That has included red zone 7-on-7s inside the 10-yard line, third down 11-on-11 team drills and 7-on-7 third down sessions.
“Wednesday was the first time (Wilson) was in the red zone. … In the red zone everything gets tighter and that’s where rookies traditionally struggled because the windows are tighter, the decisions have to be made faster,” Saleh said. “That’s where the difference between field goals and touchdowns win football games. Those are the areas in situational football where he’s gonna have to improve, obviously.”
But Saleh is confident in his rookie QB’s ability to handle the challenge.
“Just love the kids’ demeanor, love his mindset, love how he’s attacked everything,” Saleh said. “You love the progress and now it’s just a matter of continuing to get reps, get live reps, get game reps, and go through the bumps and bruises. But you trust that his mindset is not gonna let him fail.”
More Wilson Observations:
To start out the day, Wilson was cooking.
On the first session of 11-on-11, he fired a laser to Elijah Moore over the middle of the field. The former Ole Miss star showed off his 4.35, 40-time and left everybody behind.
The team moved to red zone 7-on-7 inside the 10. Wilson went 5-5 with touchdowns to Vyncint Smith, Moore, Ty Johnson, Michael Carter and Braxton Berrios.
Then the wheels came off.
The second 11-on-11 period focused on third down situations. Wilson had five dropbacks and went 1-for-4 and had a sack fumble.
Wilson’s first throw was to Keelan Cole, who was wide open down the sideline, but he overthrew him. Second was a completion over the middle to Berrios for a first down. The third throw was an incompletion over the middle. On his fourth throw, he held the ball and was indecisive before throwing it to D.J. Montgomery but Montgomery dropped it. On his fifth rep, he took a sack and fumbled the ball.
This was Wilson’s worst period so far in the practice sessions held in front of the media.
He went 3-for-4 with an interception in the next drill — third down 7-on-7 — and then finished the day going 3-for-5 with two TDs in red zone 7-on-7 drills.
Last Friday, Wilson was laser sharp. This Friday, not so much. That’s OK, he’s a rookie. He’s only been an NFL quarterback for a month, so this is part of the process.
After signing a 5-year, $85 million deal, C.J. Mosley has only played two games in two seasons for Gang Green because of a groin injury in 2019 and then opting out of last season due to COVID-19 concerns.
But throughout OTAs he has continued to stand out by flying around and has made plays on the ball. His teammates and coaches have noticed.
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“I’m so excited about C.J. and what he brings to this defense and what he brings to this team,”Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said. “He is one of those authentic alpha leaders and knows how to run the defense. He’s the field general, he’s the old school Mike (middle linebacker) that you look to. Very excited about what he can do within this defense.”
Linebacker Jarrad Davis, who signed with the Jets on a 1-year, $6 million deal after four years with the Detroit Lions, has also been impressed.
“I love being able to have someone of that caliber next to me. I know everybody else out there does too,” Davis said. “Just being able to have someone who is as focused on his job as he is, it’s just helped raise the bar and the expectation.”
If Mosley can come close to his Baltimore Ravens form when he was a 4-time Pro Bowler that will lift a defense that was 24th in total defense (387.6) and 26th in points allowed (28.6).
What’s that bad smell? Oh yeah, it’s the backup quarterback situation. Mike White and James Morgan struggled badly during OTAs. The ball spent more time on the grass than it did in receivers’ hands when the two got reps. Keep in mind, neither has thrown a pass in an NFL game.
The Jets must add a veteran QB whether it’s Chicago Bears signalcaller Nick Foles, signing former San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens or a third option. If Wilson misses any time due to injury, it could look like the Jets with Luke Falk in 2019.