After less-than-stellar reports surfaced out of New York Jets training camp regarding Zach Wilson, one might have thought interceptions would be an inevitability in his preseason outings.
Zach Wilson was 10 of 18 in the team period today. He had one touchdown, an interception and was sacked five times. #Jets
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) August 19, 2021
That hasn’t quite happened. Instead, Wilson has been superb after two starts in live NFL action. He’s made minimal mistakes, and the Jets have moved the ball with him as their pivot.
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We must, of course, be wary of this small run of good form — it is the preseason, after all. There is massive evidence that suggests preseason quarterback play does not actually translate to the regular season. For now, Wilson looks good. He ranks second in PFF passing grade among the 60 signal-callers with at least 20 dropbacks through preseason Week 2. His 83.9 mark trails only the stunning 92.8 figure put up by the New England Patriots’ Mac Jones.
Before we get into all the good plays Wilson has made so far, we do have put out a few disclaimers:
1. In Week 1, the New York Giants didn’t play any of their projected defensive starters against the Jets.
2. In Week 2, the Green Bay Packers didn’t play any of their projected defensive starters against the Jets, save for inside linebacker Krys Barnes.
3. In both games, the Jets paired most of their projected starters at receiver and offensive line with Wilson. Mekhi Becton, Connor McGovern, Greg van Roten, Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole were all trotted out to play with the rookie.
4. Because of the limited number of reps — Wilson has dropped back to pass only 22 times so far — we have no idea if he can consistently hit the throws he’s made so far. Any professional quarterback can hit a route on time and accurately, but the ability to do it consistently is what separates the average from the elite.
All of the above gifted Wilson the perfect environment to showcase his skills, and he played very well. He showed important parts of “the process” that, if he can carry it over to the regular season, will make the Jets a contender right away.