Kicking off a joint practice in Green Bay on Wednesday, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson had an opportunity to continue to develop, taking advantage of some reps against what he called a "Super Bowl-caliber team."
A chance to face off with a talented defense at this stage in the preseason can do wonders for Wilson as he inches closer to Week 1 of his rookie season.
Another part of Wednesday's practice will resonate deeply with the No. 2 pick, though. Rather than a shot to drop back in the pocket and endeavor to dismantle a defense, however, this was a conversation.
Wilson took the time to link up with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Wednesday, picking the future Hall of Famer's brain as their respective teams worked out between the lines.
The BYU product jokingly admitted after practice that he was a bit of a "fanboy" during the interaction, talking to a player that he's idolized ever since he was a kid.
"He’s always been someone I definitely modeled my game after," Wilson said, revealing he used to watch all of Rodgers' games. "I’ve always tried to copy what he’s been doing, because he’s done it for such a long time. He’s just a fun player to watch and he just plays the game the right way."
This wasn't the first time Wilson was able to speak with the three-time MVP. Wilson recalled a brief phone conversation with the quarterback while he was going through the process of choosing an agent, chatting about life and football.
Now, they shared a practice field together, peers at the same level with similar playing styles—although Wilson has a long way to go before he's lived up to those preliminary comparisons.
"‘That’s Aaron Rodgers, that’s kind of crazy,’" Wilson remembered saying to New York's other quarterbacks. "It’s still a great tool for us just to be able to learn from him and kind of see what he’s doing."
Wilson added that he'll check out film from Rodgers working against the Jets' defense at practice, a unit that the rookie has been facing all offseason. While he said it's "hard" to watch Rodgers and file away observations to mix into his own game, since the Packers signal-caller is so talented, it was the quarterback's ability to orchestrate his offense that stuck with the rookie.
"Obviously, the way he throws the ball is amazing, but I wouldn’t say that’s something you necessarily need to be as successful as he is," Wilson explained. "I would just say the way he understands the game, kind of what’s going on, the way he’s able to change things, pick things up and still stay calm is pretty impressive."
New York and Green Bay will play a preseason game on Saturday at Lambeau Field, the second of three preseason games.
Wilson hasn't officially received a snap in the NFL yet, but he agreed that producing a career similar to what Rodgers has been able to accomplish at this level wouldn't be the worst thing.
"It would be obviously a dream come true to be where he’s at in his career and everything he’s accomplished," he said. "I obviously have the opportunity to do that and so I’m just going to learn as much as I can from him and all the other great quarterbacks in the league and just take it a day at a time, the process of just making sure I keep learning and getting better."
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