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Expect the Same Zach Wilson Against Texans, If Not Worse, Says Former Jets Scout

Don't be surprised if New York Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson plays worse than he did at the start of the season in his return against the Houston Texans.

The comments surrounding Zach Wilson’s return, coming out of Jets’ headquarters this week, sound more like unfounded wishful thinking than anything else.

What is at stake?

Wilson’s confidence…?

Possibly Wilson’s career…?

Maybe even Robert Saleh’s job…?

“He’s working, he’s seeing a bunch of different receivers running at a different tempo than when he left too,” Saleh told reporters. “Everyone’s gotten a little bit better around him and so, just him reacquainting himself with the offense and his teammates, but it’s been a good week of preparation.”

Saleh also mentioned that Wilson was already making the right reads, prior to his injury. He’s hopeful Wilson continues to make improvements in the speed of his game and remains cognizant in his footwork. The more reps he gets in his return, Saleh said, the better he’ll be.

How does Saleh know that? How can he build the expectation “the more reps he gets in his return, the better he’ll be?”

What if instead, Wilson plays the same as he did before the injury, if not worse? What will that do to Wilson’s confidence level?

Then there are the comments from offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur.

“The improvements that I believe he’s made the last three days compared to where he was a month ago, you could see it, like I said, in those three days, and hopefully it will carry over to Sunday.”

Keyword is hopefully.

There is nothing more delicate for a coach to balance expectations, while building confidence in his players. However, there is nothing in Wilson’s past performance that would logically suggest he will be that much better this week against Houston.

READ: Ex-Jets’ Scout Says Mike White Proves Zach Wilson Is a Bust

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Mix in the fact that Wilson is coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for a month and add in the fact Wilson will be facing one of the most experienced and respected defensive minds in the game, Texans’ defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. Odds are, Wilson will look the same as before, if not worse.

Smith is one of the “fathers of the Tampa 2” defense and he is revered in league circles in his role. Wilson should expect a plethora of exotic blitzes and pass coverages. It is the same defense that caused rookie Trevor Lawrence to throw three interceptions when Jacksonville faced the Texans earlier this season.

What will it do to Wilson’s confidence level if he has a bad game against Houston?

Is it really a good idea to be racing Wilson back out there, playing on a newly mended knee that gives him something even more to think about when he drops back to pass on a 2-8 team?

What if he blows out his knee the same way Robert Griffin III did?

To Saleh’s point about how he is “hopeful Wilson continues to make improvements in the speed of his game.” This is the real issue that surrounds Wilson and the Jets ability to evaluate talent.

This is the real issue nobody dares to address. The game is not going to slow down for Wilson. He lacks the skill set to slow the game down.

It was clear as day on Wilson’s college game film that he had an average arm and his downfield ball placement was all over the road. Receivers were jumping and sliding too often to catch his passes. His deep balls were up for grabs. Nothing we have seen from him at the Jets is different than who he was at BYU.

However, the difference is, when Wilson was at BYU, he had receivers running wide open or receivers who were just standing there waiting for his passes. Wilson was able to take advantage of a soft schedule and put up stats against many defenders who will not even sniff an NFL tryout and the Jets fell for it.

None of that exists in the NFL. Passing windows are tight and defensive backs close them quickly.

No amount of wishful gibberish, “mental reps,” or illogical propaganda is going to correct the fact Wilson lacks the arm strength, the ability to put the football consistently where it needs to be downfield and the resulting decisiveness that is needed to be a successful NFL QB.

Jets’ fans need to set their expectations accordingly. 

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