It’s not that simple

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I heard a fan on a sports talk show talking about Zach Wilson taking over as the Jets QB and what an important season this will be for him.

“It’s going to be in Zach’s best interest to go out there a play well,” the fan said, referring to the QB’s future in the league.

I was driving, so could not write down the rest of the statement, but you get the idea.

When I heard this, the first thing that crossed my mind is, “It doesn’t work that way.”

This isn’t about motivation to do great. Of course that is important, but that isn’t all it takes to be a successful NFL QB.

James Morgan was one of the most driven, hard-working QBs I’ve seen with the Jets, but he when the real bullets were flying, he didn’t see the field very well. It wasn’t a lack of effort. Same with Bryce Petty and Kellen Clemens.

So of course it’s in Wilson’s best interest to go out there and kick butt. However, it’s not that simple.

Just like you can’t expect him to go out and play great because the coach is pumping him up and saying he’s “Awesome.”

You can work your tail off, and coaches and teammates can give you tons of positive reinforcement, but the position is so freakin hard, that none of that will matter if you aren’t great at reading defenses. going through your progressions well, manipulating defenders with your eyes (which Wilson didn’t do on the Matt Milano pick), throwing with anticipation and having a really good pocket presence.

You can’t will a guy to be good at this stuff, and you can’t expect him to do it because he has a lot at stake this year. It doesn’t work that way.

I’m not saying he can’t improve in these areas, but so far, we aren’t seeing much improvement in these areas. In four preseason games, he led them on no touchdown drives. And a lot of this action was against backup defenders. Those results were far from ideal.

And then in relief of Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, he got the Jets in the end zone one time, and that was on a one-read pass he threw to a covered Garrett Wilson who made one of the best catches you’re ever going to see.

“To me, it’s simple. The Jets should stick with Wilson as the starter and veteran Tim Boyle as the new QB2. Signing a veteran free agent like Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan could be disastrous, potentially disrupting the chemistry in the QB room,” wrote former NFL QB David Carr for

Disrupt the chemistry in the QB room?

Who cares about that?

How about worrying about the chemistry in the locker room if they don’t have a QB who can take advantage of having one of the most talented rosters in the league?

I’m not saying Wilson can’t do that. We will see in the next couple of games.

But this idea they need to roll with him, and think having faith in him is going to make him process better, is a theory that is usually not steeped in reality.

Just like the theory that he has a lot to lose by not playing well this year.

You can’t flick a switch at the QB position and make somebody go through their progressions better because it’s a big year for them.

Either you can do it or you can’t.

September 14, 2023

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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