They need to win with a formula

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It’s going to look totally different.

The Jets are going to have to win games way different than they planned.

They are going from a QB who can keep all five eligibles alive with his ability to see the field at a high level, to a QB who you have to manage a lot more.

Zach Wilson is often a “one look and go” QB.

In other words, he’s best when the first read is open, and if it isn’t, he’s often going to look to run, or at least get out of the pocket and improvise, play street-yard ball.

One thing that he needed to improve from last year was speeding up the clock in his head. We will see moving forward if he is able to do that. Too often last year, he held the ball too long.

Wilson tends to take a lot of checkdowns, the underneath stuff the defenses tend to give you, so expect the Dallas Cowboys to play a lot of zone, read the QB, and tackle the short throws.

Another reason they will likely play a lot of zone is that Wilson tends to take defenders to the ball with his eyes, and zone is the better coverage to take advantage of that.

Wilson needs to do a better job of manipulating defenders with his eyes.

But the way the Jets play with Rodgers compared to Wilson, will be a 180-degree difference.

They can’t expect Wilson to go through his progressions with a 1, 2, 3, check-down approach.

Nathaniel Hackett needs to dial up ideal first reads on many plays for the Jets to be successful with Wilson.

“All [Wilson] has to do is take the profits,” said one former long-time NFL executive. “Take what the [offensive coordinator] gives him. Let their skill (players) take over.”

In other words, be a good point guard. Get the ball in the hands of the playmakers and let them do their thing.

And Wilson will need the Jets’ defense to play the way they did against Buffalo, and keep the score down. You can’t expect a QB like Wilson to win shootouts like Rodgers is capable of doing.

A key to this game is the Jets’ talented defensive line, which now has the requisite depth, to play the system right, in other words, have a second team come in without a dropoff, like San Francisco, and continue to same harassment of the QBs as the first team. They need be in Dak Prescott’s face all day.

Like long-time 49ers analyst Tim Ryan said during the radio broadcast of San Francisco’s playoff win over Dallas last season: “Under pressure, Dak will serve it up.”

The Jets put constant pressure on Josh Allen last week, and he threw three picks.

They need that same kind of pressure on Prescott to keep the score down and create turnovers to give Wilson some short fields.

Because the Jets are going to have to manage the game to win moving forward.

With Rodgers, you’re not limited in anything you can do with him in the passing game; the whole playbook is open. That isn’t the case with Wilson, who is still learning.

They need to win games with a formula, play great defense and special teams, run the football, and dial up easy one-read throws for the QB.

Rodgers can win games whether the formula is working or not.

It’s harder for Wilson to do that right now.

September 15, 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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