Jets quarterback Zach Wilson rolls out during the first half...

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson rolls out during the first half of the Hall of Fame Game against the Browns on Thursday in Canton, Ohio. Credit: Dave Richard

CANTON, OHIO – Zach Wilson had to shake off everything that happened to him last year, most of it of his own doing, and return to the Jets willing to make changes to become a starting NFL quarterback again.

That may not happen with the Jets, not with Aaron Rodgers in the building. But Wilson has looked good in practice and looked more comfortable. He said he feels completely different.

His first chance to show how far he’s come arrived Thursday night in the Jets’ 21-16 loss to the Browns in the Hall of Fame Game.

Wilson started on his 24th birthday and completed 3-of-5 passes for 65 yards in three series. This was Wilson’s first time leading the Jets’ offense since he was booed and removed from a December home loss to Jacksonville. Wilson is still growing, but he enjoyed this important step.

“That’s the goal, putting everything behind me, learning, being appreciative of it too is a big one,” Wilson said. “A lot of fun just to get back on the field with the guys.”

Wilson’s highlight was stepping up deep in Jets’ territory and connecting with Malik Taylor on a 57-yard pass on the second possession.

“Great call by Aaron Rodgers,” Wilson said.

Rodgers wore a headset, and he was the one who suggested the play call, according to Wilson.

The series ended with a Greg Zuerlein field goal after Wilson’s pass attempt was batted down on third-and-5.

The Jets went three-and-out in their first series. Wilson was sacked on third down. He spun away from the rush, slipped and fell.

Wilson was given great field position on his final series after Javelin Guidry recovered a fumble on the Browns’ 31. On third down, Wilson overthrew his receiver. The Jets had to settle for a Zuerlein field goal.

The game was delayed nearly 20 minutes at the start of the fourth quarter after several banks of lights went out.

It’s difficult to fully judge Wilson since he was playing with no starting skill players and mostly backups on the line, but he also wasn’t facing first-team players. This isn’t something that will change immediately, but the Jets are happy with what they continue to see from Wilson.

“Zach did a good job,” Robert Saleh said. “He was poised. He looked comfortable in the pocket, delivered the ball on schedule. Definitely something to build on.”

Saleh believes Wilson can become the quarterback the Jets believed he would be when they drafted him second overall in 2021.

“Just rebuilding that confidence and the swag that we fell in love with in the draft process,” Saleh said. “I think he’s getting it.”








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