FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Zach Wilson sounded humbled by the fact that he was removed as the Jets' starting quarterback and promised it would make him become a better player and leader.
“It’s tough man,” Wilson said. “It’s never fun. The first thing that kind of went through my mind is I got to get to work, I got to get better and approach that every single day, just keeping working to get better.”
Wilson had a rough performance in the Jets’ 10-3 loss to the Patriots on Sunday. He completed just nine passes for 77 yards.
Immediately after the game, Robert Saleh said making a quarterback change was the “furthest thing” from his mind. Saleh decided Tuesday night that he would give Mike White a chance to run the offense.
Saleh said when he told Wilson, his reaction was “Why me? Why now? I want to play.” Wilson said the news didn’t really catch him off guard.
“I would not say necessarily surprised because I haven’t been doing my job,” Wilson said. “Of course, I would like to not agree with the decision and everything. It comes down to I got to play better.”
Wilson, the player who the Jets anointed as their franchise quarterback after taking him with the No. 2 overall pick last year, admitted he needs to be a better leader. He addressed the team on Wednesday and apologized for how he played and what he said after the loss in New England.
Much has been made of how he acted in the postgame news conference. Wilson was asked if he felt he let the defense down. Wilson responded, “No. No.” It took a phone call and text from his father to make him realize he made a mistake.
According to Wilson, when he was getting ready to leave when his father reached out and said, ‘Bro, what are you doing?’ Wilson said he didn’t know what his dad meant. So his father sent him a text of the video of his press conference.
“I didn’t realize what I said,” Wilson said. “I let my emotions get the best of me.”
Wilson said he started going up to players on the bus and told them he didn’t mean to say that. He said he had “a sick feeling in my stomach” and couldn’t wait to get back in the building on Wednesday and address the team as a whole.
“I just wanted to make this thing right,” Wilson said. “I had a sick feeling in my stomach of just the way I handled things it was not what a leader should do and especially the quarterback of a football team.”
Wilson said the last few days have been difficult with all the criticism he’s received for his play and how he’s carried himself, but he owned it.
“It’s deserved,” Wilson said. “The way that I handled the situation wasn’t right. I got to be a better football player and I got to be a better leader for these guys. I have an opportunity to turn the page here as a player and as a leader and to be able to take a step forward and be able to be here 100 percent for my guys and to be able the handle the situations better.”
Wilson will be inactive this week. He said he would support and help White in any way he can and will try to help the defense while playing the scout team quarterback. Saleh has said that Wilson will play again this season and this his Jets’ career is far from over.
“I truly believe he has the best intertest in me and the team,” Wilson said. “He does an amazing job of doing that. I’m looking forward to the future and from this event how I can grow as a person, as a leader, as a teammate, being there for my guys and just handling things the right way.
“This is going to be a good opportunity, a humbling opportunity for me to put my head down and work harder and just be here for this team.”