DENVER – Zach Wilson is a 22-year-old rookie who helms a dysfunctional offense and finished his first month winless as an NFL quarterback.
Has any of that shaken his confidence? "Absolutely not," he said shortly after the Jets’ 26-0 loss to the Broncos on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High.
Wilson would not have admitted being shaken even if he were, but it is fair for the rest of us to wonder after an 0-3 start and what seems more like regression that progression week to week.
At least Wilson cut his interception total in half from a Week 2 loss to the Patriots, going from four to two. He finished 19-for-35 passing for 160 yards.
There was much blame to go around, from playcalling to lack of protection to a series of makeable catches that receivers failed to make to Wilson himself, who made some poor throws and poor decisions.
Guard Greg Van Roten, a Chaminade High School alumnus, said, "He’s got to learn this is the NFL. You have to get the ball out. You can’t hold onto it and try to make a play and throw it deep downfield.
"And we have to protect him better. It starts with us upfront."
Wilson was sacked five times.
Coach Robert Saleh said Wilson had his best week of practice last week. "He really did," he said.
But only what happens on game days count, and the Jets scoring count was zero.
Asked whether the transition from BYU to the NFL has been more difficult than he expected, Wilson said, "I wouldn’t say harder than I expected. I knew it was going to be hard."
He noted that everyone on the field was one of the best players on his college team.
"I understand it was going to be challenging," Wilson said, "but I’m in this position for a reason and I’m going to keep getting better."
Teammates have praised Wilson for his poise, confidence and smile, and it does seem that he has embraced his de facto role as a leader given his position.
When asked how he handles it when a receiver fails to make a play for him, he said, "You just give them some love, man. Those guys are just busting their butts out there, too. Not every throw is going to be perfect."
Wilson did admit to frustration over the lack of results, but he insisted he is getting something out of all this regardless.
"It might be hard for people to see that, but we’re learning a lot from those games. People are going to hate. It is what it is."
He added, "It’s tough, but it’s making us stronger, like it’s making me stronger. It’s hard. I didn’t experience this in college. The crazy thing is I knew it was going to be like this."