Don’t attempt convincing Robert Saleh or Zach Wilson that the Jets’ schedule was drawn utterly at random.
Even with the ultimate minimize from 80 to 53 gamers nonetheless looming, the Jets turned the web page Sunday from coaching camp and preseason video games to a observe that includes the starters in opposition to the starters in 11-on-11 competitors and coaches getting ready for Week 1 in opposition to the Sam Darnold-led Panthers.
“The NFL does have a humorousness,” Saleh quipped.
The Jets traded Darnold on April 6, drafted Wilson on April 29 and discovered of their beginning quarterback for the previous three years and his rookie successor going head-to-head to open the season when the schedule was launched on Could 12.
“It’s typical by the NFL, nevertheless it’s thrilling,” Wilson stated. “That’s what individuals need to watch. We’re within the leisure enterprise — and that’s what’s enjoyable for us. I’m positive Sam is happy, as properly.”
There may be loads of pleasure about Wilson after he mixed to finish 15 of 20 passes for 191 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in two robust preseason performances. At the least one first down was gained on all six Wilson-engineered possessions, after the Jets ranked second-to-last within the NFL final season by changing solely 33.9 % of third downs.
Wilson initially was set to play Friday in opposition to the Eagles, however Saleh modified his thoughts with out the offensive line intact and dealing with a moist turf.
“I get reminded it’s going to be a protracted season, so I used to be making an attempt to take psychological reps,” Wilson stated, who stayed in communication through headset on the sideline. “I used to be simply ensuring I had the calls down and going by means of the method of pretending I used to be on the market.”
The Jets added veteran Josh Johnson throughout coaching camp as a sounding board, nevertheless it’s possible the quarterbacks assembly room come Wednesday could have Wilson atop a depth chart amounting to zero regular-season snaps.
“He’s going to see extra pace on the sphere with reference to the protection, he’s going to see a special scheme each week,” Saleh stated. “There’s so many various issues which might be going to occur for him over the course of the yr, and he’s simply obtained to seek out methods to soak up the data.”
Or has he already?
“I don’t understand how veteran quarterbacks do it within the NFL,” Wilson stated, “however I discovered one thing that works for me so far as ensuring I get on the tape. I watch video games early within the week. I begin to get extra cut-ups in conditions because the week goes on. I’ve a means of overloading info, and on the finish of the week my course of is, ‘How can I give myself 1-2 issues that can simplify the sport and inform me precisely what’s happening?’ ”
Wilson received’t go so far as fellow rookie Justin Fields of the Bears and say processing the sport feels “sluggish,” however he exudes consolation when describing his weekly routine.
“You sit right here [on film] and you’ve got all day to diagnose what’s happening,” Wilson stated. “However on the sphere you’ve gotten a pair seconds, so that you don’t need to be overthinking something. Each week in faculty I used to be developing with one thing new that I believed helped — or it didn’t.”
There may be an additional week to prepare for the common season this yr, however no extra vanilla play calls on each side. No extra ignoring the scoreboard. No extra scripts, which is meant to play into Wilson’s energy as a scrambling playmaker.
“I hope I is usually a man who stays within the pocket 100% of the time and will get the ball out of my fingers and makes performs,” Wilson stated, “however stuff goes to occur in video games.
“The pocket goes to interrupt down, they’re going to give us a protection that possibly our performs don’t work in opposition to, and I’m going to have to determine the best way to prolong one thing and be aggressive down the sphere however not flip the ball over. That form of stuff is actually going to come back into play as soon as we get into actual video games.”
That first “actual sport” in opposition to Darnold is not any joke.