Let’s address the giant elephant in the room right out of the gate: Zach Wilson could not have played any worse on Sunday.
He was dreadful, his decision-making stunk, and his performance was about as bad as it could be. Wilson’s home debut against the New England Patriots was cringeworthy.
However, Wilson joins the ranks of just about every rookie quarterback known to man to throw up a major stinker. After all, does anybody remember Eli Manning’s rookie year in 2004?
The two-time Super Bowl-winning Giants quarterback’s rookie year actually featured a game where he went 4-18 against the Baltimore Ravens
Yes, you read that right, 4-18, and he played the entire game.
I understand the NFL is a much different place in 2021 than it was in 2004. Rookie quarterbacks are expected to be more NFL ready and contribute sooner rather than later.
The three- to four-year learning curve has become a thing of the past. In reality, the new learning curve for NFL quarterbacks is really two to three years.
But Zach Wilson is in a position where his fanbase is searching for instant gratification. Remember, this is the exact same fan base that went through the last three years with Sam Darnold.
Remember that guy? Darnold, the third overall pick in the 2018 draft? He was the quarterback who was set up to be the chosen one, but instead was put in a position to be a massive flop.
Darnold needed a change of scenery, and is getting much better results with the Carolina Panthers in his first two games.
It’s a lesson for Jets fans moving forward with their new quarterback. Rome was not built in a day.
Wilson wisely pointed out that his performance on Sunday was worthy of boos. He was overmatched and careless. He has to be better and he knows it.
Does that mean all of a sudden he has bust written all over him? Let’s not rush to that judgement.
It’s aggravating for a fan base to have such minimal goals heading into a season, but that’s the Jets reality. They just have to look like a much more competent franchise by the time the 2021 season comes to a close.
That starts with the constant progression and improvement of Zach Wilson. He has to be better, and if that ends up being the case, the team will end up being a lot better.
Don’t let two games define the narrative for a rookie quarterback, one way or the other.
Let the education continue.
You can listen to my podcast “New York, New York” on The Ringer Podcast Network every Sunday, Wednesday & Friday on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.