Zack Wilson made a big mistake on Sunday when he claimed he was not concerned with the aggressive struggles under him after a 31-24 loss to the Dolphins.
Wilson played OK and finished with 170 yards, a lost fumble, a speedy touchdown and was dismissed six times.
But since Wilson returned as a starter, the offense has failed to produce a 300-yard outing and averaged 16 points. The unit has scored more than 20 runs once, against the Houston Texans when he scored 21.
When Wilson was asked postgame, even though it’s not all on him, how much responsibility he takes for offensive conflicts. He disregarded the question relating to the aggressive struggles under him.
“Yeah, I’m not worried about that,” Wilson said.
This is a bad answer, no matter how you cut it. Not worrying about a brutal offense as unit leader is an evil eye for a young quarterback trying to establish himself as a franchise QB.
This is deflecting blame from the situation you are a part of and shows a lack of accountability. Accepting blame for aggressive conflicts is part of the job, no matter what. All elite QBs do.
Wilson could have responded to the cliché by saying, “We have to get better and I have to play better.”
Boom, end of discussion.
Wilson must be concerned about the offense’s struggle, as he is a minor offense quarterback who is paying the price for the Jets’ chances to win the game.
Let’s focus on facts, not feelings.
His offense played a major role in why the Jets failed to harass the dolphins. They were leading 17-10 at halftime, but the offense only managed 56 yards in the second half.
And it’s not like they weren’t capable: They ran 100 yards in the first quarter before sputtering.
Production of less than 100 yards for the full half is unacceptable.
The defense played a major role in allowing 21 points in the second half, but NFL teams cannot win if the offense does not score in the half.
But it’s been a trend ever since Wilson returned because the offense has shrunk and is contributing to it.
He is completing only 54% of his pass but his expected completion percentage is 68.6%.
He has tossed two touchdowns and two interceptions, and has a lost fumble when passing 743 yards. He has three rushing touchdowns, but two were QB sneaks.
Wilson threw less than 210 yards in three of the four games and did not throw a touchdown in those games either.
Let us see in this context how aggressive conflicts are unacceptable.
He averages 257 yards and 16 points per game.
The worst offense in the league is that of the 3–11 Texans (264 yards per game). Accumulating 300 yards is no daunting task, with 31 other teams averaging over 300. And getting more than 16 points per game is something only three teams are failing.
If in Wilson’s absence the crime struggles as it is now, it would not be a fair question. But when the number 2 overall pick is missed time, crime arises at a significantly higher rate.
The unit averaged 435 yards and 24.5 points—not exactly a Pro Bowl QB—under center, with Joe Flacco, Mike White, and Josh Johnson.
Johnson threw for 300 yards with three touchdowns in three quarters against the Colts. White tosses the rock for 405. Flacco tears up the dolphin blitzing plan.
I understand that Wilson is a rookie, and there is growing pain. But it is not unreasonable to demand an offense under Wilson build over 300 yards and score more points.
Is it all on Wilson? No way.
The receivers, led by Keelan Cole, Jamison Crowder, Braxton Berrios and Denzel Mims, need to get the better of Corey Davis and Elijah Moore.
The former BYU standout’s propensity to catch the ball should block the offensive line better.
And Robert Saleh echoed those sentiments.
“Everyone’s always going to see the quarterback. It’s natural,” Saleh said. “Call me old school. It is a collective effort. It’s receivers winning one-on-one, it’s O-line protecting, it’s running the run game, and then obviously it’s Zach delivering the football where it needs to be delivered and on time properly. So it’s not all on Zach. It’s on all of us.”
The Jets’ aggressive struggle is a collective effort. But it starts with QB and he shouldn’t have said that he is not worried about it. That comment is not a referendum on the 22-year-old. He will learn from it.